Well it's fast forward time as the more upto date I think I'm getting with my blog the further back I seem to get. So here we go, we're setting off from Stratford-on-Avon on a whirlwind trip of our last 26 days during which time we've cruised for 38 hours, yes we've busted all our records and have averaged an hour and a half a day compared to our more leisurely hour a day, during which time we've covered 61 miles. This trip has been a bit lock intensive though, having done 101 of the buggers, although largely singles and quite a few on close flights that speed things up. In terms of lock miles per hour we've managed 4.26 compared to a normally recognised 3 so we've cracked on pretty well.
For the non boaters out there, a lock mile in cruising terms gives you an idea of how long a stretch of canal will take you to travel along it by simply adding the number of miles and the number of locks then dividing that number by three. So a simple example (so I don't need a calculator) would be that if you planned to travel for 3 miles during which you'd encounter 9 locks then you'd do 3+9 = 12 and divide that by the rule of thumb 3 lock miles per hour 12 / 3 = 4. The 4 being the number of hours you'd expect to take to travel those three miles and nine locks. Just having checked my log, our average annual lock miles since we set off on our journey in 2012 have been 2.7 in 2012, 2.7 in 2013, 3.0 in 2014 and 3.9 so far this year.
From the above you'd have now learned three things. Firstly lock miles, secondly that I can do 3+9 / 12 without a calculator and thirdly and more importantly is why I can't get up to date with my blog as at the top of the page I was promising to set off from Stratford-on-Avon on a whirlwind trip, yet I don't even seem to have got as far as casting off!
Anyway, we're off this time (honest) and a few pictures from our trip up up the Stratford-on-Avon Canal.
Pretty distinctive bridges on this canal and although you probably can't see by the photo, both halves of the bridge raise up (or would have done in the olden days) that I've not seen elsewhere on the system we've been on so far.
Me on solo lock duty as David Baily's at it again. Shouldn't complain though as my blog starts out with Nicky's camera to choose the photo's around which I then base it.
Oh bloody hell, I've got to make a decision, don't like them, but hang on, memory to the rescue, we've been to Warwick, so problem averted, it's left to Birmingham for us and up the Grand Union Canal.
We'd moored on the outskirts of Birmingham with the plan of travelling through it in the one day and some eight hours of cruising and no, I wasnt looking forward to the prospect of a normal weeks worth of travelling in one day. Luckily spoke to a boater though who had just come through and told us about a 'secure' Canal and River Trust mooring point next to Star City near Salford Junction. 'Secure' as in a chest high gate that some lads vaulted over that evening and hung around, but we weren't leaving the boat unattended so no problem there. The Boys gave them a good old barking at and whereas we'd normally tell them to keep quiet we just let them get on with it. It was a useful stopover though that split our travelling into a five and a three hour day that was a bit better.
So we're now on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal and aiming for Fazeley junction that we've passed through before but on another canal so this will be an up and double back trip.
Looks like someone didn't have enough land, so built an extension, over the canal.
Through we go.
Whilst on this section of canal up to Fazeley there were quiet a few nice mooring points, the best of which was next to Kingsbury Water Park where there was hundreds of acres of lakes and plenty of walks for The Boys.
So fast forwarding as promised and we've made it to Fazeley Junction, doubled back and now back into Birmingham
We're on The Birmingham Canal Navigation's (BCN) now and oh bloody hell, what's with the signs and multiple multiple choice at that this time. Don't even recognise the names, just know we're keeping to the right so I guess we're going to Perry Bar and Tipton I suppose!
Slight digress here, although a bit related to this last point point of not knowing where I'm going, but a chap asked me when I was in a lock the other day where I was going. I thought about this question and simply pointed ahead of me and said 'that way'. Clearly not content with that as an answer he persevered and asked, but where are you aiming for. There was nothing for it, I was under pressure now, clearly had to come up with something better than 'that way' so consulted the Nicholson's Guide, found where I was, had a look what was ahead and said confidently 'Page 59' and that was the end of that conversation!
Digress over and now travelling under Spaghetti Junction as most have never seen it before.
Can't obviously do a blog without a couple of sunset photos, with this first one taken just a few miles further on from Spaghetti Junction.
And a final picture for this blog, travelling up the Rushall Canal section on the BCN having negotiated seven of the nine locks of this section with no or limited water and planning to moor up above the final two locks. And moor up we have for the last four days with fields with horses on one side and a yellow carpet of rapeseed on the other.
And so in signing off,
Day 808 in the Badger Sett Narrowboat - 1592 miles, 847 locks and 825 cruising hours further on from when we started.