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Branston Water Park to Alrewas (6 miles, 4 locks)

Thank goodness all that horrible weather has come to an end!

The calendar on the website Chamberlain Carrying Co is almost complete, giving us on average 2 festivals a month to open our Gift Shop.  We are so excited, but it'll need some stock, so I've got painting again.

Another project finished ready for the shop!

At some times last week, we did think that the new sheets on the butty would not be there for very long. Branston Water Park, where we had moored, was quite exposed and she took a beating.

Beautiful weather at last!  So nice to go for a cruise.

I managed to get plenty of painting done though and Richard picked up his 'knitting' (decorative ropework) for the first time in ages!

Looking back at the narrow bridge and the quarry on the left

A few days ago, we decided we would move on up to Barton Turns lock and wait for the river at Alrewas to recede.  We desperately needed to fill to water tank, as we had managed about 10 days which is good for us!

Good enough - at last we may be able to get this bit out of the way!

We still have the car, so have been able to get shopping and go back and forth to Burton on Trent for other things.  So yesterday, after checking the water levels on the Environment Agency website, we set sail again to 'get it done' once and for all!

Broken bridge on the river section.  Might need a bit more than tape to hold it up!

We raised the boats separately up through the locks and began our short journey into the unknown with a great deal of trepidation!

Weir on the distance to the left, all calm and lovely so far!

The first part of the river, where the private moorings are, behaves much like a 'cut' because the majority of the water coming down from Kings Bromley has gone over the weir already.

View over the weir, looking not too bad, all things considered

Coming around the corner from the pull of the weir, Richard speeded the engine up a little to tear both boats out of it's path.   As we neared the lock where the river came under the bridge, the engine needed another boost, but slowly, gradually we turned the corner out of the stream and I jumped off to set the lock.

Safely above the lock and back on the canal

Owing to the silt buildup below the lock, and the fact that no-one was coming down the lock from the canal, we tied the butty to the gates below (pictured) and raised her up after the big boat.  We do this all the time normally, when there is no-one else around as it means for less bow-hauling!

Dragging the butty out of the lock and a boat arrives, good timing!

So that's it, we've filled her up with water again and moored in Alrewas on the 14 day mooring.  We have both been a bit ill over the past week as well, so it will be nice to recharge the batteries, ooh and MOT the car, mustn't forget those realities as well!

Stenson to Branston Water Park (8.5 miles, 2 narrow locks)

The past few days, we have made good progress on the butty inside and out and I have managed to get some much needed painting done.

Off with the old side cloths and on with the new

We travelled the short journey to Willington, filled the watertank and turned the boats to face back the way we had come.  The weather and towpath was fairly dry, so the main task before the bad weather arrived, was to finish the installation of the black side cloths.

Lister deciding on not jumping across

Lister, our lurcher, has developed a fear of jumping between the big boat and the butty, but not back again.  That way is fine apparently! We have to pull him with his collar gently to encourage a 'leap', then he is fine.

Meanwhile, the sheets are complete!

Richard and I finished attaching the lines to hold the side cloths in place, then pulled the top sheets over the top.  Next, we trudged to the skip to dump the old tarps.  All fun and games, but I think you'll agree, she's looking good!

Lister still debating as we moor up at the gravel pits outside Willington

Yesterday, Murfins delivered a couple of month's worth of smokeless coal and we quickly stowed it all before the weather took a turn again.  This resolved the lack of ballast in the butty and stopped it bobbing around so much, when we set sail again later on.

River Dove in flood, ooh err!

Passing over the aquaduct, before Stretton, we witnessed the river Dove in full flood.  Never had we seen it this high before.

Me and Scoob on the butty on a towline

The weather has been glorious today in the sun, and I had a good go at being towed on a line rather than the 'safe' option of the cross-straps which uses more fuel.

Lister likes to sit on the back deck whilst we move along, surveying the water

The butty rising up through Dallow Lane lock at Burton

Filling up with diesel at Snobnall Marina

Coming out of the marina entrance, Richard then reversed and picked me and the butty up

The wind suddenly began to pick up as we approached Branston Lock, but we needed to get topside, as the lock was to be closed for repairs later this week.
So, now all that needs to happen, is the river at Alrewas to behave, to enable us to move up to Fradley Junction but there is also a stoppage on the locks above Alrewas for another week.  The nightmare logistics of boating in the winter!