We decided not to leave Stratford until the afternoon of Monday (August 22nd). This gave some time for shopping. The weather was again bright and sunny. It was quiet along the river until about 10 o’clock when the visitors started to arrive.

At the water point at Stratford-upon-Avon

By the time we left (1 o’clock) it was heaving. Our passage through the Barge Lock into the basin was watched by a large crowd – locking in goldfish bowl.

In contrast, after we passed under the very low bridge that marks the start of the canal, all the crowds had disappeared. The entrance to Lock 55 was very tricky. We got under the very low bridge and then discovered a boat coming down the lock. We backed up and waited. After the boat passed us, we went again under the bridge but this time we went solidly aground. It took quite an effort to get us off. We were helped by group of people including Geoff Caine who runs canalscene.com. (Have a look at his site.) We finely made into the lock after two attempts.

The passage up the first few locks was also tricky. At one lock the bottom gate refused to stay closed and managed to stay open even when the top gate paddles were opened. We left a message about our problems on the gate for Jim and Mary who were following. They thought it was amusing. When they passed through they managed to get three passers-by to hold the gate.

Signs of National Trust Ownership a lock-side sign near Wilmcote

The bright sun stayed. As we reached to top of Wilmcote Locks we looked for a mooring and managed to squeeze into two places at the visitor moorings by Bridge 59. There was quite a happy crowd there. Bridge 59 is course famous in the restoration of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal. It was that bridge that caused the local authority to seek permission to abandon the canal for navigation back in 1958. The famous struggle to ensure that it survived then began. Tomorrow rain is forecast and we hope to get to Kingswood (or there about).