Friday, 26 November 2010

Caldon 2010 - Goldstone to Brewood

Caldon 2010
Goldstone to Brewood
6th November 2010

19 miles - 1 lock - 7 hours

We awoke to find a strange yellow orb hovering over the Wharf Inn. We looked again and realised it was the sun - we hadn't seen it for a while. Not only was it sunny, it was mild and still - more like summer than late autumn.

Goldstone Wharf

Jackets and gloves were abandoned and we continued the servicing we had started in Nantwich, replacing the small drive belt and adding five litres of new antifreeze. I'm never terribly keen about contorting my 6'3"  frame into the tight confines of the engine bay, shuffling myself onto the swim and uncoiling my legs into the little gap by the engine mounts. Long practice has taught me to prepare all my tools and spares within easy reach because when I am in I have no wish to repeat the experience.

 Shebdon embankment

Replacing the drive belt has been a long time coming, I tried it in September but I couldn't get a 100cm item onto the pulleys. Instead I bought a 102.5 cm belt from Halfords which worked a treat. I take coolant seriously, particularly after last winter when I woke in the middle of the night with temperatures exceeding minus 12 and wondering how the engine was faring. It was fine as it turned out but now I am worrying that my mixture is too thick with antifreeze!

Grub Street Cutting

We were off at 10.30am with a low  sun shining in my eyes necessitating sun glasses - which elicited a few odd looks. There was very little traffic, boats being put off by the leaves in the canal which made progress difficult, particularly on the cuttings. Not that we were the worst effected. We passed a Norbury day boat in Gnosall which was revving away but making almost no progress - clearly no one had suggested reversing from time to time.

This autumn has been rich with Kingfishers, their electric blue plumage glinting all over the place as they tracked us along the canal.


We paused at Norbury to refill with diesel - 13 days running and 100 litres used - not bad. As its winter and the boat will be static for months I altered by declaration to 50:50. Whilst most of the leaves have gone the cuttings have retained a bit of colour, particularly lovely with the late afternoon sunshine streaming through the denuded branches.

Wheaton Aston at sunset

Daylight was failing as we passed through Wheaton Aston Lock but we really needed to be at Brewood for the night so we pressed on.  Light became a major issue by the time we reached Stretton Aqueduct after which we resorted to the tunnel light. I always feel boaters look at me like I am mad if I cruise by with my light on.

Wheaton Aston cutting

Brewood was its usual quiet self and as I write this entry the rain has set in again, gently drumming its tattoo out on the roof. Its nice the way the rain seems to confine itself to the hours of darkness.

Just one day left - sad.

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