I am working very hard physically but I cannot sleep because I am thinking about the next day.

After mooring yesterday, I took a short walk into town to visit “Mr Wetherspoons”, when I got back to the boat a 60 footer was trying to moor In front of me where plainly there was no room so to be nice I untied my boat and moved it.  They were the last boat up the locks that night, the reason I am mentioning this is that as no one had gone down in theory all the 21 Locks should be in my favour if only I could get away first in the morning.  I was so hung up on that that I did not sleep at all.  The difference between 21 Locks in you favour and 21 not is physically more difficult and takes about twice as long. So I was off while it was just before dawn with my torch picking out the lock.. in I sailed no problem. 

Not light yet at Lock 1
Windlass too long for these locks

Out the other side and I opened the next lock to sail in only to find my boat was stuck firmly aground.  I pushed, pulled tried levering it with the gang plank all to no avail.  Resigned to waiting for a boat to come along and drag me off I called Susan who just said “open the lock above and let the water flow into the pond” bloody genius now why didn’t I think of that?

Boat grounded

While I was following her instructions a man from the CRT came along and said he did this daily so two things: if I had been later there would have been no problem.  He then cheered me up enormously by telling me on Tuesday and Thursday there are volunteers to do all the work for you…. So, what happens on Wednesday?

You do it all yourself F**k.

I was the only person on the locks so while I emptied my lock with the boat in it I could move to the next lock and get that ready so much faster than doing them one at a time.

Next Lock open ready for me to sail in

It was still tough climbing in and out of the boat jumping back onto the roof to sail it out then walking back to the lock to close the gates.  It took me about 3 hours to get down but after that no more locks for a while.

At the bottom

I turned right as instructed and followed the canal until I came to a very unusual stretch.  It was probably about a mile long and like a single-track road with passing places very tight fit even for my small boat.  The itinerary describes it as a “single channel carved out of rock with no room for two boats”

Certainly no room for two boats

I pottered on until I came to a pub and decided that I had done enough for today.  Walked into the village to do some shopping and popped into the Anchor Inn for a couple of pints.

Not bad

Back to the boat for a little admin to check tomorrows route… now I really don’t know how this happened but I missed my turning, yes travelling at 3-4 mph I went straight passed my left turn onto the Shropshire canal.  Oh well not too catastrophic its only 2 miles back and there is a winding hole right in front of me, it could have been a lot worse.

Next turned on the bilge pump and a little disturbed with the amount of water coming out but looks like the stern valve grease is empty, a nice messy job filling that to end the day. 

Messy Job
As my brother is joining me “Squadie shower”

Now it time for a couple of rums and a very early night.  No rush tomorrow I’m way ahead of schedule and need to arrange where to pick up my brother.

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