Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Hopwas to Armitage - A Gentle Day

(Boat Chalice - posted by Alan)

Very pleasant lunch stop at Fradley.
We are getting up in the night, and again early, to ensure Odin doesn't have "accidents", and so far the strategy has worked 100%  However now all five of us, (3 people and one dog!), are sharing the same cabin space, it is fairly hard to do all this without people getting disturbed, (Odin sleeps just beyond the boys beds).

Odin during our lunch.

He can still look quite small.

Threading ourselves towards FradleyMiddle lock.
So although we are up early, the only one really feeling lively is Odin, and so far we are not tending to make very early starts - today was no different, and quite a few boats had already passed by the time we finally moved off.

Shadehouse Lock Fradley
We had a broad plan to make an extended stop at Fradley Junction, to use the adequate launderette facilities at the Black Swan.  It is easier to do this than try and deal with large amounts of wet washing on board.  We also thought the boys might prefer to use the land based showers there.  In practice on arrival at the Black Swan, we were told food orders were about to close, so just got our meal at the last available moment.   Very good it was, with the washing not ten feet away, so we could easily check progress.  The boys actually decided the on board showers were going to be fine, but we did need to refill the water tank - finding our second "slow" tap of the holiday, though not as "slow" as the one we used at Stretton stop!

It was not until late afternoon that we moved away from Fradley, tackling our first easy locks of the day.  It seemed a lot quieter than usual for the season - previously we have queued for the locks here.

Wood End Lock
We didn't want to push on late, and there was some confusion about where we might get to, so just short of Armitage we pulled over, and Cath went to a small local store for essential supplies.  After that we tackled the curious Armitage"tunnel" - actually once a tunnel but since having had its top removed.  This is a "no passing" section, where you can't see the other end before you enter, so best to send someone ahead, (mobile phones are an asset the boatmen did not have, though!).

Armitage "Tunnel" - no chance of passing here!
We were keen not to stop in one of the conurbations, or under the shadow of Rugely power station, but quickly found a very acceptable mooring opposite Hawkesyard Hall - exactly the sort of place that is typically a conference and wedding venue these days, and this one doesn't buck that trend.

Hopwas (Birmingham & Fazeley) to Armitage Tunnel (Trent & Mersey)
Miles: 14.0 Locks:3
Total Miles: 198.1, Locks: 71 (Worked)

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