No, I’m being entirely selfish. But it has been VERY busy today. Every man, his wife and his dog seemed to be out on the water. This is probably the last warm weekend of the year, so who can blame them?
Dawn today, wonderful.
There have been some high spots. Thanks to the chap from NB Bijou who complemented me on the blog this morning. This is the second time in a couple of days. The crew on NB Cleddau hailed us yesterday as our boats passed in opposite directions. Thanks, folks. And we got moored up in Rugeley just past the bridge up to Morrisons, so didn’t have to walk miles with the shopping.
Leaving Rugeley moorings we caught up with a couple of boats. A canaltime hire boat followed by a day boat were going so slowly that I had to keep dropping out of gear.
We got us a (slow) convoy.
This is so unusual. These types of boats usually don’t have a slow speed. Full throttle in forward or reverse is the more normal operating protocol.
When the day boat decided to overtake near the Ash Tree pub, the hire boat swung out and hit their stern.
We pulled in on the Spode Hall long term moorings to fill with water and allow them to get ahead, and were overtaken by another, not particularly old, boat. Either he’d a ring gone or a clogged injector. The blue haze in the opened out Armitage Tunnel was thicker than this morning’s dawn mist!
Queueing for Armitage “Tunnel”
Smokey one is in front.
We hung back, staying on tickover to let the convoy get ahead past the Armitage Shanks factory.
We kept meeting boats coming the other way, generally in the most awkward places, at blind bridge holes or narrow bends.
There are some sections of very restricted channel along here.
One of the narrow bits.
We toddled on through Handsacre and moored just out of the village. We’d planned to get to Shadehouse, but with this many boats about the popular moorings above the lock are likely to be full.
Locks 0, miles 6¼
The Trent and Mersey is 93½ miles long from Derwent Mouth to Preston Brook, and climbs 320 feet through 40 locks. Then it descends again from the Stoke summit, 340 feet through the remaining 36.
The lock count per mile is considerably higher on the northern side to Preston Brook, averaging around 1. Most of these are concentrated in the section from Harecastle Tunnel to Wheelock, averaging almost 4 locks per mile. In contrast the slope from the summit to Derwent Mouth is gentler and more consistent, so the locks are spaced more regularly and at greater intervals. This is because the canal follows the natural course of the Trent valley, rather than an artificial route selected for the needs of industry. See, nature knows best….