First Mate did her impression of a horse (easy) and held the bow of the boat hard against the towpath. We made it with no scratches, but it was a close shave.
The weather was good in the morning and, it being Saturday, everything was very quiet. There are so few boats on this part of the canal system that it adds to the general air of sad neglect.
But the few people we met were friendly and courteous, asking us all about the boat and our destination. However, the stories that abound about the outskirts of Birmingham scare many boaters off completely.The Ashted locks were easy and they led to another 6 locks: the much deeper locks of the Camp Hill flight. The last boat through had, conveniently for us, left all the bottom gates open, so we could just go straight in and Captain could whizz up the ladders and do the rest.
|A Flower Wall on the sides of one of the Camp Hill locks|
This trip, our journeys have been taking much longer than our route planner (CanalPlan) suggested. I realised that there are many lock flights on this trip, and their decreased times for locks in a flight (8 minutes is their default) is not really going to give any advantage when there are two of you (and no cycle). So I have changed this figure to the same as a single lock (12 minutes).
Catherine de Barnes was our stop for the night. Another rainy evening though, and we ventured out for a walk round the village and saw the local pub which trades on its canal connections. However, it does not allow dogs inside and so we stayed aboard and ate Spanish tortilla and giant couscous.
The next three nights we have doggy pubs planned.