To Hopwas (May 3)

The weather had changed overnight. Although the new day was dry, it was windy and the temperature had significantly dropped. It was a little difficult leaving our moorings, because overnight Albert had gone aground (penalty of having 30 inches draught), but also because of the wind. We reached Colwich Lock about 9:30 and found that the ground paddle on the top gates was out of action. Given the density of boat traffic through this section, this probably caused delays later in the day. There was quite a lot of northbound boat traffic but little going our way.

When we reached the “opened-out” Armitage Tunnel a boat was coming south so we paused. In reply to the usual “anybody behind”, he replied “not for at least 100 yards”. Well that might have been true but when we got out of the narrow section, there were at least four boats waiting for us. One hire boat appeared to have particular trouble because of the moored boats by the Plum Pudding inn.

We passed the Armitage Shanks Sanitary Ware factory and then headed into the country. Although it was cold and windy at least the sun was shining. Knowing the difficulties that can occur at Fradley Junction over busy periods such as bank holidays we pressed on. Fradley was indeed busy, but not as busy as in August. It did however live up to expectations when a local resident at Shade House Lock had an argument with a boater who had not moved up on the lock moorings and in the wind had caused a hire boat to be blown across the canal. “Bad boatmanship” was among the words exchanged. To which the comment “get a life” was used in response. We have to admit that the local resident was correct and there was not much consideration being shown. However, the root cause of the problem is the paucity of the lock waiting area and the number of boats permanently moored close to the locks. Still it all adds to “life’s rich tapestry” as somebody is alleged to have said.

We turned into the Coventry Canal and found that we could not take on water without blocking the navigation because two boats had moored on both water points and the crews were not onboard. Perhaps they were in the pub oblivious of the problem, or perhaps they could not care less.

We had a pleasant trip through Streethay, Huddlesford and Whittington and moored up by Tamhorn Park Bridge near Hopwas.

Streethay Wharf

We went for a walk up the wooded hill into the Hopwas military area in the evening sunshine. Maggie had to be convinced that the red flags were not flying. The views over the Trent valley were impressive and the visibility was good. Later on the wind dropped and the canal became like a mirror. It will be cold tonight. Our coal fire is on.

Moonlight at Hopwas

Tonight the light on our O2 dongle is not showing green as it has for the past week, indicating the lowest level of GPRS, but tonight is showing lilac; the second level of connection - EDGE. There are two more levels before we get to HSUPA. I must admit that tonight our internet connection is quicker, but it is not very quick and even downloading emails is too slow. So once again no images. We have quite a backlog now.

Note images were added later.