Sunday 22nd September 2013
Wow! What a glorious day it's been.
We set off from Hopwas at about 8.30, the sky was a bit overcast but it felt fairly warm. After cruising for a few miles we passed a boat going the other way, the steerer yelled to us "Good luck at Huddlesford, it's a really tight crush!"
Didn't know what he meant, but oh well we'll find out when we get there. We did! There was a canal festival going on, and it looked interesting. The boats were moored three deep, leaving just enough channel for a boat to get through if all on board breathed in. Bends were very interesting, and required a bit of 'fending off'. I decided I wanted to see what it was all about, so we luckily found a very rare mooring slot and tied up.
The canal banks, both sides, were lined with boats, several of them trading in everything from cheese to jewelry to fancy ropework.
There was even a dog trial course.
A gypsy caravan display.
A spinning display.
After wandering the trade stands, I managed to resist buying all sorts of things, except a rhubarb pie for our tea tonight.
Later we set off again and arrived at Fradley Junction. Here there were the usual crowd of gongoozlers, watching the boats passing through the locks.
We stopped just before the swing bridge to take on water, and then after passing through the lock (note the gongoozlers) we aimed to stop at the services and then find somewhere for the night.
We were really in luck! As we pulled up to the service mooring, just on the other side was moored Ramyshome. We haven't seen Ray and Maureen for a couple of years now, we first met them in Wigan, some 6 or so years ago, and have passed them in several places since.
After yelled greetings across the cut, they told us that they were just casting off. Would we like their spot? Too right we would!. We arranged a quick swap to ensure that no-one jumped in, and off they went.
Later on, there was a knock on the boat and Ray and Maureen showed up for a cuppa and chat. They had just moved up the cut a bit and decided to come back for a proper chat as we haven't see each other properly for a few years now. We've passed and waved a few times, but never had a chance to stop.
Fradley is a very popular spot on the system, there's a fine pub, well known in biking (not cycling) circles. There is a steady stream of big bikes cruising up and down the road alongside the canal, which leads to the pub. Great sight and sound.
Here we are tonight