This Month's Totals and Average
178.33 miles 153 locks 94.10 hrs 3.52 lmph

  April 2017

Sunday 30th April ~ Oxford

Another sunny morning, although it evenually clouded over during the afternoon, with the wind rising. Freddie & Julie arrived mid-morning for a trip round the "Oxford Circle".

Winded "Paws" at the marina entrance above Osney Lock and headed north for the Sheepwash Channel. Turned right into the channel and across to Isis Lock - quite busy here, with two going up and one coming down, and not much room for manoeuvring. Ascended the lock and headed north on the Oxford Canal. Several stretches of moored boats on this section. Ascended Wolvercote Lock, then two liftbridges required operation. Turned left onto the Duke's Cut again, ascending the lock at the junction, taking us back to the River Thames. Turned left again into King's Lock, descended, then continued south for Godstow Lock. This is the northernmost electrically operated lock, but over lunchtime is "self-service". Unfortunately, part way through the operation, the electric failed, then the manual pumping system went on strike. Finally got through and headed back south again past Port Meadow for Osney.

Managed to find a space at East Street again, and said our goodbyes to Freddie & Julie - look forward to seeing them again later in the year if plans go as hoped.

7.72 miles 5 locks 4.06 hrs 3.14 lmph

Saturday 29th April ~ Oxford

Nice sunny day. Went out shopping in three sessions - first for diy parts to the retail park, second to the covered market for odds and ends, then third after lunch to supermarket with the trolley for stores. Freddie & Julie arrived late afternoon for dinner - great evening.

Friday 28th April ~ Eynsham to Oxford

Day didn't start well! Cloudy and damp, but set off for King's Lock (just after the Duke's Cut Junction). Had a little time to spare so took it quite easily. Arrived at the lock to be advised that the public drinking-water tap could only be used for filling containers, the nearest 'hose' was back at Eynsham Lock! (Further investigation confirms that boats can only fill tanks using the hoses provided, at the few water points designated. Only containers can be filled at the far-more-frequent 'taps'.) Winded, returned to Eynsham, ascended the lock and topped up.

Now running behind schedule, returned down the Lock, back to King's Lock, and continued our way into Oxford via Godstow Lock. Noted Godstow Abbey  above the lock as we passed, with its mooring next to well-cut grass enabling picnics. After threatened drizzle, and lunch on the move, moored at the Environment Agency moorings at East Street.

Freddie & Julie joined us mid-afternoon for "tea & scones". Great to finally meet Julie after all we'd heard when Freddie was aboard last year. Plans co-ordinated for next two days. They went off for an "anniversary" dinner together - we did a quick run to the shops for essentials.

10.93 miles 4 locks 3.53 hrs 4.23 lmph

Thursday 27th April ~ Eynsham (en route to Oxford)

Decided we would definitely stay put, the steerer basically wanting a rest from concentration - although not 'difficult', the never-ending changing of direction on the upper river requires constant attention. Went back onto the Thames Visitor Moorings  website. It now allowed me to add an extra night, and to go through WorldPay or PayPal for payment - very easy.

A few routine jobs over the day, and a walk into the town. Collected a pile of data to pass back to our mapping software people for inclusion in our next update (user feedback is added and passed back to users). Bright sunny morning, clouded over with occasional very light rain by afternoon.

Wednesday 26th April ~ Kelmscott to Eynsham (en route to Oxford)

Another good night, so very happy with that mooring. Sunny again as we prepared to leave, cool, but looked like a nice day. As soon as we got clear of the shelter of the bank, a biting wind cut through and the heaviest of jackets came back out. Headed back towards Eynsham. Descended the 1st three locks then got lunch on the move. Localised heavy black clouds crossing the sky making it even colder, with occasional showers of rain and soft hail, and the biting wind still present.

Descended the next two locks but, as we approached the Farmoor Reservoir, heard a distressed bleating from the water's edge. Saw a lamb which had fallen in and was unable to get up the bank. Emergency stop on "Paws" and got to the bank, jumped ashore and managed to pull it out with a rope. Mum and sibling appeared very happy. Moved on to Pink Hill Lock and reported the incident to the lockie. Continued in the hope of the same mooring as Sunday, on the upside of Eynsham Lock, but it was taken. Took water then descended and moored on the lower mooring. Inside and got heated up!

After registering arrival with Thames Visitor Moorings , and with the possibility of staying put tomorrow, I found that I could not pay for further nights. Will see what happens tomorrow.

19.51 miles 7 locks 6.74 hrs 3.93 lmph

Tuesday 25th April ~ Kelmscott to Lechlade and return (en route to Oxford)

Good night last night, although on a bend, against concrete, poor mooring. Sun shining this morning, but cold enough to require heavy jackets. Let go and headed for Lechlade. Ascended Buscot Lock (although nobody on duty when we arrived, the lockie turned up as we started working paddles). Continued the scenic run to St John's Lock which was "self-service", then the final 20 mins to Lechlade. Looked very picturesque from waterside, but couldn't see the Environment Agency designated mooring (free 1st 24hrs, then £5.00 per night for up to 2 further nights), could only find the campsite which would charge for all stay (for stakes stuck in their banking). Continued through the village in the hope of a mooring but nothing by the time we reached Inglesham Junction (where the now derelict Thames & Severn Canal joined). Couldn't see the official winding hole, but got round with some difficulty and returned at slow speed checking for the mooring. Nothing found so decided to return to Kelmscott and the mooring we had last night. Just got moored up when intermittant showers set in.

8.40 miles 4 locks 4.02 hrs 3.08 lmph

Monday 24th April ~ Eynsham to Kelmscott (en route to Lechlade)

Very quiet overnight. Greeted by a dull and cool morning. Had a quick chat with Nik the lockie before getting under way, hoping to get to Lechlade. Beautifully scenic run through the meadows and pastureland, bordered by wooded sections. Very twisted, but still deep water, and wide enough not to cause problems on the narrowest bits. Ascended Pink Hill, Northmoor and Shifford Locks under "self-service" (no lock-keeper on duty) - slower than even widebeam locks on the canals. Lunch on the move. Rain setting in by early afternoon, with wind rising. Lock-keeper on at Rushey Lock, but "self-service" again at Radcot. Had decided by this stage that we would not be getting to Lechlade today, so started enquiring about a mooring. Our final lock for the day, Grafton, was manned, and the lockie gave us directions to a 'mooring'. Most 'moorings' on this part of the river just consist of a slightly better bit of field-edge, and no indication that it can be used as such. We found something at Kelmscott that we could use (although it may not have been the bit of bank the lockie meant). Finally got tied to a piece of pipe sticking out of the ground and one set of stakes, with fenders jury-rigged for the odd places needed on the bend - think we should be OK for the night.

19.39 miles 6 locks 7.61 hrs 3.34 lmph

Sunday 23rd April ~ Kirtlington to Eynsham (en route to Lechlade)

Up promptly on a misty cool morning. Anchor and other extras for river-work brought to readiness, and a check on engine and weedhatch before departure. Away mid-morning with the mist lifted and now sunny, continuing southwards towards Oxford in similar scenery to yesterday. Noted our first batch of bluebells in the wooded areas bankside. There is a 48-hr mooring between Bridges 212 and 213 on the offside, with picnic tables. Descended Pigeon and Baker's Locks onto the Cherwell again - very twisted at this point, but good deep water. Left the river again at Shipton Weir Lock and continued into Thrupp. Long areas of permanent moorings, with only short sections for visitors (and they were all full!). Stopped at the services at Thrupp Wharf (overhanging the bridge 'ole because there was no other space).

On the move again through the liftbridge (which needed a 'BW' key for the electrics) and past more permanent moorings, descended Roundham, Kidlington Green and Duke's Locks to Wolvercote Junction. Turned right onto the Duke's Cut, immediately ascending Duke's Cut Lock, passing onto the River Thames and turning upstream at the junction. Wide and deep river conditions, with low banks (unlike the Severn where one can see nothing). Somewhat twisted, but not challenging. Arrived at Eynsham Lock and ascended, getting advice and information from the very friendly lockies. Moored above the lock for the night.

Note - At writing, a large number of the moorings on the Thames are now managed by a third-party company. Eynsham is free for 1st 24hr, then £5.00 per night for up to two additional nights. More details from their website .

11.51 miles 8 locks 6.27 hrs 3.11 lmph

Saturday 22nd April ~ Aynho to Kirtlington (en route to Lechlade)

Discussion about plans and routes - rather than heading into Oxford for a day before heading to Lechlade, we have decided to take the Duke's Cut and go up to Lechlade first. Lovely sunny morning (although the breeze still held a slight chill) so on the move fairly quickly. Locks today were spread out about 45 mins apart - descended Somerton Deep, Heyford Common and Allen's over the morning, and operating the only liftbridge so far that needed attention (and it is electric with 'BW' key), before mooring at Heyford Wharf for lunch and a quick trip to the shop.

Continued on our way, with the scenery ever changing between wooded avenues, reed beds, and rolling fields. Descended Dashwoods' and Northbrook Locks. On the approaches to Kirtlington, the Admiral suddenly says, "we could always just stop here for the night, its good banking" (phrasing it as a question but implying Stop!).

Day warmed up nicely and we both managed to shed sweatshirts and fleeces, finishing the day in T-shirts. Forecast for next week not very nice.

8.87 miles 5 locks 4.95 hrs 2.80 lmph

Friday 21st April ~ Banbury to Aynho (en route to Lechlade)

A dull morning greeted us today. Let go as soon as we were ready, passed through the liftbridge and descended Banbury Lock to the services point. Once finished, moved off again towards Oxford. The southern approach to Banbury is more commercialised than the north side, but the scenery quickly returns to trees lining both sides of the cut. The cut south of here has numerous lift-bridges, but some have had their decks removed and the remainder are normally left up. Locked down through Grant's and Kings Sutton Locks. A fibreglass cruiser two in front of us had difficulties getting past the lower gates as he still had quite large fenders in place (slight delay for the boat one in front, and for us). Bank very poor for mooring over this section, but finally found a spot just before Bridge 186, and stopped for lunch. Noted the cruiser from earlier, moored up with a breakdown (nothing we could do).

Just before departure after lunch, the cruiser passed us - he had fixed his problem. On our way again, just round the corner to Nell Bridge Lock. Above the lock is The Pig Place , a farm shop with moorings alongside. At the lock, we caught up with the cruiser, still keeping his fenders out and jamming on the gates, also taking two very long lines ashore. He had difficulty coiling his ropes each time. Descended onto the River Cherwell, continuing to Aynho Weir Lock where the whole rigmarole started again - he had to tie his boat up to set the lock (tangling his ropes), then tie up in the lock, then clear the ropes again when leaving. We stopped at Aynho Wharf for fuel where we heard that he had come far too fast through the bridge 'ole and hit the bridge with his bicycle severely bending the wheel.

We decided to stay put and moored for the night just after the bridge. The dull day continued throughout, getting chillier as the day wore on.

6.70 miles 5 locks 4.61 hrs 2.54 lmph

Thursday 20th April ~ Cropredy to Banbury

Knowing it was 3 hours to Banbury, and intending to move out of town once finished, up early and on the move before 09:00. Descended Cropredy Lock and continued southwards on a damp and drizzly morning. Descended the other three locks before Banbury (Slat Mill, Little Bourton, and Hardwick), running alondside the railway. Arrived in Banbury late morning and moored in the centre at Castle Quay. Walked along to Morrison's for stores, then had lunch when we got back. Headed out again on foot in the afternoon for a wander through the shopping centre then returned to "Paws". The admiral then announces she couldn't be bothered moving, so ropes tidied and fenders set for night.

4.53 miles 4 locks 2.68 hrs 3.19 lmph

Wednesday 19th April ~ Priors Hardwick to Cropredy (en route to Banbury)

Another lovely morning, and a lot warmer than yesterday. Up early and on the move by 09:00. Continued generally southwards towards Cropredy. The section from Priors Hardwick to Fenny Compton is particularly twisted - one section to the north of Wormleighton is 2.5 miles long and takes 50 minutes, but you only travel 0.6 mile as the crow flies! The Wormleighton radio mast can be seen from just about every point of the compass in this section. The run to Fenny Compton is very picturesque with the low pastures changing to fields of oil-seed rape. The banking is not good for mooring for the whole run.

On leaving Fenny Compton, there is a very narrow section which used to be a tunnel, but it was opened out by the Oxford Canal Company leaving just a narrow cutting with slightly wider passing places. On clearing the old tunnel, the canal broadens out again to full (narrow gauge) width, with better banking. We moored just above Claydon Top Lock for a bite of lunch before descending the five locks in this flight. Continuing on we then descended the three locks (Elkington's, Varney's and Broadmoor) to Cropredy, mooring on the north side of the village, above the lock.

Very pleasant day - the sweatshirts and jumpers were actually discarded over the day, and the side doors were opened once we moored up. Good day again for birdlife, with sightings of kestrel, peregrine, buzzard, blackcap and willow warbler of note amongst the usual suspects.

11.15 miles 8 locks 5.74 hrs 3.34 lmph

Tuesday 18th April ~ Flecknoe to Priors Hardwick (en route to Banbury)

Lovely sunny morning, but a biting cold wind. On the move promptly, all wrapped up like winter. Continued towards Wigrams Turn (Napton Junction) and forward onto the southern section of the Oxford Canal. You immediately notice that we are back onto narrow canal here. Had intended to stop at Napton Narrowboats  - we have hired from them before - but it was very busy so passed on. Stopped at the bottom of the Napton Flight for services, then commenced up the flight. Great to be back with narrow locks again, with the chance for the steerer to be more active in help with the locking operation. Soon dropped back into the old routine.

Stopped after the first six for a bite of lunch, then continued up the remaining three at Marston Doles. The canal twists and turns in the typical fashion of a Brindley-designed contour canal, with some very tight bends, often with bridges. Moored for the night south of Bridge 124, near the village of Priors Hardwick.

8.45 miles 9 locks 5.28 hrs 3.31 lmph

Monday 17th April ~ Flecknoe (en route to Banbury)

Very heavy rain overnight - the anticipated front obviously came through earlier than expected. Woken around half-six by a thrush singing its heart out. Decided to stay put, the catering department said they wished to make bread - took much longer than usual to rise (quite cool on board). Had a brief chat with "Croxton Flash" (BCF member) as he passed. Great deal of traffic in both directions, and people seem to be in more of a hurry today. Sun tried its best to get through all day.

Easter Sunday 16th April ~ Braunston to Flecknoe (en route to Banbury)

Sunny start to the day, but with gathering clouds on the horizon. Went to Easter service at All Saints .

After lunch, moved off and headed towards the locks to get to Braunston Chandlers (hadn't moved before, not wishing to lose mooring). Wind starting to pick up and drizzle in the air. Finished at chandlers and reversed back to Toll House for services (including getting a new gas bottle at Braunston Marina). Once finished, winded "Paws" and headed back to the junction, turning left onto the Oxford Canal again.

Moored for night just SW of Flecknoe Road Bridge (102). Rain setting in for night.

3.99 miles 0 locks 1.96 hrs 2.04 lmph

Saturday 15th April ~ Braunston

Sunny most of the day. Pottered with a few small jobs. Went for walk along the towpath, chatting to other boaters and walkers. Assisted a few boats through Bottom Lock. Very busy with traffic this afternoon. Attended the late-afternoon service - "Crucifixion to Resurrection".

Friday 14th April ~ Braunston

Pottered most of the morning. Attended the service at All Saints Church  (the "Cathedral of the Waterways") in the afternoon - a reflective look at the last seven words of Jesus from the cross. Dull most of the day, with occasional light showers and short sunny spells.

Thursday 13th April ~ Braunston

Another sunny morning that turned to cloud. Walked round to Midland Chandlers for replacement chimney and rain cover. Found that their one, although the same quoted size is slightly too small for our flue - had to return them. Walked along to Bottom Lock Chandlery - they understood the problem, apparently it is common, so we will take "Paws" along before we leave and check for fit. Dropped into the old Toll House (where tolls were collected when crossing from Grand Junction to Oxford canals). Happened to meet the CRT moorings warden for the area so mentioned our hope of moving to the 14-day section. He took our name/number and said we could stay put for the extra time. Very many thanks to him for the offer.

Wednesday 12th April ~ Calcutt to Braunston

Beautiful spring morning, with lambs bleating in the field, birds singing in the trees, and rabbits playing on the towpath. Didn't stay like that - cloud slowly encroached across the sky by lunchtime, and the cool breeze stiffened.

Prompt start, noting another boat going past so joined them for the climb up Calcutt Locks (flight of 3). Had a brief chat with Stephen on "Ki-Wi" (a BCF member who moors at Calcutt), then continued to Wigrams Turn (Napton Junction) where we turned left onto the section of the Oxford Canal which links the two sections of the Grand Union Canal. Along this section is a wide vista across the farmland, with both agricultural and pastoral. Part way along, we were hailed by Clim & Tina on "Brindley" (they used to moor across from us) so we caught up on news.

Continued into Braunston, turning right onto the Grand Junction Canal, and mooring just south of the junction. Went for lunch at the Gongoozlers' Rest , then walked round via the village for butchery and stores.

While having lunch, we noted the service times for Easter Weekend, and decided to try and stay for a few extra days (if moorings allow).

6.03 miles 3 locks 2.88 hrs 3.14 lmph

Tuesday 11th April ~ Bascote to Calcutt (en route to Braunston)

Beautiful sunny morning - after a very quiet night, up and on the move promptly. Continued on to Itchington Bottom Lock, with one eye behind to see if anyone was catching us up. Nothing came so started up the locks, Itchington and Shop, then on to Stockton Bottom. At the next lock, we thought we could see another boat behind, confirmed by a CRT licence checker walking the towpath. We stopped and waited for them - lovely young couple aboard "Bowmont". Passed up the remainder of the flight in what seemed like no time at all. We decided to stop for lunch at The Boat Inn  (Birdinbury), while "Bowmont" carried on - thanks for the great company on the flight.

Excellent sandwich lunch and pint before moving on a short way, mooring again outside Ventnor Farm Marina. Wind still quite cool when out of the sun.

6.23 miles 10 locks 4.01 hrs 4.05 lmph

Monday 10th April ~ Leamington Spa to Bascote (en route to Braunston)

Another slow start - not sure why, but we seem to be getting slower every morning, but again, there's no reason to rush.

Mostly cloudy, with occasional sunny spells. Cooler than the last few days. Got on the move mid-morning, headed southeast through the less salubrious parts of Leamington and on towards Napton Junction. Decided that a call at chandler may be needed so have half-planned to take a run across to Braunston before continuing to Oxford - final decision later.

Ascended Radford and the bottom two Fosse Locks, then pulled in for water and loo. "Elleni" passed and asked if we were heading up - they waited at Fosse Top for us and we continued together. Lunch on the move again!

Completed the Bascote Flight and took our leave of "Elleni". Moored up just east of Bridge 27.

6.23 miles 10 locks 4.01 hrs 4.05 lmph

Sunday 9th April ~ Leamington Spa

Didn't notice the road-noise as much as we thought we would. Both slept in!

Admiral decided we would stay put for the day while she did some baking. Also got some washing and a couple of small jobs done. A general pottering day.

Saturday 8th April ~ Warwick to Leamington Spa

Happy 3rd Birthday to "Paws" - 3rd anniversary of her going in the water

Checked Warwick Castle's website for visitor information and found that it would cost over £22 per person to get in (looks like it is run by one of the "theme park" style companies). Very disappointed so took a walk to the Saltisford Canal Centre. Read the info boards, but the visitor centre was closed. Returned to "Paws" and decided to move on.

Descended the two Cape Locks and stopped for water, then continued towards Leamington Spa. Moored outside Morrisons. Had lunch, then went for stores. Took a walk into the town centre - felt a very 'open' town, with a number of grass areas and parks, good shopping centre. The sunny day (on a weekend) had large numbers of people enjoying the outdoors.

Tired with walking in the heat (and its only just spring!), we returned aboard for the evening.

2.57 miles 2 locks 1.37 hrs 3.33 lmph

Friday 7th April ~ Hatton to Warwick

Happy birthday to me! - but no long lie (the admiral was up as usual), no breakfast in bed, and a birthday present of a flight of 21 locks to negotiate - who planned this cruise!!!!

Just ready to move as "Rusalka" was spotted on her way down. We both moved on to the top of the flight to be advised the CRT lads were running water down for a low pound. After a delay of about 20 mins, we headed down the flight. Made steady progress, but we didn't feel we were rushing (the stats actually belied that, giving 7.5 lock-miles per hour for the descent - a very good speed for this flight). Decided to stop between Locks 30 and 29 for a coffee-break and short rest before completing the flight. The locks of the Hatton and Knowle flights were widened as part of the Grand Union's widening program, but the old narrow locks  can still be seen running parallel.

Continued left onto the Warwick & Napton Canal (another of the canals swallowed into the Grand Union), and moored just east of Bridge 50. We got some lunch before going shopping, Barrie & Margaret went shopping then were moving on to the other side of Warwick for overnight. We said our goodbyes - thanks for the great company over the last two days, hope to see you again some time.

Shopping then back for a quiet lazy evening in front of the tele!

3.09 miles 21 locks 4.56 hrs 5.29 lmph

Thursday 6th April ~ Catherine de Barnes to Hatton (en route to Warwick)

Visit from Barrie & Margaret from "Rusalka" just as we were preparing to leave - discussed plans for next couple of days to partner down the locks (they had tailed us up the Camp Hill Flight yesterday). Set off intending to stop at Knowle for a walk into town before dealing with services - Barrie & Margaret were planning to leave about an hour behind and we would meet up at Knowle Top. Lovely (although slow due to boat in front) run in the morning sun along to Knowle but had difficulty getting alongside - the visitor mooring appears non-existant and the bank before the bridge was very shallow. By the time we got tied up, "Rusalka" had caught up. We decided we couldn't be bothered walking in after all so let go again and followed them to the lock. Paired down the 5 locks of the flight - the usual heavy going on the hydraulic paddle-gear.

Leaving the flight, Barrie & Margaret stopped for lunch and we continued on for Hatton, having lunch on the move again. Took it slowly through Shrewley Tunnel keeping an eye out for bats, but seeing none. Moored short of Hatton Top Lock, "Rusalka" joined us shortly thereafter. Saw our first swallow for the year on the run in to Hatton. Plans laid for tomorrow morning.

Sunny day throughout (apart from occasional passing clouds), even the lighter breeze felt a little warmer. Spring might just have finally arrived....... maybe?

11.05 miles 5 locks 5.17 hrs 3.10 lmph

Wednesday 5th April ~ Aston to Catherine de Barnes (en route to Warwick)

Woken by the Canada geese having a territory war (or that's what it sounded like!). Nice sunny morning if cool. Cleared the rubbish from the prop (collected on the way up the Ashted Flight on Monday - meant to clear it yesterday). Attempted to get under way, but found no drive. Checked Morse gear, all appeared OK with selector arm operating. Called RCR for advice - suggested check oil in gearbox (often the simple things are forgotten!) That appeared to cure it - to check again later - lesson learned!

Now running late on planned times, turned "Paws" at the adjacent winding hole and set off down the Ashted Locks again to Digbeth Junction. Mother duck and three ducklings got stuck in the top lock as I tried to drain it - managed to get them safely out. There is a narrowing of the canal inside the Ashted Tunnel making it very tight at the roof-rails. We caught the side last year when we were through but thought it was just bad driving - was ready for it this year but only narrowly missed scraping the rails. Lunch on the move again, continuing across Bordesley Junction and climbing the Camp Hill Flight (6 locks) before mooring at the services. There is a tight double-bend between Locks 4, 3 and 2, but a great view of Holy Trinity Church  sitting the other side of the duel carriageway (Bordesley Middleway).

Necessaries dealt with, continued southeast on the Warwick & Birmingham Canal (Grand Union) towards Knowle and Hatton. Initial rubbish cleared, but was replaced by floating branches. The banks are lined with trees, shielding the outskirts of the city and making for a pleasant run. Slower speeds than normally expected due to decreased depth (leaf mold etc needing dredged). Finally cleared the suburbs into open country and passed through the village of Catherine De Barnes. Moored on the SE outskirts.

Great day for nature today - first ducklings (fuffs) of the season, a cormorant, a red fox near the allotments at Yardley, and a jay and a kingfisher as we cleared Elmdon Heath.

9.34 miles 12 locks 4.99 hrs 4.28 lmph

Tuesday 4th April ~ Aston

Cloudy start to the day, with a little moisture in the air. Had a visit from Jan and John from "Toulouse" to discuss their plans for the next few days (looking for some slightly more local knowledge of the area). They set off mid-morning, and we headed to the "ThinkTank"  (science museum part of the Birmingham Museums group).

Spent the rest of the day there, including sandwich lunch from one of their kiosks. Of note was the fact that there is no concession for pensioners. Very interesting day, with a lot of "how it works" displays for the younger audience, including a fascinating 45 min talk in the planetarium (pitched at KeyStage 2). Sun well out by the time we left to return to "Paws".

Monday 3rd April ~ Curdworth to Aston

Lovely sunny day, but with a cool breeze. Remained that way all day.

On the move fairly promptly and continued for Minworth (although the tracker decided to play up on departure). Lovely run with the morning sunshine on the farmland and the birds singing. Stopped just below Minworth Bottom to top up the water. Ascended Minworth bottom, but got a pile of rubbish round the prop just below Minworth 2. Cleared that and ascended 2 and 3 - a lot of rubbish around this area, and one of the gates at Minworth Top jammed with a piece of wood behind it (fairly easily cleared). Decided to have lunch on the move before getting to Salford Junction. Turned 1st left at the junction onto the Birmingham & Warwick Junction Canal. There were a lot of tyres floating in the area - we found that they had come from a dumped pile just below Garrison Bottom Lock. Ascended the Garrison/Saltley Flight (5 locks) (lost the cover for the chimney to some low overhanging vegitation), turning right at Bordesley Junction (we'll be coming back this way in a couple of days) onto the tail end of the Warwick & Birmingham Canal (part of the Grand Union). Passed through Warwick Bar onto the Digbeth Branch and turned right at Digbeth Junction, taking us up the Ashted Flight (6 locks). "Toulouse" tucked in behind us up the flight, and we both moored at Aston Science Park moorings for the night. Temporary cover rigged over the flue as showers forecast overnight.

9.63 miles 14 locks 5.85 hrs 4.04 lmph

Sunday 2nd April ~ Bodymoor Heath to Curdworth (en route to Birmingham)

Slow start to a chilly morning. Sun starting to show its heat, but the breeze still a little cool. Continuing to ease ourselves back into being on the move again, took a leisurely climb up the remaining 8 of the Curdworth Flight, but seemed to get to the top quicker than expected. Buds on the trees starting to break out into leaves. Stopped for lunch above the top lock, and decided that was enough for 'day 2'. Quiet afternoon in the sun.

1.86 miles 8 locks 2.13 hrs 4.63 lmph

Saturday 1st April ~ Fazeley to Bodymoor Heath (en route to Birmingham)

Finally got away! Last minute things in the morning (including fuelling), then away after lunch. Headed towards Kingsbury and Curdworth Locks. Damp start to day, but no real rain, and sun poking through. Within 20 minutes of setting off the rain hammered down! It did eventually clear, but the steerer got soaked (as usual). Ascended the bottom three locks of the Curdworth Flight and moored outside the "Dog & Doublet" pub for first-night dinner ashore. Noted that a lot of weed clearing has been done over the winter. Beautiful sunset .

3.49 miles 3 locks 1.85 hrs 3.51 lmph

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