Before we’d even set off this morning, we were diverted by a fantastic floral display on its way down the canal. One of the owners claimed he’d had to cut a line through to see where he was going. Apparently there are herbs and vegetables in there too.
Soon after we’d set off, I got Clare ready for the lock that was clearly marked on the map. I have used OsmAnd for navigating while cycling for some years now. It is usually very reliable, and turns out to have a useful boat mode too. I confess to being slightly puzzled by some of the details shown.
When we arrived, things became a little clearer. Yes there are lock gates there. Yes, they are in a field. No, OpenStreetMap does not need updating. That still leaves a whole load of other questions!
In the afternoon, we worked our way up the Stoke Flight to Etruria. In the summit lock we crossed with a boat that was even greener than the boat we’d seen in the morning. It’s sides were made of wood, and its roof appeared to be turf. It looked like a small country cottage that had drifted off down the canal.
Then the real diversion started. On exit from the lock we executed a nifty 180 degree turn in to the Caldon Canal. We have been told many times that this is a very pretty canal. We probably don’t have time for a proper explore, but we’ll have a wee nosey on the way past.
We soon found ourselves in the middle of a beautiful municipal park. There are mooring rings (“moo rings”) so we decided to stop for the night. The atmosphere in the park of kids playing and adults chatting, wandering and picnicking was lovely. Several different groups of people came up to talk to us and ask about the boat. After dark all seems completely peaceful apart from the occasional owl.