With a couple of weeks away from HELEN now, John Dodwell takes the opportunity to reflect on his last week or so of cruising.
Looking back over the last 9 days, we were blessed with fine weather moving from Autherley via Nantwich to Hazlehurst on the Caldon. We had had five Trust staff on board, two volunteers and my sister etc to help up Heartbreak Hill (thinks - do those locks really justify that name if you've got a decent number of crew?) All the locks worked and generally we had adequate depth for our 3 ft draft boat - apart from parts of the Caldon. Those have gone in my notebook for passing onto the waterways area manager.
We had perhaps more than our fair share of boating problems - unshipping the rudder at Tyrley (our carelessness) and a broken bilge pump - but that's boating.
We had stopped at and eaten in some good places - , Goldstone, Norbury, Audlem, Nantwich come to mind - and we had passed by - leaving for another time? - some lovely villages. We had enjoyed the contrast between the Telford designed Shroppie with the Brindley designed Trent & Mersey - built some 60 years apart.
Stretching a point, we had travelled from sights of the Wrekin hills to the outliers of the western Pennines. And we had done it at walking pace - but without having to walk!
John Dodwell is one of our 10 volunteer trustees, who carry responsibility for the charity’s policies and strategies. He owns Helen, a 51ft old BCN tug/icebreaker which draws 3ft and is based near Stourbridge, West Midlands. His waterways interest goes back to the early 1960s.
John’s been involved in the waterways since the early 1960s and he enjoys all aspects of the waterways. To pick out one oddity, he was pleased and surprised to see about a dozen herons this June around the BCN Main Line, including two under the M6 motorway!See more blogs from John Dodwell