26th September 2016
Huge sleep in today with neither of us poking our noses out until 10.00am. It was wet and miserable weather and quite chilly for our final day.
Headed out with heavy hearts with heavy rain pounding down so Di and the pooches stayed inside and commenced packing up. There was a final flotilla of swans to say farewell to us.
Our two umbrella’s we purchased have been invaluable and today was no exception.
On our way around the system we have been collecting brass plaques of the canals and rivers we have been on as well as any of the inland waterway wonders we have done. We are probably missing about four altogether which we will have to purchase on-line.
The countryside around here is stunning and oh so green – wonder why. When we were stopping to do the locks the ground was so soggy underfoot that you actually sank down into it.
The weather cleared enough for us to allow the deck hounds up for their final hour of cruising. They have never been particularly happy when they have not been included on the poop deck as they guard nb Lucy with zealous energy barking at other dogs. Toque also has quite the issue with cows and horses and becomes extremely animated when we cruise past. They meantime just think she is an annoying gnat.
This sign denotes that we have half way along the Trent and Mersey canal which is significant to canal boaters. It is hard to see it but we are 46 miles from Shardlow and 46 miles from Preston Brook.
And there it is, home base of the town of Stone.
We had two final locks to go and this one is right next to The Star pub which we will frequent tomorrow for our evening meal as our larder is almost bare. We have done extremely well running everything down and the only item that we have not successfully finished is the Bailey’s Irish Crème. We will donate it to the cleaning staff tomorrow.
Approaching the final lock.
Closing the gates on the final lock.
Inside the final lock which just happens to be the deepest lock on the Four Counties Ring at 11 foot 6 inches.
The lock boy signing off.
Ground level view from Di as she was rising up the final lock.
Nb Lucy on her final stretch home.
And this is where it all started 18 weeks ago!!!
It has been an amazing journey and we have seen and experienced so much. We can only but recommend canal boating to all our friends as a way of escaping the rat race for a little while and to see the countryside of England from a totally different angle.
We will spend the next two nights in Stone as there is substantial work to do in packing up and need to take the pooches to the vet to get their fitness to fly certificates.
We won’t sign off from the blog just yet.
A few final statistics for you all :
Number of Locks: 624 – total number of locks on the system is 1,573
Number of Miles: 739 – total of miles on the system is 2,000
Engine hours ran 497 hours
Fuel used 606 litres
Number of Days on water 125
Locks averaged per day: 5.0
Engine Hours averaged per day: 4.0
Miles per day average 5.9 miles
Number of Canal plaques collected 25
Drownings or planned swims Nil
Scary moments A few
Weight gained by Di and Fras: Not for publication (but it’s a bit of a problem that will need working on in winter!)