Saturday 9th October; Catherine de Barnes towards Kingswood Junction
It was a quiet and sheltered spot last night and as it was Saturday there was little traffic on the nearby road, so we overslept till 9. Well we did have a very long day yesterday….
We didn’t leave till 10.30, not planning a long cruise. We stopped at Copt Hill Wharf for diesel, and Dave checked the weed hatch which turned out to have some souvenirs of Birmingham still wrapped around it. Convenient for the bins! The BW wharf round the corner seems to be their equivalent of a council recycling centre. The skip in the foreground is full of trolleys.
We moored at Kixley bridge and walked up to Knowle, which we have never visited before. We were pleased to find a good butcher, but no greengrocer though of course there was a Tesco Metro so we could get everything we needed. On the lane from the bridge someone had put out a box not of apples for people to take but of conkers! So I took a couple as I love conkers, and as they are reputed to deter spiders from your boat I had a good excuse.
We had lunch, and then I spent ten minutes picking blackberries – we had moored right next to a little patch with enough for a bowlful. I had thought we had seen the last of them for this year. On we went to Knowle locks. After a very chilly morning, the sun suddenly came out and after hauling a plank out of the water above the top lock, and then a fabric growing bag complete with its compost and the finished crop – rather heavy that one – I changed into shorts. While the lock filled I emptied the compost from the bag into the rubbish and kept the bag. I rather think someone may have lost it overboard rather than thrown it away as they can be re-used many times.
Look at that lovely sunshine! Knowle locks are well-known for being windy even on an otherwise still day, so you need to get the gate open before the boat arrives as it makes life much easier for the steerer. The paddle gear was extremely heavy on these locks and I started to worry about Hatton which we shall do tomorrow.
We could see a widebeam coming into the bottom lock so Dave sat tight in the lock till they were ready to come out.
Although these locks are pretty and it was a sunny Saturday afternoon there were very few people about. The towpath is a long way from the locks as the overflow weirs are between the towpath and the locks. But the two families who were walking up were interested enough to come over and both lent a hand.
We had been very lucky with the weather. As we left the bottom lock the cloud had started to build up again.
Before long we were back in fleeces and hats and by the time we moored near Kingswood Bridge it was cold. Dave was pleased to find a good strong TV signal … all except for ITV, which is the channel the England match was being broadcast on. Ah well, it’s on the radio.
5 locks, 6 miles