Saturday, 14 April 2012

A Very Short Boating Day - Wheaton Aston to Stretton Aqueduct

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

GUCCCo "Royalty" motor "Prince"
We had arranged to leave "Sickle" just a couple of miles further on, so the remainder of the boating part of this phase of Sickle's big adventure was soon over,  with just a single lock, and nothing of note other than several converted or part-converted ex Grand union canal Carrying Company narrow boats.  We saw butty to motor conversions "Rigal" and "Cetus", the latter on the move, as well as the massive Royalty motor "Prince" - and I think I have trouble stepping up on to Sickle's counter!

Approaching our final lock at Wheaton Aston.
To add to the working boat theme, we were to moor where our friends Sarah and Jim keep their "Big Woolwich" pair "Chertsey" and "Bakewell", and were instructed to breast alongside the immaculate ex Felllows Morton and Clayton motor boat "Plover".

We had not been sure whether Sarah and Jim would yet have returned with "Chertsey" from the Historic Boat Owners Club gathering at Droitwich, so it was a pleasure to find them back.

Passing "Cetus" - Once an unpowered butty boat.
From my perspective, the next (considerable) bit of the day is best glossed over,  We decided someone should get all the way back home by a combination of bicycle, and multiple trains, but the on-line train timetables were impenetrable, and unbelievably the Trainline, National Rail Enquiries and London Midland sites all yielded different information, both about times and prices - on the face of it it could have cost approaching £150, but should have been possible for only about £17, if sticking to slow trains.  The reality proved even less helpful as you tried to make an on-line booking - you can arrange to travel from the nearest station, Penkridge, or you could, if it were possible to pick tickets up there - which it isn't.

I did get home eventually, but the complications meant an extra hour spent at New Street, and by the time I arrived back, I was truly knackered, even though the run up the M1 and M^ had not been too bad!

However Cath had a meal ready on arrival, and I was told that we were on for a final pub trip!  I drove us, plus Sarah and Jim to a pub in Brewood.  We had seen a lot of friends on this trip, and it was icing on the cake to spend our final evening afloat in the company of some more.  Tomorrow we would have to drive home, and boating would sadly be over again for a couple of weeks.

Wheaton Aston
Miles: 1.8, Locks: 1

Totals for extended trip....
Miles: 221.6, Locks: 148

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