17th September 2016
No internet connection last night at Lowsonford which was our final stop for the day.
As predicted, it was a long day with many locks – 26 to be exact, but at least they were all single locks. It was extremely busy for the first 4 or so hours as there were many boats coming down into Stratford-Upon-Avon and of course many of us leaving the basin.
We headed off at 8.30am as needed an early start to get the locks and mileage under our belt.
We had teamed up with Tony and Sue on the Avon River for our last day there and had done the double locks together. They were also in the basin at Stratford-Upon-Avon for the same period as us and with only 48 hour moorings there, we both needed to vacate at the same time. So we both hit the locks together today with them slightly in front of us.
The locks were in clusters of three to five sets at a time. A unique feature of the Stratford Canal are the extremely narrow bridge openings and the slotted bridges. The slot allowed for the tow ropes to pass.
The history of the Stratford Canal is that it was built in in the early 1800’s but was never particularly successful as most of the trade went down the Birmingham to Worcester canal which we had done earlier with Nadine and Peter. This is where we had the huge Tardebigge flight of 33 locks that we descended. So if you go down a flight it means you must come up a flight which is what we are doing on the Stratford Canal.
A great break to the monotony of the locks was going over the Edstone aqueduct. It is a dramatic engineering feature at 28 feet high and 475 feet long. The aqueduct spans a river, roadway and double railway tracks.
There is not a lot between you and thin air!!!!
We pulled up for half an hour for a quick bite to eat and watched this gorgeous foal in the paddock with its mother. Dad was also there who was trying to be amorous but was being put in his place rather sternly with a hoof to his side.
We went over another minor aqueduct and stopped at the end of it for some much needed diesel and pump out.
We were a bit surprised as we headed off that we still had what we call the “poo lean” going so. After we pulled in at the end of the day further investigation showed that the young lad who did the pump out did not know what he was doing and £16 later we will still full of poo!!! Oh well, we will have to have another go tomorrow.
We spotted this kestrel on our journey. A lady had a book out trying to identify it and the closest we got was that it was a small bird of prey.
Another unique structure to the canal are the quaint lock keeper cottages. They seem to think that they were this shape because they were made from the wooden frames that were used in the construction of the brick road bridges which span the canal.
After 8 hours of cruising we pulled into Lowsonford for the evening across the canal from the Fleur de Lys pub. It is Saturday night so hopefully there will not be any wild happenings there tonight as we are both pretty shattered. Once we have tomorrow out of the way which constitutes 30 locks, we will have broken the worst that the Stratford Canal has to throw at us.