Back to Calf Heath
If our trip along the Shroppie represented the sea trials, our return along the Staffs and Worcs from Autherley to Calf Heath was the time trial. Not that we were out to set any records but rather we just wanted to get an idea of how much extra time we would need to allow for regular trips.
The movement along open canal was fairly brisk, with the boat moving sufficiently fast to generate a trail of bubbles from the bows. This is a good indicator that we are approaching max speed on the S&W, so not far off the pace. The Pendeford Rockin was another matter altogether. Its always a slow process but with a butty adding drag it passed with glacial slowness.
Perhaps the best time trial was the stretch between the Fox and Anchor at Coven and the marina at Calf Heath. This is a very familiar trip and one we usually complete in 50 mins or so. With the butty in tow we managed the distance in a creditable 1hr 5 mins suggesting we need to add 10 to 15 mins for every standard hour. It certainly slows us down but not to an unacceptable level.
The arrival back at the Marina was always going to be something of a spectacle. All the guys knew we were coming and gave us a standing ovation as we swept majestically into the lagoon and straight onto our mooring slot as though we didn't have 5 or 6 tons of iron and steel hanging on our stern. In fact the butty very nearly did a perfect self entry into the mooring beside us which would have been great but for the fact that its someone else's spot!
So we moored Wand'ring Bark and I jumped onto Montgomery armed with the boat pole to push her to the designated mooring on the far side. As I stood on the bows, pole in hand I found it impossible to resist a loud rendition of "Just One Cornetto" but soon found it easier to control by poling from the hold. Ultimately we hope to get the boats into adjoining moorings but for now the craft sit apart and so it will stay whilst the renovation work is undertaken, ready for its first outing to the Birmingham Floating Market in late June.