Last night’s mooring had a “big sky” feel about it. The view across the canal was on to flat land and the sky dominated the view. Just before bed time I looked out and noticed that the sky had cleared considerably. One half of the sky was stars, the other was mottled cloud backlit by the moon. The photo as ever doesn’t do justice to the magic.
The morning was misty and murky. There were still plenty of boats driving past, but everyone was dressed up against the weather. After lunch the sun came out (briefly) and we stirred ourselves to get to the marina for diesel.
I’d noticed the wind was quite strong and blowing towards us along the canal. When we tried to set off it became obvious that it was also blowing us on to the tow path side. The usual trick in these conditions is to push the bow in to the channel and then run to the stern and drive off. Today, by the time I’d reached the other end we were back on the bank. Bow thrusters would have helped, but we had to use the old fashioned method – Clare pushed and then jumped on as I hit the throttle.
We were soon at the marina which is on the other side of the canal. To get diesel we needed to do two ninety degree corners. I decided to play safe and asked Clare to take the bow rope ashore as we went in. Once we were far enough in she then hauled the nose to the bank while I drove the back end in. At one point I feared she would run out of rope, but she managed to get it on a bollard in time. I’m sure I could have managed without the rope, but it was a lot easier with it.
With a full tank of diesel we then had to get out of the marina again. Turning round and getting to the exit was the easy part. As we exited on to the canal the wind was determined to send us back where we’d come from. You can’t start turning the front until the back has cleared the narrow exit. It took a bit of tactical reversing and a lot of power on the propellor to force the boat round without ramming the bank. We made it with a foot or so to spare.
We’d hardly gone any distance when we arrived at the first of the locks at Audlem. The view from the lock moorings felt like an artist’s impression of a canal.
We worked through two locks and then found an excellent mooring before the third. The weather for the afternoon was threatening more rain, so we had decided to have a better look at Audlem. If we didn’t stop here, we’d soon be committed to the lock flight ahead which would take the rest of the daylight. Shortly after there was heavy rain – we were glad we weren’t working locks in that.
The rain went off just as darkness was falling. We went to buy bread and milk, for a short explore. The village is small but has a large number of shops for a village of its size. Many of them were adorned with Union Jacks. It seems the large number of flags started to celebrate the millennium, but the village is now known for its flags so they have to stay.
We’ll probably do another shop and explore in the morning. We’ll head off up the locks if the weather looks promising, otherwise we might stay where we are for another day.