Tuesday, 7 July 2015

On to the Bratch

We did well to sit tight yesterday, as the weather continued to be pretty wild at times. Boats kept arriving and mooring for a bit and then leaving again, though the unconverted working boat we'd tied behind stayed put. Later on, hireboats, mostly Napton Narrowboats, would turn up and keep going, presumably heading for pubs further down the cut. Finally, an ABC boat, crewed by Norwegians according to their flag, arrived and tied ahead of us, said crew later going off to the pub.

We carried on lurking indoors and making our own entertainment without benefit of the internet. A prompt start this morning in chilly but otherwise pleasant conditions saw us working down Wightwick Mill, Wightwick, Dimmingsdale, Ebstree and Awbridge Locks. Dimmingsdale is one of the most pleasant locks situated on this or any other canal, always a pleasure to visit even if, like several of the others, the gates badly need some attention.

There's a coal yard at Awbridge right by the cut and a whole gaggle of working boats were waiting there. John Jackson's Roach was already loaded and floating well down – about 25 tons and a foot of side, I'd guess. It's a pleasure to see a carrying craft like that, ready to do the job it's meant to do, once you've persuaded yourself it's not sunk, that is...

Sheila had managed to get a washload going between locks and it was just finishing off as we arrived at the top of the Bratch. I stopped early, expecting the scanty visitor moorings still to be busy as it was barely ten, so chose a spot opposite the nets of the cricket club. This meant an encounter with some ferocious nettles to get the chains through the Armco. Sheila, who'd been a bit sceptical about the need to stop so soon, walked on after we were tied and came back to report no boats at all on the moorings above the locks.

Heigh ho, serves me right for being rude about her mooring choices last time we stopped here :(

After coffee we took a stroll to the locks to see what was going on. Not only were the visitor moorings empty, they'd been extended to include the former long term ones, so there's a huge choice now. Mind you, a lot of the length lacks rings and has a hard edge, so you'd have to be a bit desperate to use them.

The weather has continued very unsettled, so it's been another afternoon inside. Sheila had a load of stuff to do now that we had access to the outside world once more, some financial and some to do with the early arrangements for the Braidbar Owners' Weekend, whilst I had a session adding entries to the Pub Guide. I'm about halfway through the seventeen that I've got to do.

I've also been making bread again; it's good to get back into the swing of doing that. Wholemeal and six seeds this time.

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