We did a few last minute jobs and got Percy about ready (not all boxes got unpacked but I will do that later in the week. then it was a slight boat shuffle to release Percy from her dressing room out into the daylight proper.
Here is John the guy who has took so much care over the paint job over the last 8 weeks. He really did not want his photo taking - can you tell !
It was one lock up to wind in the pound - just, then with the help a a local lock wheeler called John we headed of to the junction.
Sunday was progress day.....Rachel was heading back down south Monday am and I was to bring Percy home so we tried to clear off as many locks as we could - certainly Botteram staircase and the Bratch.
The S&W is a beautiful canal and it was very quiet - lots of cyclists and walkers but few boaters. The lockies on the Bratch said we were just the ninth boat all day and we went through after 4pm. We pressed on stopping at Wightwick, clearing another three locks for me. Then it was a taxi ride for me back to Johns yard to collect Rachel's car and a drive back to the boat for a last supper before Rachel left in the very early AM....
Monday was true to the weather forecast - rain am. After seeing Rachel off before 7 I set to unpacking the rest of the boxes we had packed prior to the paint job, more chores then I set myself the task of putting a spliced loop in the centre line - wow am I dumb, it took me ages but true to my stubborn nature I mastered it. Well, looking at it now I think it is not quite right but it has held after hauling Percy out of quote a few locks today.
I will post another blog about single handling - respect to all those who do it all the time - it is really hard work and you have to concentrate !
I only met one boat prior to cut end....a small hire boat who kindly put a few scrapes onto the newly cosmastic'd gunnel as he tried to get into the lock while I was still coming out -tw@t .... he did not apologise, just had some sort of strange simple grin, hopefully embarrassment, I do try hard not to take issue, we all have to learn. As soon as I hit the northern S&W after cut end I started to catch up with NB Catherine, I was happy to stand off but another boat came off the Shroppie and appeared from nowhere behind me, how fast some boats travel, but then again I was catching NB Catherine to the point of having to hit neutral to allow me to keep a respectable gap.
He eventually slowed and indicated for me to pass, he did not look happy, but (see above) I was pleasant then I pulled over to let the boat behind me overtake !
I did pass the overtaking boat at Gailey as she had stopped for the day on a private mooring there.
Steady progress to the top of the Penkridge locks, when a combination of bad light and tiredness plus a healthy dose of common sense prevailed and I stopped for the night.
Leia had her tea and crashed out ..... she has been on the back with me all day, loyal hound or what !
Tomorrow looks like the reverse of today, dry start rain from 1pm ish
CanaPlan AC says...
Total distance is 10 miles, 4¼ furlongs and 7 locks. There are at least 4 small aqueducts or underbridges.
This is made up of 10 miles, 4¼ furlongs of narrow canals; 7 narrow locks.This will take 5 hours and 36 minutes
So I will be aiming for a first light getaway, destination Great Haywood... sunrise is 7.18am I'll aim for 7am - watch this space !