Clare nipped back to the shop to get some bread for lunch before we set off. By the time we got moving, the morning was nearly over. The day was again cold and grey so we didn’t feel we’d missed much. The lock at the edge of Alrewas drops on to the river section of the canal. We’d walked up to see it yesterday and also gone across the long bridge over the River Trent that forms the towpath.
At the far side of the bridge a footpath headed off in to a field at the side. We decided that was not a route for us just now.
The river section had been trailed by a series of large yellow notices with variable signs saying “Proceed with Caution”. Today we saw that the one at the lock itself had been updated to say “normal conditions” and the depth indicator was clearly showing green. It seems the updating of the more distant signs isn’t given high priority.
The river and canal run together for about quarter of a mile before the river flows over a well protected weir. The flow was noticeable, but not significant. The flood plain was peaceful and pretty with the towpath running along a series of smaller bridges alongside us.
The lock at the other end of the flood plain by contrast was right against the side of the A38. We were alongside this busy road for a while until we reached Barton Marina where we’d planned to stop for pump-out and diesel. We moored up and Clare went to speak to the office. Told that it was lunch break, we decided to have ours too. We saw a cormorant catch its lunch in the marina while we were still having ours. We were still eating when the the boat started moving as service had started.
We set off again and soon reached another lock. This had an unusual red ended gate arm. The adjoining bridge had been widened and the lock geometry remodelled, including moving the handle on the lock arm. Most locks have gate arrangements that require caution and agility to avoid injury. I fear there may be an unpleasant story behind this decorative choice, I hope its just an over-zealous health and safety officer.
At the next lock we saw a couple of workers clearing up around the lock. One of them came to help me shut the gates and proudly told me he had just greased all the gear. I was happy to tell him that I had noticed they were particularly smooth running.
We moored up in Branston Water Park. This is a large lake that reminds me of the flashes near Wigan. The water birds don’t seem quite so numerous or exotic. We are still quite near the A38 and some large quarries, but tonight’s mooring is very peaceful except for some geese honking.