Friday, July 28, 2017

Busy, busy as we head to Stone.

Yesterday was a day of queueing. Queueing for water, queueing at every lock.

We must have timed it wrong, arriving at the ever popular services at Haywood Junction just behind everyone else…

Haywood Lock wasn’t too bad, only one boat ahead of us here…DSCF0549
…but there were two already on the service wharf, another just arriving and a fourth waiting under the bridge for a space to get into.DSCF0550
Twenty minutes of hovering in the channel, getting out of the way of passing traffic, and we were able to get near a tap.

Tank filled we set off again, past Great Haywood Marina. The next lock up was Hoo Mill, three boats ahead of us here, but a handy post to tie up to while we waited...

Above Hoo Mill Lock there’s about an hour’s cruise to Weston Lock.

I honestly thought this was a zebra at first glance…DSCF0554

Just two ahead of us here as the convoy of boats spreads out between the locks. We had one coming down as well, the first downhill boat we’d seen since the junction.

Weston Lock
The sky looks a bit grim, but apart from a light shower as we set off we stayed dry until we’d tied up.

I hadn’t noticed before, but the decorative brickwork on the faces of Salt Bridge aren’t the same.

East side…

and the west.
I wonder if different brickies were responsible for each side of the arch?

Sandon Lock was our last, we pulled in just above after what seemed to be a long day.

Below Sandon Lock

We'd done a washload on the way (in fact it was finished before we got the tank topped up!) and I‘d just hung the towels out on a makeshift line on the stern when the heavens opened and I had to fetch them back in again. The rain continued on and off all evening, but it had faired up again by the time we were ready to go this morning.

Fine and dry, but a bit cool as we got away.DSCF0571

It’s about an hour from Sandon Lock to Aston Lock, a steady run across the wide pastures of the Trent floodplain. Not so many boats about this morning, either. A handful of early birds had passed first thing but we only saw two or three up to Aston.

Leaving Aston Lock, no queue here but  did have to empty it…DSCF0572

There’s lots of recent residential development work along the line of the canal on both the south and north sides of Stone. The houses start just after the new road bridge, 90a, over a mile on the right hand side before the old town limits at Stafford Road Bridge.DSCF0574
The developments won’t be continued on the left bank, though. The proximity of the Trent will prevent that.

As we approached the moorings below Star Lock we realised why we hadn’t seen many moving boats today. It looks like they are all here!DSCF0575
They looked to be nose to tail but we managed to drop into a Seyella-sized spot part way along. As a repeat of yesterday the rain arrived soon after we moored up, and has been pretty persistent all afternoon.
Unsettled all weekend as well, according to the forecast, but maybe better tomorrow. Not sure what we’re doing, although we’ll stay in the town for the weekend. We’re on the 5 day moorings here, so could stay put, but we may move up through the locks. We’ll see.

Locks 5, miles 10 (2 days)

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