Tuesday 8th September; Prees Arm to Willeymoor
Nothing mellow about this morning! We could barely see across the canal. No-one was on the move till 10, when a headlight appeared through the gloom and a boat went slowly by. So Dave went on with rubbing down the well-deck and Meg and I went off to walk on the mosses – but it was too foggy and I worried about getting lost, so a lot of our walk was on the towpath. The spiders had been hard at work – these flattish webs were all over the grass at the sides of the path.
Meg had a mad few minutes where she belted back and forth with a stick – she knows I won’t throw sticks so she just runs and runs. She’s very fast and I had to delete several photos where I missed her completely.
She would disappear into the gloom, then I’d hear her collar jingling as she hurtled back out of the mist. She abandoned her stick after a while.
Eventually the mist cleared enough for boats to be properly on the move and we set off late in the morning after this boat had passed.
The canal was busy now – everyone must have been waiting till they could see where they were going! Nb Saturn passed us at one point. I think they had been to the Whitchurch Festival at the weekend.
There is a large barn along here part of which is the Canal Side Pigeon Lofts.
We stopped for lunch before we got to Whitchurch, and Dave did another half-hour’s hard labour. I was still cold but he was down to shirtsleeves.
On again past the Whitchurch arm to Grindley Brook, where we disposed of rubbish and recycling during a short wait for the locks. Work is being done to shore up the towpath opposite the permanent moorings near Whitchurch. Not sure if the warning sign is for boaters or walkers – but nothing was turning today.
When we came through Grindley Brook a few years ago, the buildings were bedecked with the lockie’s large collection of flags from many countries (and counties – Devon and Cornwall were both represented). Apparently CRT asked him this year to do more hours for the same wages – and as his winter-time employer wanted him to stay on he opted for that. Much as he loved the lock work, he couldn’t afford to stay.
Time was getting on, so we stopped for the night back at Willeymoor lock. This time we looked carefully at the tree species on the towpath – last week we hadn’t realised we were below a hazel tree and the squirrels round here have their breakfast early!
Dave set up the TV aerial and applied anti-rust to the well-deck before coming in to watch another England match. There was a box of windfalls at Grindley Brook, so it was baked apples stuffed with raisins and brown sugar for pudding tonight. And custard, of course.
7 and a half miles, 7 locks, 4 lift bridges of which I only had to open one.