Monday, 18 April 2016

Land’s End to John o’Groats

Monday 11th April; Lowsonford to Kingswood Junction

It rained for most of the night.  The very end of the cabin roof was unfortunately just underneath the drip-line of a tree so it took us a while to get off to sleep.  Before we left this morning I took some rubbish down to the bins below the lock, and said goodbye to Antony Gormley.  He will be gone in a few weeks.  I wonder where he’s going.  He looks slightly forlorn when there’s no-one around.

2 is there a boat coming

On the way back to the boat I realised NB Tentatrice was moored not that far from us.  I’ve seen them on other people’s blog lists but not read their blog.  Anyway, I knocked on the window and we had a chat – lovely to meet you both Jenny and Chris and you are now on our blog list!

The rain kept off as we left, and it even warmed up a bit.  At the first lock there was a large area of kingcups in a damp patch below the towpath.

3 kingcups at lock 30

The farm shop wasn’t open today, though they are happy for boaters to ring them when they are closed – if they are available they will open up for you.  The meat we got last time was excellent, but we still have a fair bit of chicken left over from the roast on Saturday so we won’t be buying more for a while.

4 finwood details

The towpath is very muddy in places.  There were large puddles around the lock gates, and instead of using the bricks to brace my feet against I had to use them as stepping stones.  Luckily the gates weren't too heavy!

5 had to balance on the bracing bricks as flooded

While we were ascending lock 28 a walker came up and we fell into conversation.  She is walking alone from Land’s End to John o’Groats, and though she is staying in hostels and B&Bs rather than camping, she still has a large pack to carry.  7 land's end to john o groats walker

She knew little about the canals and was interested in our journey too, and ‘had a go’ with a gate and paddle.  At the next lock we all had tea and cake before she had to get on – at 15 miles a day she hopes to arrive at journey’s end in early June.  Off she goes, striding away at a good pace.  I could barely keep up with her as we walked between locks!  She is raising money for Parkinson’s UK.

8 off she goes

At Dick’s Lane lock there is an ‘unclassified county road’ crossing the bridge.  You could only get a motorbike to it from the lane because of the bollards but it doesn’t look wide enough for a car anyway.  It was very muddy so I didn’t investigate.

9 unclassified county road

Dick’s Lane is one of the locks with the pretty split bridges, as is number 23.

11 lock 23

We made Kingswood Junction soon after 12 and topped up the water before mooring round the corner by the picnic area. We watched a nuthatch while we had lunch – I saw a tree creeper last time we were here too.  We both took advantage of the excellent shower facilities here.  Such luxury having a heater in the room – it’s more than we have on Chuffed.  I hauled the bike out to wash off the mud so we Dave can mend the puncture.  But it soon started to rain, so although the bike got cleaned it went back in the well deck pretty smartish.  It rained all afternoon, and we hoped our walking friend had done most of her walk before it started.   Of course we had wet towels to dry – ours and the dog’s – so the fire was lit early and we got on with inside jobs.

Tea was a lovely chicken pie.  This is the third main meal from that chicken and there is still plenty left.  It rained for the whole evening so Meg had a very quick walk this evening.

9 locks, 2 miles

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