With only a short run to do today, we had a relaxed start. I walked to the nearest post box in Gnosall Heath, and we set off at just before 9. Just a little way ahead was the Shroppie's only tunnel -- and it's just a short one at 81 yards. A CRT work boat was just mooring up on the offside, where there's work going on to repair the bank.
We stopped on the water point at Wheaton Aston and started another load of washing. This time the tap had good pressure, and we filled the tank to the brim. There had been quite a lot of activity at the lock while we were there, with boats waiting above and below. When we were ready to leave, Adrian went up to the lock and I joined brought the boat round. It seems a hire boat going up the lock had had top and bottom paddles open, and had been wondering why the lock wasn't filling. There were two day boats at the top of the lock to come down, and they went in together. They were from Copt Heath Wharf on the other side of Birmingham, and have apparently been bought by Norbury Wharf.
Once up the lock we had lunch, and passed Stretton Wharf and over the Stretton Aqueduct over the A5. At Brewood, the office of Countrwide Cruisers has been nicely repainted since we last came this way. The village always looks nice from the canal.
There was only one boat on the long stretch of moorings between Bridge 8 and Bridge 7, but we carried on to just before Bridge 4. There's a Shroppie Shelf here so the bow is way out.
It was only 2pm, but we haven't been idle. I washed the roof, which we've been talking about doing since the start of the trip; by then the engine had cooled enough so I did an oil change which was a few hours overdue. We couldn't find any record of the gear box oil having been changed for a while, so I did that too; it's a fiddly job, so thank goodness it doesn't have to be done too often. I also refilled the stern greaser while I was at it. A hire boat came in to moor in front of us, and ended up with their bow on the far side of the canal, so Adrian went to their aid and helped them get back on the correct side.
11 miles, 1 lock. (319 miles, 173 locks)