Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Another good night’s sleep!!! We waited for Sam and Lou to arrive at 12 noon had a bite of lunch then Sam left to go home and we set off at 2.15pm heading for the Hatton Flight – only 21 locks! Glad I have my little helper back.

More lovely countryside and then we arrived at the top of the flight.  Unfortunately these locks are as tough as the Knowle Hill flight.  The water level here seems really high and although we haven’t had any rain for a week or so it was flowing over the tops of the lock gates so even when the lock was in our favour I had to open the paddles to let a bit more in so the water levels could even themselves out to allow me to open the next gate. 
Lou did a grand job of opening and closing the gates behind Steve whilst I went ahead and set the next lock.  We did meet a boat coming up the flight that had a crew of four and one of the men came up to the lock to open the paddle so I said to him that this one was really easy – he said “is it?”  I said “yes it is for me as you are doing it”!  Even Lou left the opening to me as she is still suffering a bit with Steve’s cold – I’m bound to get it next week! 

Goodbye Turner's Green - what a beautiful day - blue sky and sunshine.

For me it would be Nanny Elsie.
Red tree!

Wonderful trees - look how many colours there are.

Through Shrewley Tunnel.

At the top of the Hatton Locks Flight - 21 to go!



Looking back up at the first three locks.

10 down 11 to go - we are stopping here for the night.

and this is what awaits us in the morning....the next 11!

Tuesday 29 September 2015

At last - I woke up this morning, yes this morning, not three times in the middle of the night because people were walking past laughing and talking at 2am, 4am and 5am!!!  I loved Birmingham but sleep better in the country!  We didn’t rush off this morning we just watched everyone else leave the moorings one by one!  I walked to the village which consisted of a few houses, a pub, a restaurant, a hairdressers and a Spar!

We left at about 12 noon and chugged through some lovely countryside, it’s hard to believe that we are only a few miles down the canal from where we came from yesterday – it’s like a different world.  We arrived at the top of the Knowle Hill flight of locks (five in all) looking down you can see for miles around – it probably helps that the sun was shining too.
Whilst the water tank was filling I strolled round to the boatyard and bought a couple of conservation keys so we can return Rob’s to him when we see him next. 

As we were about to leave a couple of boats were just appearing coming up the flight so we waited for them to come out and we went in.  It felt funny to be in huge wide locks again after all the singles we have been through over the past couple of weeks.
These locks were hard work – I started off in jeans, a t-shirt and a jumper and ended up in a pair of shorts and a light sleeveless cotton top!  Once at the bottom we were looking for somewhere to stop where there was a pub so I could give Lou an address for Sam to drop her back to us tomorrow.  As we left the open countryside the banks we were wooded again therefore it became cooler again so on went the jumpers and jackets again!

We stopped at a place called Tuners Green where there was a pub in a very pretty village but with no shops or anything else around except a couple of different weathervanes!  Another nice quiet, very dark spot!

Early morning cruise by - the working boats from yesterday.

Glad we are not leaving now and following them again.

My walk to the village looking back - you can just see us, the only boat left on the mooring!

Back our in the countryside.

Funny little boat that is obviously lived on.

And it's even got a lawn!

First lock at the top of the Knowle Hill Flight.

We've got our work cut out...

Looking over to the village of Knowle.

Look there's a weathervane on that church roof!

The June Rose looks small in these locks.

Last one to open - nearly there.

I wonder if we will ever do these locks again...

Horsey weathervane.

Chocolate box cottage.

Duck weathervane.

Stratford Canal - been there done that!

Looking at the channel that joins the Stratford on Avon Canal - a good few weeks ago I took a photo looking back the other way.

Turners Green Village - Tom O' The Woods Pub.

I told you I had seen a few weathervanes today.

There we are - quite little spot - I'm in for a good night's sleep.

I like this one and the sun is going down in the background

And another one!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Monday 28 September 2015

As usual when we have stood still for a few days we are always ready to get moving again!  We’ve loved Birmingham and have had no problems being moored right in the centre of town, except that it was extremely noisy at night - so for those of us that wake up to every little sound, a good night’s sleep is what is called for!

We have been told that when you leave Birmingham heading for the Grand Union you have to clear the outskirts of town to be able to moor safely so we got up early, emptied the loos, filled the water tank, made a quick visit to Tesco to grab some supplies and we were on our way by 8.10am.
Nice bright morning although it was still a bit chilly when we set off the sun soon warmed up and in the middle of the day it was lovely and hot, then as evening approached it cooled down again.

We got away in front of a couple of hire boats but had no sooner begun Farmers Bridge flight of locks (13) when we caught up with a couple of working boats loaded with diesel, coal and gas.  The first of which is engine powered but the second one is a butty that the first one pulls so when going through locks the butty has to be pulled by manpower!  Unfortunately they were also heading for the Grand Union so we followed them through the six locks on the Digbeth Branch and the six Camp Hill locks at the start of the Grand Union.  In fact when the first boat entered the first lock it was so heavy that it was grounding out on the cill so they had to off-load some of the weight in order to get it into the lock which caused a hold up of about an hour.  By this time there were about 6 of us waiting to get through the locks!
Once we cleared the locks they had a problem with their prop so we were able to pass them.  There were no more locks but we still had another eight miles to go before we reached our destination for the night.  As you leave the City centre you feel the mood change and whilst it is ok in the day time you wouldn’t want to moor overnight, once we cleared the outskirts the canal has high banks covered in trees so we were unable to see our surroundings and in the shade it was pretty cold.  We could hear Birmingham Airport which was only a couple of miles away, according to the book, but we couldn’t see the planes!  Eventually we turned the corner and arrived in a village called Catherine De Barnes where there are several moored boats facing both directions who have stopped here for the night.  We are in the Solihull area near Hampton in Arden.  We reached our destination at about 5.45pm.  A quiet night in and an early night!

Heading for Fazeley and there is another one of the glitter balls - they must have had a boat to put this here as this sign is on an island in the middle of the canal!

Saying goodbye to Birmingham.

Reminders of home (well work anyway!)

BT Tower from Farmers Bridge flight of locks.

Banksy or stensil?

Another reminder of work - it's just like being in the City!

Leaving the City Centre behind.

Shame about all the graffiti.

Steve leaving the windlass where he shouldn't...

I'm in this tunnel alone - Steve has gone ahead to set the lock.

That's Debenhams peeping out from behind the buildings!

There's the Grand Union on our left!

Anyone for a cuppa!

The working boats - stuck on the cill trying to get into the lock!

Some more "not sure what they are birds" - there were three caravans parked on this verge - when I took the photo I didn't realise they were feeding from a bowl - obviously being fattened up for dinner!

Berries and leaves.

Forming a queue - the boat following behind us through the locks - there are three guys on there - I bet it's cosy!

Homeward Bound.

A stroll on the towpath.

Haven't seen another boat coming the other way all day then when we do it is at a bridge!

Who needs a recycling bin when you have got the Grand Union - sad.

What are you doing up there!

Looks like young farmer Giles has come a cropper!

and back to civilisation!