This Month's Totals and Average
122.35 miles 93 locks 67.85 hrs 3.17 lmph

  August 2016

Wednesday 31st August ~ Perry Barr to Curdworth (en route to Fazeley)

Cloudy cool start to the day - perfect for locking. Let go, slid out from inside "Pipistrelle", and started down the flight (13 locks grouped 11 and 2). A CRT lengthsman was out checking locks so set everything ahead. Had difficulty on Lock 2, where the weed had piled up behind the lower gates and they would not open. After raking with a long shaft, we got through and continued down. Noted that "Pipistrelle" was following so started drawing a top paddle on leaving each. By Lock 7, we realised Helen had not kept up so pulled in, grabbed a hasty drink and walked back to work locks for her, drawing for "Kathleen Margaret". The 'Locky' had returned by the time we reached Lock 6 so we left Helen with him and continued down the next five with her in hot pursuit. The horrendous weed was rapidly thinning to some sort of normal level by the time we cleared Lock 11. After an improved run through the longer pound, we descended Locks 12 and 13, saying goodbye to Helen.

Lunch on the move as we travelled under 'Spaghetti Junction' , back on known territory. Sun broke through, creating a hot afternoon. Rubbish picked up slightly with the increased industry, but it appeared clearer than on previous trips. Descended the Minworth three locks and moored up for the day just above Curdworth Top. Caught up with logs and photos, and with the laundry.

9.08 miles 16 locks 5.61 hrs 4.47 lmph

Tuesday 30th August ~ Pelsall to Perry Barr (en route to Fazeley)

Sunny morning, but slightly cooler when in the shade. Boats started on the move around 05:30 - we finally got up at 07:00 and made ready to go after breakfast. Slowly passed the remainder of the moored boats, saying goodbye to those we had befriended over the weekend, then headed eastwards again for the services at Brownhills. Nothing else moving, and nothing on the berth so quickly away ('catering' sent a raiding party to Tesco while the other items were being dealt with). Continued on to Catshill Junction where we turned right onto the Daw End Branch. Beautifully picturesque moving between the trees, but more weed than on the west side so slower going. Passed the edges of Aldridge and Rushall, the industrial works shielded from the canal by trees on both sides.

Lunch on the move as we arrived at Longwood, where we started down the Rushall Flight (9 locks, grouped as 2 then 7). Had problems with a couple of locks where the lower gates would not stay open unless both held - got round it by pulling "Paws" from the head of the lock with a line, and swung the gate open as she arrived; the gate was then held open by the boat as we exited, and closed automatically as we left. Passed one boat going the same way but had broken down (engineer on the way), and one just starting his ascent, otherwise very quiet. Soon arrived at Newton Junction, so we turned left onto the Tame Valley Canal - wider than the other northern BCN canals, with gauging stations in the centre similar to those on the New Main Line. Moored up at Perry Barr Top Lock opposite the services berth. Hot sunny day throughout. Ray & Jane aboard "Kathleen Margaret" moored up astern of us at dinnertime (we had met them at the Festival). Helen from "Pipistrelle" (whom we had spoken to earlier when she was broken down) moored alongside, and came aboard later in the evening for a chat and a drink (nice to know she got away safely).

12.81 miles 9 locks 7.24 hrs 3.01 lmph

27th-29th August ~ Pelsall

IWA Festival of Water

Saturday, unfortunately, started out dull and cool. The Festival  opened at 10:00 and, despite the weather, good public attendance. Rain came on after lunch, culminating in a downpour with thunder just before closing. Attractions included historic working boats, trip boats from the Truman Enterprise Narrowboat Trust , a digger for old and young to try their skills was provided by the Waterways Recovery Group , various craft stalls, a miniature steam traction engine giving rides, and various charity stalls, along with stands from the hosts Inland Waterways Association .

Sunday was a better day. A service was held in the main marquee for stallholders and boaters - very well attended. A fine day throughout, although there were a few clouds. There was another service held in the open air during the afternoon for everyone to come along. Again, very well attended with passers-by joining us when they heard the singing. A cavalcade of lighted boats processed through the mooring at 21:00. Unfortunately, "Kew" found she was too long to turn in the assigned winding-hole and she had to overnight out at the next bridge, with the other singers walking back to their own boats.

Monday was a very hot sunny day. "Kew" returned just before lunchtime, having had to go as far as Birchills Junction to finally get turned. Another very well attended day; in fact, a profitable Festival as a whole. Boats and stallholders started leaving as the Festival closed, and many goodbyes were said. For us, a great weekend, and we felt we had been given a very warm and friendly welcome to the northern reaches of the BCN - we will certainly be back.

Friday 26th August ~ Pelsall (with services run to Brownhills)

Up early to get a run to Brownhills for services before boat movements got busy. Lovely sunny morning. Very slow east past the triple-breasted mooring near the fingerpost. Only got as far as Foundry Bridge and found a tree had fallen during the night almost blocking the cut. Managed to squeeze past, reported the problem to CRT, and headed to Brownhills. Arrived to find the CRT team getting their boat ready - excellent response time. We were second on the water-point, then winded and returned west. The CRT team had cleared some of the branches and were letting the waiting boats through before continuing clearance. Slow run again through the moored boats, now with movements as well. Continued to the entrance to the old "Lord Hay Arm" and winded again to return us to our berth the right way round.

Just after lunch, "Jura" arrived and berthed inside us. Had a walk along the towpath past the boats, chatting with friends, and meeting new BCF  members. David & Mary arrived aboard "Kew" just before dinner so we got the gazebos and other gear off, and set up ready for the Festival. Joined the quiz team for the evening - a very passable average of 7/10 on each round. Rain held off for evening, although cloud had built making it much cooler.

5.57 miles 0 locks 2.93 hrs 1.90 lmph

Thursday 25th August ~ Pelsall

Overcast morning, but dry. Walked into town to collect parcel - slightly further than I expected so got back late. Went to the "Waterspace Office" and officially checked in for the Festival. Rain came in over lunch and little help was required so repaired back to "Paws" and got some baking done for the following weekend. Helped two boaters with printing needs. Rain did clear for a short time mid-afternoon, but was on again by dinnertime.

Wednesday 24th August ~ Wolverhampton to Pelsall

Alarm set so that we got away quickly. Despite the traffic noise, great night's sleep. Cloudy start to the day, but sun came out by mid-morning. On the move promptly, taking "Paws" into the basin for services. Noted that it was the old FMC warehouse . Moved off when finished and headed back towards Horseley Fields Junction. Just got clear of the tunnel and Mill Street Bridge, and picked up a 'bladeful'. Took nearly 10 minutes to clear the large black bin-bag (well shedded after being through our prop), before we could get on the move again. Turned left at the Junction onto the Wyrley & Essington Canal (new territory for us). Initial reaction is that the residents want to keep their bit clean and tidy. New housing on the righthand side. Continued as far as Wednesfield and stopped at the Bentley Bridge Retail Park. There is an old basin (the Bentley Arm) at the west end which has been given a facelift and provides excellent mooring. Sainsbury is at the east end but it is possible to get alongside (mooring with stakes) just before (west of) Rookery Bridge. Had lunch before moving on.

Continued out of Wednesfield towards Bloxwich. Considering how near we felt to Birmingham, it was amazing how quickly we found ourselves in a rural setting. The route gave us occasional sections of town (with attendant rubbish), but mostly the problems consisted of floating weed, which kept building up round the bow (thank heavens it mostly didn't wrap around the prop). Only one piece of socially-challenged youth, at the southeast end of Bloxwich, where a group of lads jumped into the cut just as our bow passed them. A very quick movement into neutral saved a chance of a nasty accident! The weed reduced our speed such that it took an hour and a half more than expected to reach Pelsall. Just preparing to moor when the 'harbour master' arrived to give us our official berth, so moved there and settled in. Cloud slowly built during the afternoon, but was medium to high so no rain threatened; it just cooled down. Lovely fresh evening (although the forecast for tomorrow is poor). Checked in with John & Jan on "Jubilee", just to say we had arrived.

12.75 miles 0 locks 5.51 hrs 2.32 lmph

Tuesday 23rd August ~ Bumble Hole to Wolverhampton (en route to Pelsall)

Up and on the move promptly. Lovely sunny morning. Returned through the Netherton Tunnel and on to Dudley Port Junction. Turned left along the New Main Line for Tipton, following two other boats. Arrived at the bottom lock to find that the leak was as bad as ever, and the pound already low. Assisted the boats ahead through the locks, minimising the time the top gate/paddles of No.3 Lock were open. Followed them through, Pat driving and me on the locking for a change. No incidents this time.

Continued along the line towards Wolverhampton, with the litter and weed increasing all the time. The boat in front (not one of the two we were following earlier) caught a 'bladeful' and had to pull in, but we were lucky and arrived at Broad Street without mishap. Elected to take one of the 'secure' moorings while it was available, and do services early tomorrow (rather than risk losing the chance of the mooring). Hire-boat "Aqua Beatha" moored behind and we had a long chat with the team, who are thinking of buying a boat - hope they get their dream too. Sun remained out all day, very warm, but not sweltering.

Update later in evening - The owner of "Asante!" stopped by. Their boat was number three from our builders (we were number 6). He let us know that Top Notch Boat Company had gone into liquidation late last year.

9.22 miles 3 locks 4.26 hrs 2.87 lmph

Monday 22nd August ~ Bumble Hole (en route to Pelsall)

Had planned to stay for the day, so lazy start. A walk to the shops for 'catering' for emergency stores (took all morning). Afternoon spent baking and knitting; generally chilling out. Cloudy all day; hints that it might rain, but it never did.

Sunday 21st August ~ Dudley to Bumble Hole (en route to Pelsall)

Both slept in! Once breakfast over, Admiral says she's missing church today, but hasn't decided where we are going. Discussed possibilities of Netherton or Titford Pools. General pottering until lunch. Sunny spells.

After lunch, move across to the services berth. Watched "President" and "Kildare"  arrive and manoeuvre into the museum basin. Moved off ourselves and the Admiral says its Netherton (Steerer very disappointed). Headed out via Tipton Junction back onto the Old Main Line and round to Factory Junction on the New Main Line. Turned right and started the descent through the Factory Locks. Pound between 1 and 2 was a little low, pound between 2 and 3 was very low! Got stuck on the cill while going through the upper gate, with pound and lock still leaking out (bottom paddles checked as shut, still leaking out). Emergency run down of water direct through locks 1 and 2 to get "Paws" afloat again. Eventually came clear and into the lock with the gate closed. Finished topping up the two pounds. By the time I had returned, Lock 3 was down without ever opening the bottom paddles. Incident reported to CRT. Cloud increasing, less sun to see.

On our way again, along the New Main Line to Dudley Port Junction. At the junction, there was a hire-boat looking perplexed and lost. Assisted with directions, they followed us down the tunnel branch and through the Netherton Tunnel. No further incidents and moored up at the Bumble Hole visitor centre. Just finished mooring and the heavens opened.

4.79 miles 3 locks 2.18 hrs 3.57 lmph

Saturday 20th August ~ Dudley (en route to Pelsall)

Lazy start to day. Raining and quite windy. Spent day at Black Country Living Museum  (well worth a return visit). Lunch from the Fish & Chip shop, where they still cook in the traditional way using beef dripping! Showers throughout the day, but we always managed to be somewhere with a bit of shelter.

Friday 19th August ~ Wolverhampton to Dudley (en route to Pelsall)

Second alarm-call running (but not too early) - to let "Shropshire Lass" out, for crew to catch a train. Rain started at breakfast time. The Admiral decided we would wait to see if it eased - it didn't (wasn't forecast to). Got on the move mid-morning, headed for Dudley. Only saw two boats moving on the whole journey - Sod's Law exerting itself, the first we met in the narrowest wiggliest section between reeds, the other in the Coseley Tunnel! Noted a high number of families of coots, most with young. Turned right at Factory Junction onto the Old Main Line, then right again at Tipton Junction onto the Dudley No.1 Canal. Arrived at the museum moorings just on lunchtime (and as the rain was easing!). Rain back again after lunch, but there was a brief period late afternoon where the sun got through before the rain took over again.

5.89 miles 0 locks 2.32 hrs 2.54 lmph

Thursday 18th August ~ Slade Heath to Wolverhampton (en route to Pelsall)

Alarm call - up early. Watery sun behind fairly high cloud (nice and cool for the ascent). Let go and continued south past Coven Heath and the western suburbs of Wolverhampton. Again passed through the narrows without a boat in the opposite direction and came to Autherley Junction. Continued south again to Aldersley Junction where we turned left onto the BCN. As soon as we had passed Autherley, the debris in the canal slowly started to increase. Started up the flight, but Lock 20 lower gate refused to open fully and it took a short while to get into the lock. By the time we had reached Lock 19, another boat was catching up - an Anglo-Welsh hireboat called "Banbury". They had more willing crew than they needed so a young lad ended up helping us for the remainder of the flight. Although every lock was against us, we flew up the flight - five in the first hour, six in the second, eight in the third hour! A big thank-you for your assistance.

Cloud cleared, and now getting pretty warm. On clearing the top lock, moored offside for lunch, then went for a walk for minor stores (Admiral's directions slightly askew and we ended up walking further than expected, but useful as we found other shops we needed but didn't expect). Once we got back, the Admiral decided to move forward to a secure mooring beside Broad Street CRT yard. It was full, so she asked if we could lie breasted-up to "Shropshire Lass" (who just happened to have our own district IWA deputy-chair aboard!). Cloud built slightly again late afternoon, and a lovely cool breeze made it very pleasant. Very quiet afternoon and evening (apart from the two-tone horns of the ambulances!).

5.62 miles 21 locks 5.05 hrs 5.27 lmph

Wednesday 17th August ~ Gailey to Slade Heath (en route to Pelsall)

Woken to sun streaming in through the portholes. By breakfast, the cloud had gathered and it was quite cool. All ready to move off, when the Admiral decided we should have a planning meeting. Decision was to do housework in the morning, then move after lunch.

Sun came out again over lunch, so set off in the increasing heat. Ascended Gailey Top Lock, and partook of the services as we passed. Fortunately, the next section is under the trees so the steerer got a bit of shade. Returned past the chemical works and Hatherton Junction without incident. In allowing another boat to come through on the next bend, slightly misjudged it and went lightly aground. While extricating ourselves (didn't take much), another boat came quickly up astern and we thought we would be chased. Just as we were about to let him past, he pulled in and stopped. The remainder of the day was uneventful, if warm. Moored again at Slade Heath, with the plan to be on the move early tomorrow to attack the "Wolverhampton 21".

4.94 miles 1 locks 2.04 hrs 2.92 lmph

Tuesday 16th August ~ Penkridge to Gailey (en route to Pelsall)

Up slightly earlier than usual. Plan? Early start, early finish! Light cool breeze making a pleasant start in the sunshine (just as well, by 10:00 it was getting hot again!). Got away as planned, ascending Penkridge Lock (38). Pulled over for the services. By the time we were half full of water, there were two other boats waiting (tap *very* slow!). Did a dance with the boats (us going south, two waiting for water, one coming north with nowhere to go) but it all worked out in the end, and we continued southwards. Ascended the spaced-out locks (Filance and Otherton), then up three of the four approaching Gailey (Rodbaston, Bogg's and Brick Kiln). Moored in the pound before Gailey Top Lock (shade during the afternoon from a tree, good TV).

'Housekeeping' got a pile of ironing done, 'IT' got more done on the mapping project. Steady flow of boats north and south. Clouds stayed away till after bedtime.

3.01 miles 6 locks 2.20 hrs 4.09 lmph

Monday 15th August ~ Penkridge to Acton Trussell and back (en route to Pelsall)

Clear blue skies greeted us this morning, foreboding a scorcher. The next available winding-hole being at Acton Trussell, we got on the move fairly promptly and descended the intervening three locks (Longford, Park Gate, and Shutt Hill). Winded just at The Moat House, and returned up through Shutt Hill and Park Gate locks to Teddesley Wharf, where we moored to go to the chandlery , and have some lunch. Seemed to be slow going today, with most locks against us.

After lunch, headed off again with the intention getting services and shops before mooring. About 50 minutes later, having ascended Longford Lock, the Admiral decided to stop. A horn outside the porthole drew our attention to Roy & Joan going past on "Slowgoing" (our neighbours at Fazeley). Pat walked into the village for shopping, while I got on with more mapping. Very hot by this stage, so glad to be getting a little shade.

4.41 miles 4 locks 3.29 hrs 2.55 lmph

Sunday 14th August ~ Penkridge (en route to Pelsall)

Cool but pleasant start to the day. Went to church and found that, yet again, it was the minister's last service! We finally found out that it is at this time of year that the Methodist Church has its reshuffle of pastors, so it wasn't anything we said after all. We, along with all visitors, were invited to lunch after the service. Made most welcome, and we wish Fiona all the best in her retirement.

Got back to "Paws" mid-afternoon and decided it was too late to start moving. Knitting and another batch of amendments for Mike at "Water Way" kept us busy until teatime. Sun managed to peep through late afternoon.

Saturday 13th August ~ Gailey to Penkridge (en route to Pelsall)

On the move promptly and started the descent from Gailey. Pleasant morning, just enough sun to be warm, just enough cloud to prevent overheating, wind had died down overnight. Steady run down the locks, no undue queues. Arrived in Penkridge just before lunch, and moored just north of Bridge 86 in the centre (near "The Boat").

Went for a walk into town for stores in the afternoon, checking the data for our planner software while there. Spent the remainder of the afternoon working on the mapping project and getting ironing done.

3.33 miles 7 locks 3.19 hrs 3.24 lmph

Friday 12th August ~ Gailey

Lovely sunny morning, great sitting under the trees in the dappled light. Heard squirrels chatting to each other in the trees before we rose. Waiting for phone call to say heater is ready. Did full engine service while waiting. Phone went during lunch, heater ready.

Moved up to services berth, quite busy so attempted to pull in early to free the berth. Unfortunately, the boat behind was so close, they could not stop in time, bumped me causing me to bump next boat up, then over-ran past me on the side I was attempting to moor on (blocking me from mooring). Moved forward to the lock-waiting/services berth to get the loo done. Boat coming up the lock complained I was in the road when I said I wasn't going down the lock (he then took the same berth, for services, when I moved across to the boatyard. Some funny people around!

Once the heater was fitted and tested, it was really too late to start moving on for the day so reversed back to the 2-day moorings and moored up for the night. Excellent, friendly service from J.D. Boat Services. Sunny throughout, although the wind picked up quite a bit during the day.

0.53 miles 0 locks 0.49 hrs 1.09 lmph

Thursday 11th August ~ Slade Heath to Gailey

Lovely to have a night where we didn't bang against an underwater concrete ledge at the slightest movement of the boat. The Shroppie is very scenic, but that is its one downfall. On the move mid-morning, continuing north. It is a typical Brindley canal, with twists and turns galore - this section being particularly twisted. Passed the end of the Hatherton Canal (under restoration) before running alongside the chemical works at Four Ashes (tastefully screened by a row of trees). Moored at the 2-day moorings at Gailey for lunch - I walked along to J.D. Boat Services to arrange the service on the central heating.

After lunch, moved "Paws" along to the services berth immediately above the lock, then pushed across to J.D.'s berth to have the unit removed. They said they would have it ready for tomorrow, so reversed back to the 5-day mooring (just in case of a delay tomorrow). Dinner out at The Spread Eagle  - slightly disappointed in the meal quality, but maybe chef's night off.

4.96 miles 0 locks 2.26 hrs 2.19 lmph

Wednesday 10th August ~ Shutt Green to Slade Heath (en route to Gailey)

Dull morning, as forecast. Quite cool (certainly for August!) On the move quickly, continuing through Brewood and back out into the countryside. Started to get more urban after we passed under the M54. This last run in to the junction from Brewood always seems 'tired' after the beauty of the rest of the Shroppie. Moored at Bridge 2, the nearest to Morrison's on the Shroppie - walk over the bridge and through the mini-park, turning left in the middle of the estate. The mooring used to have rings but now requires stakes, concrete edging really needs some kind of fenders to protect paint.

Once back from the shopping and mail collection, had lunch before continuing. Cloud starting to thin, occasional glimpses of sun. Temperature now up to a reasonable level if not warm. Continued down the last half-mile to the stop-lock, and turned left, northwards, on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal. It is (just) possible to moor on the straight section north of the junction to get to Morrison's from this side, but I would not recommend an overnight stop. Immediately north of here is a long, very narrow cutting. It has two passing places in its length, but a good lookout is required to prevent the need for reversing. We had a clear run through, and continued on through Coven Heath, stopping for the night at Slade Heath. No actual rain through the day, although it looked as though it could have started at any time. By the time we stopped, the cloudbase had lifted and it was more settled.

8.52 miles 1 locks 3.74 hrs 2.54 lmph

Tuesday 9th August ~ Shutt Green (en route to Gailey)

Walked into Brewood for a small quantity of urgent stores. Took time to check the data on our "Water Way" map, noting changes to send to Mike. Lovely sunny morning, although wind starting to pick up by lunchtime.

A bit of baking and other household jobs during the afternoon. Couple of light rain showers just after lunch, but they faded away quickly. Heard through a CRT Event Notice that the Wednesfield Canal Festival was this weekend, but "cruise director" vetoed going on the grounds that we would have to go up the Wolverhampton '21' to get there, then come down again to kill time for two weeks, before going up again to Pelsall for the end of the month.

Monday 8th August ~ Gnosall Heath to Shutt Green (en route to Gailey)

Woken by a sunny morning, but clouds had built by breakfast time. On the move fairly quickly, heading past the open fields then into the cutting with the dappled light filtering through the trees. Had a couple of light showers but it came to nothing. The countryside opened out again as we approached Wheaton Aston, where we stopped for lunch.

After lunch, we moved up to Turner's Garage at Tavern Bridge 19 - he has a pump for red diesel on a pontoon - cheapest I've ever seen at 52p/l (average at the moment is 59p-68p). Highly recommended. We then moved up to the services for the usual jobs before ascending Wheaton Aston Lock and the continuing 2 miles to Shutt Green on the approach to Brewood. Moored just south of Bridge 15. Weather continued to improve.

7.66 miles 1 locks 3.53 hrs 2.45 lmph

Sunday 7th August ~ Gnosall Heath (en route to Gailey)

Cooler morning, still sunny but with more cloud. Headed to the Methodist Church round the corner. Disappointed to find they were having a joint service with the Parish Church in the centre of the village. Not enough time to walk all the way in before the service started. Wandered back to "Paws" and pottered for the morning.

After lunch went for a walk into the main village, taking notes and GPS positions of shops/services that may be of use to boaters. On return, spent the rest of the afternoon typing them up for sending to Mike Kelly at "Water Way" for his next (free) data update for customers. Wind had picked up as I walked around, but down on the towpath it could not be felt. Beautiful afternoon.

Saturday 6th August ~ Goldstone Wharf to Gnosall Heath (en route to Gailey)

Wall-to-wall blue sky greeted us this morning. On the move fairly promptly and continued southeastwards. Beautiful vista out across the plain towards the hills around Telford and Shrewsbury. Corn and sweetcorn crops almost ready for harvesting. Slightly miscalculated the length of time to reach Norbury Junction. The run in to the junction is almost 2 miles of long-term moorings, therefore a slow run. Ended up with a late lunch at the café, before a quick shop in the chandlery.

Moved up to the services berth for the usuals, then continued on towards Gnosall Heath. Getting very hot by this time. The first section of visitor moorings north of Bridge 35 were completely full, but there was a space in the shade just south so we took that.

9.93 miles 0 locks 4.27 hrs 2.33 lmph

Friday 5th August ~ Goldstone Wharf (en route to Gailey)

Nice sunny morning, clouds had cleared overnight. Decided to have a leisurely day after doing a few chores. Cloud returned after lunch but cleared again for a lovely afternoon. Plans made for next few days (need to get mail).

Thursday 4th August ~ Market Drayton to Goldstone Wharf (en route to Gailey)

Wind had dropped by morning and the day started bright, if cool. Got on the move fairly promptly. Had a chat with Terry & Cath, locals who were out for morning walk. They live nearby, have a narrowboat, and are members of the Merchant Navy Association Boat Club . Let go and attacked the Tyrley Flight (5 locks). Excellent run up through the flight with a boat just leaving the lock above each time we approached. Sun had broken through and the cruise along the next section was very pleasant. Saw a kingfisher just after we left the lock. We then entered the Woodseaves cutting - very narrow with barely room to pass, high tree-lined sides allowing only a subdued light. There is a 2-mph speed limit along this section as there is the possibility of rockfalls, but it is still a pleasant trip and one would not want to hurry. Eventually the sides open out again as the canal approaches Goldstone Wharf. We moored on the visitor moorings there and had lunch.

Decided to stay put for the afternoon - just as well as the sun disappeared and it turned to rain, some of the showers very heavy indeed. General duties for the afternoon, including more bread-baking. A few bright spells during the evening, but the cloud building again by bedtime.

3.31 miles 5 locks 1.85 hrs 4.48 lmph

Wednesday 3rd August ~ Market Drayton (en route to Gailey)

Brighter morning before breakfast, but cloud increased and drizzle briefly returned. Market Day so walked into town. Obtained a few items from the stalls, then wandered back via Bargain Booze (the evaporation rate hasn't reduced much!). Collected the parcel at Morrison's and returned to "Paws" for lunch. Set the washing machine going so that we could top the water tank before moving on.

With lunch over and the washing finished, set off mid-afternoon to move round to the services berth at the other end of town. 'Duties' done, moved round to the visitor moorings - which were busy so ended up with stakes again just at the aqueduct. More work on the maps (Leicestershire area). Wind increased, and spells of drizzle back again.

0.62 miles 0 locks 0.46 hrs 1.35 lmph

Tuesday 2nd August ~ Market Drayton (en route to Gailey)

Rain and drizzle overnight continued throughout most of the day, only clearing late afternoon. Waiting for a parcel to be delivered at collection point so had to stay until collected. Didn't arrive until too late to move on, so stayed put for the whole day. I spent most of the day working on the new map (added all the arms for the Grand Junction Canal, and added the whole of the Oxford Canal). Pat completed the seat covers and worked on some flags we want to display. Daughter rang to say she had a long weekend off, so were we anywhere she could get to for a couple of days visit (currently no rail connection, and nowhere to leave the car if we moved the boat, but she could come for a 'static' visit - she'd think about it).

Monday 1st August ~ Audlem to Market Drayton (en route to Gailey)

Rain never came to anything overnight. Woken early (as we expected) by old working boats leaving the festival site. Kept awake (not expected) by the boat astern starting her engine at 06:30 (we thought she was departing) and leaving it running for an hour while they had breakfast! Gave up at 07:00 and had a leisurely breakfast ourselves before getting under way just after 09:00. Had a very good run up the remainder of the Audlem flight (Locks 11 to 1) - the CRT Volunteers were out again assisting passage, and we got a clear run into most locks with other boats just vacating them. The climb up Adderley did not go so well. When we arrived, there was a backlog of three. Once on the move, the going was quite smooth. The CRT Lads were helping a working pair up astern of us, and came forward to ease the passage ahead of them. A great big 'Thank You' to all those who assisted over the weekend - your help much appreciated.

Clear of the Adderley Flight, we had lunch on the move as we headed into the wooded avenue before Market Drayton. Noted a kingfisher (the first this season), sitting on a branch ready to take a small fish into its nest in the bank. Moored up on the 5-day moorings to the north of Market Drayton and went for a wander into town. After a bright start to the day, clouds built and rain threatened again.

5.40 miles 16 locks 5.41 hrs 3.95 lmph

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