We were awake pretty early this morning, and I popped down to the nearest post box to send a couple of things. I've found a great website, which lists where every post box in the country is. While I was there, I went to the village shop and bought this month's Canal Boat as our subscription copy hadn't arrived before we went away.
We set off at 8am, with Adrian turning immediately from the Grand Union onto the little arm which links it to the Stratford Canal. Then there's a choice -- straight ahead for the locks to the south (although you can actually turn north if you want), or into the lock to the right to go north.
We had to turn the next couple of locks, then met a boat coming down. In the main part of the flight, from locks 14 to 8, the locks were empty, and most had their gates open, which made life a lot easier. The pounds between the locks are very small, so meeting a boat means someone has to get out of the way -- particularly if it's one of the pounds on a bend. The volunteer lock keepers we met told me it's not usual for boats to get jammed together in the small spaces!
The prettiest lock is possibly number 7, with a cottage alongside. It's another one on a bend, which makes getting in there quite tricky.
The volunteer lock keepers helped us up to lock 6, after which there's a long pound before the final four locks (the top one is lock 2, because lock 1 is the disused guillotine lock at the junction). Just the 19 locks today -- the lowest daily total for the trip so far! But we've also done two lift bridges. The first was ridiculously hard work -- more than 30 turns of the windlass to raise it, and it seemed like even more to put it back down again. The second one was easier.
It's been decidedly chilly today, although it warmed up a bit when the sun made the odd appearance. In spite of being through the outskirts of Birmingham, long parts of the North Stratford have a very rural feel, and there are some lovely oak, alder, and hazel trees lining the edges.
At Shirley, Adrian went to operate the electric drawbridge, holding up a few cars in the process. They couldn't wait to get going again once the bridge was down.
Adrian had another work conference call this afternoon, so we've moored up opposite Lyon's boat yard at Warstock. While Adrian was on the call, I went and found the shops, and bought a few fresh veg etc from the sizeable Co-op. Tomorrow, we'll either do a short day or a long one, depending on what time we get to the top of the Tardebigge flight, and how we feel at the time.
10 miles, 19 locks. (31 miles, 62 locks)