I was up at 7am having been woken by a passing boat. To be fair this boat was going slow, not a sound from the crew and so slow AmyJo never moved, it was a hire boat. Its just that I was half awake when it passed and fighting the call of nature so as to stay in bed. I lost.
|Viking Boat enters the top lock on its return to its hire base just above the lock|
As we prepared to cast off at 8am two more hire boats passed by. We should have realised earlier it was Saturday, handover day. It was going to be busy above the lock. The second of the two hire boats pulled in to wait their turn at the lock whilst the first went in. The crew of the second boat kindly offered to let us go next as he too knew what was coming above the lock, plus, I don't think he actually wanted his holiday to end judging from our conversation with him.
|I guess everyone passing by takes this photo of the round house.|
We waited patiently in the lock for 10 minutes whilst he cleared a way for us, apologising. "No worries" we called back with a smile from the lock. I do feel for them when they give boaters instructions that are not followed by those hiring the boats.
|Once clear we proceeded on our way with a wave and a thank you to the manager.|
Looks quite calm in this photo. It wasn't 15 minutes earlier.
|A common sight now, every mooring on both sides taken up, the cut is really busy now.|
|Too good to be true but no mooring here under any circumstance.|
|Hatherton Junction thankfully clear as we turned.|
|Wheely nice garden chairs (sorry)|
|The fox and Anchor bereft of moored boats.|
|Pendeford rockin, narrow and shallow. No one can speed through here.|
|Another view. Its so narrow Chris could get off AmyJo for this photo whilst we were still under way.|
|At the other end two boats wait to come through after we exit the Narrows|
|Autherley Junction, straight on to Stourport and right the Shropshire Union canal.|
|Autherley Stop Lock and the start of the "Shroppie"|
Last time we came through here we passed this lovely old wooden cruiser and I'd swear this was where we saw her then, looks like she'd never moved far.
|Must spend hours varnishing but then its worth it. She looks gorgeous.|
A Braunston style Spire in the distance heralds the arrival at Brewood, pronounced brewed.
|This spire reminds me of that iconic one seen at Braunston|
|Looks taller than she is long,|
|The belt boat and additional work boat section.|
|Countrywide Cruisers wharf|
|Is that pronounced Smelly house?|
|The A5 passes under the Aqueduct between Telford and Cannock|
|The view from the canal|
|The view from the road taken in 2013 on our way home|
|Another "Would like to restore that" boat|
|Its views like this I will never get fed up seeing|
|Fine figure of a goose.|
The moorings here were absolutely chocker with boats and the pub was doing a roaring trade by the looks of it. Seems every man, women, child and dog and anything else living was attending.
|Leaving Wheaton Aston lock|
|Working boats breasted up on long term moorings.|
|Boats as far as the eye can see and the pub just up on the right.|
|Still no mooring space long after the lock.|
We did find the last spot before bridge 20 and snuck in there with a foot or two to spare. We had been cruising for a good 8 hours almost non stop. Another early one tomorrow too. Good news was there was live music in the evening and the pub but we were far enough away for it not to keep us awake.
|The last free mooring on Armco before the bridge 'ole though more are beyond but pins would be needed.|
|Not sure what this tiny barge would be used for but I wonder if its pulled by Thor the little workboat?.|