Saturday 1st August 2009
The poor weather we have had recently has continued today. It's nice now as I type this at dusk, but we had some foul weather for our journey.
We started up the Hatton flight at just before 9:00 am, it was already drizzling and intermittently rained quite heavily. Alan and I continued our regular swapping of lock winding duties, changing every five or six locks. Shortly after I had taken over at the helm a man from the bank shouted that he often saw women working the locks, and men steering, but it was unusual to see a woman steering. Is it really so strange? If a man is more experienced at steering then it is natural for him to continue - if there are any problems then you want the more experienced helmsman. However, how is the woman going to get more experienced if she doesn't steer? What if she has to steer sometime? And how about the man getting some exercise occasionally?
I love this old BW van near the top of Hatton.
We worked up alone, and met only a few boats coming down. We finished the flight of 21 in about 2 hours 45 minutes.
Just after the top we passed Tawny Owl - where Richard had left us a message in his window! It is really nice to know that some people are keeping tabs on how far we've got.
Leaving Shrewley tunnel - not long after the top of Hatton.
We decided to take the Knowle route into Birmingham (instead of turning left and going through Lapworth), largely because we've never done it before, so we did several lockless miles and then the flight of 5 close together locks at Knowle. I'm told that this is a very beautiful flight - I didn't really appreciate it. Somehow the rain started in earnest just as we started the flight and I didn't have time to get my waterproof boots on, or my rainproof hat before I found locks being got ready. I had soggy feet and cold water running down the back of my neck. My glasses had to be abandoned as I could see even less through them than I could without them.
Not a happy bunny. For the life of me I can't see why they'd left the front doors open!
We stopped very early for us, almost feeling guilty for stopping by 4:00 pm. However, we have been advised that moorings further into Birmingham might be a bit disrupted on a Saturday night. We'll do the whole run into the centre of Brum tomorrow in one go.
We are currently in the fields, not far above Knowle locks, surrounded by the countryside, birdsong, and with a beautiful pink and orange sunset.
Miles: 11.8, Locks: 26 Total Miles: 90, Total Locks: 96.
Scenes from the museum
14 hours ago