Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Little progress, but some essential things achieved.

(Boats Chalice & Sickle - posted by Alan)

"Spirit of Phoebe" is remarkably narrow as well as short.
We have been operating with an outline plan - nothing we intend to stick to in a slavish way, but it is necessary with various events planned that we are making enough progress that we will be at certain pre-planned destinations by certain times.

"Sickle's" "twin" "Tycho" was at Stretton.
Up until now we have had not too much difficulty keeping up with any outline, and, if anything, have run ahead of it.  Today we did the opposite, and achieved far fewer miles than we assumed we might, (although this stretch of the "Shroppie" has only one lock in many miles, so that is the one bit that was not in doubt).

Reasons for slow progress today were......

1) We decided to walk into Brewood to find the small supermarket there, and top up on some essential supplies.

2) As a result of the late start resulting from (1), when we arrived at the single lock at Wheaton Aston, we ended up being (I think) boats number 6 and 7 in a queue waiting to go down.  Although people were fairly efficient, this meant an enforced wait of at least an hour.

3) (By far the worst). I decided that I could put off an oil change on "Sickle" no longer, so with the oil hot, we decided to delay at Wheaton Aston to do this.  In "Sickle" the arrangements for pumping out old oil are very poor, and as it uses about three times as much as "Chalice" does, it takes an age.  The oil filter is also a pig to change, being located in a fairly inaccessible spot.  The engine room was very hot, I was grumpy, and by the end of it had oil on most of me. (Thank goodness I was travelling with "Chalice" as well, so had access to a shower!).

4) As a result of (3), we realised we would not get to Norbury Wharf in time, where we had planned to buy diesel.  I therefore decided to reverse "Sickle" back to Turners at Wheaton Aston.  If I'm honest, it was not my best ever bit of reversing, and it all used up time.  Turners actually sells quite a lot of "boaty" type things at reasonable prices, and I came away having bought more than diesel.

Again very typical of this particular canal.
After all this we decided we might try and recover some time by pressing on to either Norbury, or even to High Offley, that sports one of the most "interesting" pubs on the system,

There are many long straight cuttings
In the end, though, we accepted that Gnosall, where we know the pub, would be reached sooner, and as I was knackered, decided if we could find a mooring, (or more accurately two moorings - often a bit harder!), that we would stop there.  We could find two moorings. so, after a fine meal, this blog is being composed over a few more drinks in the Navigation.

Not often both boats moving are in the same shot - unless tied together, of course!

Short tunnel just hewn through solid rock.
Tomorrow we will work harder, and catch up, (honestly we will!)

Brewood to Gnosall
Miles: 8.5 (Chalice), 8.5 (Sickle), Locks:2

Total Miles: 223.7, Locks: 93

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cath and Alan,
    I am following your blog with interest - we know the route from Great Haywood and down the Shroppie well as we currently moor for the winter at Overwater Marina.
    Not having gone right back through earlier blogs - where are you heading? The Audlem Festival of Transport?
    If you have time/interest, I run a blog of our travels with this link:
    Regards Anton


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