Saturday, 12 May 2018

A peaceful mooring, mostly

Our mooring last night was one of the best. It's one of the few we've used in the past years that has no road noise at all, not even in the distance. It used to be that there were quite a few such on the rural canals, but the steady expansion of the motorway network has reduced their numbers considerably.

So the main source of row outside the boat (apart from bicycles hurtling by) was the birds. There was one, in particular, whose startling call was familiar but caused us both to have the equivalent of a tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon for it. In the end, Sheila cracked it. It was a green woodpecker earning its alternate name of yaffle. The sound really is quite unmistakable, the closest we have in the UK to a laughing jackass, but more urgent. There's a good example of it here.

With only a couple of hours run contemplated today, we made a leisurely start and got away just after 8.15. I walked to Gothersley lock and worked us up, then on to Rocky similarly. Both were empty, so it didn't take long, though they are deep locks. I then rode a little way before hopping off again at Flatheridge Bridge and walking on to Greensforge. This was our last chance for water for a bit, so we stopped on the service point and filled the tank. Good pressure here, so the answer is to use either Greensforge or Kinver and avoid Stewponey.

At Hinksford Lock, Sheila wanted some exercise, so I took over steering for the last stretch to the visitor moorings at Swindon whilst she walked. There were a few boats tied just before the 48 hour moorings, but we are the only one using the restricted section.

After lunch, we took a short walk up into the village, bought a loaf of bread and checked out the chippy. We're planning to have some of the doubly recommended fish and chips tonight, yum.

Tomorrow, it's Sheila's turn to do the work as we put in a solid day up Swindon, Marsh, Botterham Staircase, Bumble Hole and the Bratch. We plan to stay a couple of days there – it's a good spot for blacking the gunwale as the towpath is comparatively low.

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