Wigginshill Bridge proved to be a very good mooring - neither of us heard the road at all. The boat moored in front of us left before we were up; we set off at 8.15, which wasn't exactly late. There had been rain in the night, and the forecast was for showers. The sky certainly looked threatening as we reached Curdworth TopLock, which was relocated when the M6 Toll was built. We got wet a couple of times during the morning.
We like the Curdworth flight. It's pretty and very well kept, with number markers set in flower beds; only the sound of the M42, which runs alongside, spoils things a bit.
Once the locks were out of the way, we carried on to Fazeley Junction, where we saw more boats in a few minutes than we'd seen for days. As we approached the junction, two boats crossed in front of us; another did the same as we poked our bow through the junction bridge, and once we were on the waterpoint opposite, boats came from all three directions.
There's a new building site right at the junction, which wasn't there when we came this way on Debdale in November. We can't remember what was there before; we just hope that whoever moves in doesn't complain about all the boats! While Adrian filled the water tank, I went to the nearby little Tesco to top up supplies.
As there's still a danger that we'll arrive back at Brinklow early, we decided on a small diversion. Instead of turning right towards home, we went left, planning a night at Fradley. We stopped for lunch at Hopwas, pulling in just in front of Piston Broke, although there didn't appear to be anyone at home. The next section always seems to take much longer than it should. There were lots of boats coming the other way. Unusually, we didn't meet them at bridge holes, but many of them were at narrow places with people moored up, or on sharp bends. I felt like suggesting to one helmsman that they stand up to steer, in order to see over the roof. Another might have been able to see better without the pram cover.
At Streethay Wharf, the canal was temporarily blocked while they slipped a boat. This involves moving a pontoon out of the way, so that it drifts across the canal. The wind was strong just here, so we ended up being blown into the side of an open flat moored on the towpath.
With so many boats coming the other way, we hoped there would be space at Fradley. There wasn't, however. Adrian checked below the lock as well (we would have reversed down the lock if necessary), but that was full too. So we decided to wind in the junction, and head back. Fortunately, with quite a few people sitting outside The Swan, the turn went very well, in spite of the wind. Unusually, Adrian had the camera.
We decided to stop just off the end of the official visitor moorings. We're using mooring pins and there's plenty of vegetation up against the windows, but it's fine. The side hatch is on the water side, and Adrian has had great fun feeding a clutch of large-ish ducklings which came visiting.
18 miles, 11 locks. (174 miles, 195 locks)