Today was a complete contrast to yesterday, weatherwise. This morning was miserable and wet; the rain was never particularly heavy, but it was still capable of making you quite wet. Tatenhill Lock is still pretty, even in the rain.
We stopped at the water point below Barton Lock and started a wash load. When we were ready to go up, a boat from the moorings above was almost ready to come down, so we waited for them. At Wychnor Lock, the lock landing is set back, as there's a road bridge in front of the lock.
Before Alrewas, we had our last encounter with the River Trent, as it crosses the canal here, meaning this section can sometimes be closed when the river is high. As I've said before, the weir is better protected today than it was in the 1960s, when my parents and uncle and aunt apparently almost went over it.
There are some nice houses in Alrewas, and there were also lots of spare mooring places; previously when we've been through it's been pretty packed.
Above Bagnall Lock we, as expected, found Bruce and Sheila on Sanity Again. We gave them a toot, and they came out for a chat as we hovered alongside. We had enough time to catch up on the big news from the Braidbar owners' weekend.
At the locks up to Fradley there was plenty of traffic, so we found boats coming out of locks so that we could go straight in, and boats then arriving to go down. It meant the locks passed pretty quickly. We spotted Nev's boat, Percy, on its mooring at Hunt's Lock. We moored above Keeper's Lock, where the moorings were almost empty, and walked up to the junction. There we found James and Donna, lately of Boating Leisure Services, and now joining the Braidbar team. They're moving their boat up to Higher Poynton, so it was great that we bumped into them and could have a chat. They then headed up to the next lock, while we went to the Kingfisher Cafe for lunch.
As we walked back past the junction a boat was just going down Junction Lock, so Adrian stayed to help while I walked down to bring Briar Rose up.
Once up the lock we turned left onto the Coventry Canal (although the bit from there to Whittington was actually built by the Trent and Mersey Company, and the bit from Whittington to Fazely was built by the Birmingham and Fazeley Company). Adrian walked round and swung the little bridge out of the way.
Then comes the long lock-free section -- although it didn't seem short of excitement. A boat pulled out of King's Orchard Marina in front of us, and we followed it through the moorings before Huddlesford Junction. At the junction, there was a bit of a squeeze with a boat coming the other way, which took a bit of time to sort out. The canal through Whittington always seems to be problematic. Some of the bridges are close together, there are moored boats on both sides, and you always seem to meet boats at the most inopportune moments. It certainly happened today, and that half mile or so felt as though it took an age.
Between Whittington and Hopwas I was rather taken by a field of yellow and purple flowers. It would have looked even better in sunshine.
We carried on to Hopwas, and moored just south of Dixon's Bridge, at nearly 5pm.
16 miles, 9 locks. (303 miles, 144 locks)