There seemed to be a lot of boats on the move first thing and the moorings at Branston Water Park suggested that things were going to get even busier once people woke up. We met boats coming in and out of both Tattenhill Lock No 9, Barton Turn Lock No 10 and Wychnor Lock No 11 which made things easy.
We also met a boat about 100 yards from Alrewas Lock No 12 but by the time we got to the lock it had already been filled by one of the large number of boats who filled up the canal from the lock almost to Gaskells Bridge No 46. Alrewas was heaving with boats, and I’m not sure where they’d all been moored. Talking to one of the boaters they told us that Fradley locks had been very busy yesterday which was a bit of a worry as Fradley Junction is only just over two miles away. As it was nearly noon had it really taken them over half a day to get here?
At Common Lock No 14 we met yet more boats who told us that it was very busy and there were two volunteers helping out on the locks. It was starting to sound like it was going to be a bad couple of hours but I’m not sure if all the boats stopped for lunch along with the volunteers but we made very good time through the locks and at most only ever had one boat waiting to go into the locks ahead of us.
C&RT have said that they are going to spend an additional £3 Million on maintenance – I hope they spend some dredging the canal below Wood End Lock No 20 because we were several feet out from the offside bank by some moored boats when we ran aground and what we stirred up getting back into the channel suggested that its just soft mud and rotting leaves. There were a couple of boats above the lock waiting to come down but the number of boats on the move seemed to tail off
King’s Bromley Marina was our next port of call for Fuel. You have to back onto the jetty in the marina but there is plenty of space to manoeuvre and although their prices are not the cheapest the service was friendly and efficient.
The trip through Armitage Tunnel went without incident and we now seemed to have the canal pretty much to ourselves – probably because everyone was moored up at the Rugeley Visitor Moorings. The weather was starting to look a bit ominous and so we decided to stop for the night and do a little shop at the Aldi at the north end of town.
The north moorings are by the church and by the church is the house that William Palmer lived in. Palmer insured his wife for £13,000 before murdering her, and then he insured his brother and killed him – the life insurance policy and murder is one of the stock plots of TV murder mysteries and you do wonder if he was the first person to do this?