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May Cruise Day 3 Stratford upon Avon

We started the day late, since it was raining when we awoke, but set off once the rain cleared. Studying the Nicholson over breakfast showed we had 11 miles and 24 locks left on this canal, but whether we did it all on one day depended on the weather (or how hardy we felt if rain sets in).

The rain had stopped giving the air a nice fresh feel, but rain clouds still loomed in the sky. This stretch of canal was quiet, though we passed a couple of boaters also enjoying the Spring climate. The locks start off at a steady pace and you can enjoy the scenery and examine the split lock bridges as you pass by. Just before we reached Wootton Wawen we passed NB Oasis Too who’s infamy arises from appearing on BBC News during last years floods, though no one seemed on board at present. We approached the moorings amid quite a commotion – a field was full of cars and hundreds of people were milling around. There was a “walk” event that had attracted equal numbers of ramblers and onlookers. We moored up, visited the farm shop and then had lunch on board. Afterwards we pulled over to the boat yard to get a gas bottle, as the boat only half a bottle (plus an empty) when we arrived this time. We also topped up the diesel since there’d be some river cruising ahead.

The afternoon was sunny, and the view from over Edstone Aqueduct was great – though you had to keep one eye on where the boat was going less you make a large clang against the side. Next up was Wilmcote Locks containing almost half the locks we’d do today. These are well maintained and we did them at a relaxed pace in the warm afternoon. Travelling on you then leave the seclusion of the countryside as you enter Stratford upon Avon with its mixture of industrial and residential waterside buildings. The bridges here have fairly low headrooms but its fine, so long as you remember to duck. As we round the bend after the final lock we see the brick road bridge that is the entrance to Bancroft Basin, which is now instantly recognisable from all the media coverage of floods in 2007. We entered the basin and then found a mooring spot. Time to get ready and go out.

(Or see the Youtube version)

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