Tuesday 10 April 2018

Wootton Wawen

Today's Canal - Stratford

It was still raining when we awoke but by the time we were ready to set off it was quickly clearing. The day remained grey and chilly but at least it stayed dry.

We were not far from the next flight of three locks. At the second, Bucket, Lock, there is a short aqueduct just a metre or so above the top gate.

At the tail of the next lock is typical accommodation bridge intended to all farmers to have access to fields on both sides of the canal. When railways were developed, their companies often bought up the canals, sometimes with the intent of closing them down, The Stratford was bought by the Oxford, Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway which later merged into the Great Western Railway Co. Although the continued to have a statutory duty to maintain the navigation, it was during this time that it declined and almost disappeared. During that period of ownership, it became necessary to put up signs giving the limit of vehicles that could use it - up until then it was only the lighter horse drawn carts for which the bridges were designed. this sign is very typical - the name of the company has been partially lost in the broken off bottom corner. ...ern Railway Co is still visible.

A slightly longer pound intervened before the three Preston Bagot locks. A small river alongside the canal was looking rather energetic following the rain of the past few days.

The bottom lock was almost overwhelmed by the amount of water running over the canal weirs. A boat came up just before we arrived and they reported that they had difficulty with the bottom gate. We too stuck at our first attempt to get out. After trying to clear from behind the gate - not sure if we really did much good - and then having some help in holding the gate as open as possible - we eventually scraped through.

At Wooton Wawen we enquired about an electrician to look at our fuel gauge but they currently do not do any 'private' work as they have enough to keep them busy with their hire fleet! So we just had to carry on over the next iron trough aqueduct.

Not much further and we reached the Hill Farm Marina. We originally planned to arrive here ion Saturday but with changes of plan, combined with the weather, meant that we brought forward our arrival date. We held open the possibility that we might go out for a further short trip but it is a receding possibility. See what the girls would like to do.

Although there is still quite a bit of work to be done, the marina is slowly filling up - some of the expected arrivals have been delayed by flooding on the way. In any event, they make up for that with their friendly welcome.

After lunch we drove into Stratford to visit Morrisons to top up the stores and also to check out where Mike might be able to pick up Christine and Alice after their theatre visit on Thursday evening.

4.0 Miles - 6 Locks

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