Saturday, 9 April 2016

It's always hard

That first full day's boating after the winter break is always hard work. Despite getting lots of walking whilst we're at Mercia, it's not the same as locking and steering. In addition, we've set ourselves to do around six hours a day this trip, double our normal ration.

So it's very quiet in the boat this afternoon...

Sheila did one of her early morning starts, rising just after six, taking the hound out and sorting the boat for cruising whilst I made a cup of tea. The Willington pound has been low all winter, I'm told as a result of a leak somewhere downstream, and Sanity Again was hard aground. Sally was by now snuggling with me on the fixed double but the combined effect of the engine noise and the grinding underneath as Sheila unstuck the boat sent her scurrying through to Elanor on the dinette. She lay on the outside, unusually for her, presumably in case the order came to abandon ship.

By half seven we were all more or less fully functional. I steered so that Sheila could eat breakfast and handed the helm back as we chugged through Burton. Elanor, Sal and I did the six locks to Alrewas, where we arrived just after one o'clock. The river section was just in the green on the level board but with a strong flow. Sheila reported achieving 3 mph at 1400 rpm, at which engine speed the boat would be making around 6 mph through the water, implying a flow of 3 mph.

It doesn't sound a lot, but the stopper wave below the weir is pretty impressive.

After lunch, Elanor and I walked into the village to buy meat at Coates and some bits and bobs at the Co-op.

Tomorrow, we plan to get right through Rugeley and tie at Taft Wharf, aka the pig farm. That'll be another eight locks, then...


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