Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A much easier day

(Boat Flamingo - posted by Cath)

Like many places we have seen Minworth is going up market.
We woke up tired after the exertions of the previous day, but the prop was still fouled, so we tied the back of the boat on a slack rope, then Cath held the back out from the bank with a mop, while Alan fossicked underneath with the boat hook.  He managed to remove a bit more of the foul, but it was clear that there was still some down there - oh, for a weed hatch.  It was decided that the foul would be unlikely to cause any problems as most of it was now gone, an we needed to get on, so after breakfast, and checking everything we set off back towards Salford Junction, only a few hundred metres.

New housing is on the site of the Cincinnatti factory, and has cut its name half.
At the junction there is a very sharp right turn, which proved to be difficult for a boat as long as Flamingo, but we were eventually heading along the Birmingham and Fazeley towards Fazeley Junction.

Curdworth tunnel  - small in most dimensions.
Our discussion the previous night had been whether we had had enough time at the bottom of the Perry Bar flight to reach somewhere considered 'safe'.  One of the problems with large cities is that there are areas where it is not a great idea to moor, in case you attract the unwelcome interest of some locals.  We were not sure where the first 'safe' mooring was considered to be, nor whether we had time to get there.  We had two hours to sunset, and dark doesn't fall until a little later - we had perhaps two and a half hours.

The Curdworth flight is kept very tidily and well maintained.
The first locks are the spread out three locks at Minworth - and right next to the top lock, which used to be considered an unpleasant place with disused factories, there is now a development of 'executive' homes.  I can see this place being considered 'safe' in the future.  Two locks further down we found a perfectly acceptable mooring, two hours from Salford Junction - we would have had time to make it.

In the Curdworth flight, eleven locks in total.
The day was chilly at first and a little windy, but it was sunny and bright, and it felt a perfect antidote to the depressing day we had had the previous day.

Curdworth locks were very pleasant, we got a bit of a boost from a volunteer lock keeper who helped us through locks 4 to 6, while Cath went on and set some more locks.  The dogs were in their element, trotting along the towpath in the sunshine.  By the time that we got to the bottom of the locks the sun was shining warmly and we had shed all coats and scarves, and considering shedding jumpers.

Distinctive foot and seing bridges at Drayton
At Fazeley Junction we realised just how tired we were feeling, so moored up for a little while we spent some time on the outside of the boat which was looking very uncared for.  Alan polished brass, and Cath scrubbed the roof.  Then on to Glascote locks.

Glascote bottom lok.
Soon after that is Alvecote Marina, and the Samuel Barlow pub.  We arrived and tied up at much the same time as the previous day - about 7:30, but feeling very different about things.  The previous day had felt like a struggle from beginning to end, while this day was sunny and perfect for boating through the English countryside.

Sadly work seems to have stalled on "Sickle's" twin "Theophilus".
We went for a meal at the Samuel Barlow, and were joined for a drink by our friends Tracy and Rod, and were pleased to hear good news about Rod's recent health problems.  Then off to bed.

Star City, Birmingham to Alvecote Marina
Miles: 15.7, Locks: 16
Total Trip Miles: 115.3, Locks: 133

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