Saturday, 4 May 2013

Shirley to Kingswood Junction

(Posted 9th May. Thanks to James and Doug for the info about LiveWriter!)
A bit chilly and damp this morning, quite a change from the last few days. There were several short-lived heavy showers during the morning but some good sunny spells in between. There were more flowers to be seen – these wood anemones are right by the towpath near Shirley.
wood anemones
We made a short stop at bridge 20 to visit Wedge’s bakery where we got some lovely bread, Eccles cakes and various other bits and pieces. We stopped for lunch at Hockley Heath in the last of the downpours and by the time we were on the move again and heading for the Lapworth flight the rain had cleared away.
cricket at top of lapworth locks
There was a cricket match going on near the top of the flight, and lots of beautiful blossom as we went on down.
blossom on lapworth flight
The pound between locks 7 and 8 is very small so we waited above lock 7 while the boat going down ahead of us crossed with one coming up lock 8.  Unfortunately as they came up lock 7 the water in our pound dropped so far that Chuffed developed a pronounced list - she was caught on the ledge below the water. So we had to let water through from the lock above till she floated off. Once we had gone down lock 7 it was fine again as there are side ponds the rest of the way down.
As we were behind another boat and only passed two coming up it was hard work, but as the locks were not deep Dave looked after emptying the locks while Debby locked ahead and then went back to close up, so we made good progress.  Here is Dave closing the top gate at 12 while Debby closes up above.
lock 12 lapworth flight
The side ponds have waterfall overflows, though narrower and less spectacular than those on the Delph locks the other day.  Here Dave is waiting for the lock to empty.
waterfall overflow from side ponds lapworth flight
We moored at Kingswood Junction on the link moorings, and made use of our new prized possession – a folding trolley. Debby was chatting to an owner from the permanent moorings to find the location of the sanitary station and happened to mention that she was glad it was close by as we hadn’t yet got ourselves a trolley; the owner then disappeared and came back with one which had been abandoned next to her boat a year ago! So thanks to this fine lady we have a perfectly serviceable folding trolley.
We walked to the Navigation on the Grand Union for a meal.  Unfortunately it was very busy and we were too late for a table, so we had to sit outside. There was a patio heater to take off the chill when it got too cold; we generally think such heaters are rather a waste of resources so we felt a bit guilty at using it but it certainly made life more comfortable while we ate.
19 locks and 2 lift bridges today. The bridge closest to the first of the Lapworth locks is very hard work.

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