Saturday 30th August
The internet signal has been very weak and I’ve got very behind with posting – it’s now Tuesday and we’re on our way back up the Stratford!
Anyway, back to Saturday. I’m sure the forecast said it will be getting warm again, but there’s not much sun and we still need jumpers on most of the time, even if I managed shorts for locking. We were just getting ready to go when NB Moriarty passed us, so we gave them 5 minutes before setting off. Ten minutes later there they were again, firmly stuck on a mudbank. The boat that we had waited for as he took a wide (and not particularly slow) course past a couple of moored boats had met them on a bend and failed to move to his side of the canal, so they were forced aground. We could see from the tilt how he’d swept them sideways. Luckily we were able to take a line and pull them sideways back into deeper water.
Shortly after that excitement we stopped briefly at Tom o’ the Wood moorings to pick the damsons I spotted last night on my run. Then we were on the Lapworth Link breathing in for all we were worth down the extremely narrow approach to the Stratford canal. We did better than the person who took that bite out of the wall though!
Dave gently turned Chuffed southwards and I left him to set the lock while I went up to dispose of the rubbish and recycling. The junction is a pretty spot.
We met plenty of boats coming up the locks so had a fairly easy time, though the gates are quite heavy and some of the paddle gear very stiff. Luckily Dave raised most of the bottom gate paddles which were the real problem. We haven’t been down this way for several years but remembered the barrel-roofed cottages.
The view as you leave Lapworth Bottom Lock doesn’t show the racket from the M40 just behind you.
We made much better time than anticipated, and arrived at Lowsonford, our target for this evening, in time for a late lunch. But the smell of chips wafting over from the pub was too much, so we carried on to find a more pleasant spot.
Yarningdale Aqueduct is a weeny little thing. You only notice it because the towpath dips down as you go to set Bucket lock.
Some of the famous split bridges have had the split on the footway filled in with wood – ‘elf and safety no doubt.
At Preston Bagot is the barrel-roofed cottage we know as ‘Trago Mills’ ( if you are familiar with the A38 near Newton Abbot in Devon you will know what we mean). It’s for sale if you fancy an unusual residence!
No-one on the towpath will peep in to disturb you – the windows are mirrored to baffle the nosy (though they do make interesting photos).
At Preston Bagot bottom lock this bold duck stood its ground as Meg barked at it from the boat.
We moored on a long stretch of Armco between bridges 49 and 50, as it was still a mile to go to Wooton Wawen and we were concerned that there may not have been any room. Dave got on with washing the towpath side of the boat and waxing it.
I had my first attempt at making jam on the boat with the damsons we picked this morning. Just a pound as I’ve only got a large saucepan and not a proper preserving pan, but it seemed to work ok!
17 locks, 9 and a half miles