To date : 695 miles, 422 locks
We headed off this morning with plans made to meet up with Jen and Jude somewhere along the way. They took their hire car to our mooring destination at the bottom of lock 14 in Lapworth.... the stop lock from yesterday is counted as lock 1. The first thing to do was get through the lift bridge just beyond our mooring. It's always a bit daunting having to stop traffic at a lift bridge. This one has a waiting bay right in front of the bridge on both side so the boat can be there an waiting before you lift the bridge. It was easy to operate with a BW key and the press of a button.
We stopped at bridge 20 because our guide recommended the Wedges Bakery there. It was worth the stop and we picked up some goodies for lunch. It was extremely quiet on the canal and we'd not passed a single moving boat. It was one of the peaceful, green-lined stretches of canal that remind us of the reason we're here. We even encountered some cows wading on the canal edge. Mick slowed the boat to tickover and they just watched us glide by.
A little further on we had another lift bridge to deal with but this one was on a little private road. No need to stop traffic here. Just after we left it we saw a boat coming towards us..... the first for the day after nearly 2 hours cruising. Mick yelled out "Jen and Jude are on that boat!". Sure enough, they were. As they'd walked towards us, at a lift bridge they had offered to wind the bridge for the single handed boater. In return he'd offered them a ride until they met up with us. While he veered to the bank to let them off I walked back to the previous lift bridge to open it for him.
We moored up between that lift bridge and the next and had our bakery lunch. We had 13 locks of the Lapworth flight to tackle after lunch but with more crew than usual we figured they wouldn't take too long. No sooner had we started and Mick noticed the boat ahead of us was a single hander. He decided J&J had enough tuition and went off to help the boat ahead. He was a very grateful fellow who then walked back to help us with the last couple of locks after he'd moored up. He said in 10 years of single handed boating this was the first time someone had helped him at a lock flight! We moored for the night in the tree lined stretch between locks 14 and 15.
After an ice cream from the canal shop we decided to part ways for a couple of hours and meet at The Boat Inn for dinner later on. It's been a good day!