Today was our last leg coming back to the start of this small offshoot canal. It has been very pretty and at this time of year has had a great variety of wildflowers, and we were back moored at a stretch where I had noticed, rather unusually a wild rose down at water level. They had been buds when we moored here a few days ago but had now opened up.

Wild roses overhanging the canal

Also as it has warmed up this week we have seen more bees, butterflies and some damselflies out, as well as lots of brown insects I can’t identify.

A forkie tailie (earwig) emerged from a bit of coiled rope as I cast off this morning. We had plenty of time and so when Shane saw a church high on the hill, he asked if I wanted to visit it. From the canal it looked like it had an impressively large window facing south. We pulled in just beyond a bridge that would be our route to the church. We have only seen the underside of this bridge, which looks wide enough for cars, the usual humpbacked brick bridge, but would perhaps be just for farm and walkers access now. When we went to cross it I was surprised to find that clearly it wasn’t even for the use of cattle or tractors as it had steps. It was followed by a stile so clearly walking only allowed.



Very wide footbridge, very narrow stile

Once at the church, we found the doors locked so we didn’t get to see the grand window.  The church itself bears the same name as Edinburgh’s famous landmark on the Royal Mile. Shane drew my attention to an unusual fad for single gravemarkers for double graves with side by side engraving for families or spouses, rather than adding later deaths below the first name.


Smaller Saint Giles
Paired in memoria

We made it back to the Sandiacre to buy bread for lunch and this time we knew to moor on the other side to avoid such a complex set of crossings to to get to the shop. It was just as well as we managed to forget or make mistakes and ended up making 3 trips there to get almost everything we had hoped for. The swan on the bank was obviously used to boaters as it sat unperturbed as  we passed close, the lack of cygnets to protect may have made it more relaxed.

We didn’t meet any other boaters at locks though some passed going the other way, perhaps taking advantage of the long weekend, and fair weather as it was quieter earlier in the week. Other people enjoying the long weekend were a family whose canal side garden was hosting a large barbecue. The children waved to us and then carried on with  feeding the ducks, they had plenty of rolls for burgers going spare it seemed. They also had a rather novel way of displaying their flags.

Strange blossom on this jubilant tree

 Unsurprisingly there are more flags flying than usual, though quite a lot of boats (and a few houses) do have flags all year. This larger building always has a flag flying I would guess since they have a flagpole, but have enhanced their display with two much larger ones presumably just up for the occasion. The one on the flagpole was also reflected in their large windows. They had a rather nice boat planter which probably is there all year but was particularly colourful just now accompanied by the bright yellow wild irises (also known as flags), which are out in force along this canal.

There are flags and flags

We shared the load as usual of the locking and driving. The lock gates are very heavy on this canal and sometimes the balance makes them very hard to shift. Shane had to help me to close one  and another one I had struggled to close just reopened after I had closed it anyway. While on driving duty I saw this white clover that, like the wild rose, was going down towards the canal, rather than across the ground, or reaching up to the sky. It amazes me where plants will find purchase.


Canal Clover

Between locks and driving I have been trying to crack on with the knitting, and was frustrated to have to rip back when I spotted a mistake. The baby it is for was born yesterday so I feel a pressure to complete. I don’t think this requires grafting like my last project, the socks with wild flower colours in it. In a permanent mooring back at the start of the canal is a boat with a name we discussed when we saw it before. It looks like another retirement dream, but we mused whether it could also be an ex knitter or ex plastic surgeon. I can tell it hasn’t move for a while as the bright yellow water lilies, of which there are very many here, have grown around it.

Water lilies boxing in Dungraftin