After a somewhat leisurely journey to Braunston, spread over six days I had to get Starcross back to Norbury in just three. Of course, having come out via the relatively flat and easy route via Great Haywood, Fradley, Fazeley and Hawkesbury Jc I had to go back via the much more heavily-locked route down the Avon valley, back up again at Hatton, up to Birmingham and back down from Wolverhampton before regaining the lock-free section of the Shroppie to Norbury. Fortunately, for this journey I had a crew!
Hugh and I gained a little advantage by leaving Bruanston after the day's events on Saturday and made it as far as Stockton Brook before stopping for the night. Although it was late when we stopped we weren't the last boat on the move as three Willow Wren hire boats arrived about 21.30 each carrying part of a youth group and having come from the company's Rugby base that day.
On a winter trip in the 1970s an emergency stoppage on the Stockton flight meant we had to spend an hour or two in the Boat Inn at the top of the locks, where I drank probably the best pint of beer (Draught Bass) I've ever had. So good, in fact, that the work was completed and the canal re-opened long before we left the pub.
Well, the Boat Inn no longer sells Bass and the pub has, of course, changed out of all recognition but it still sells a decent pint, although the pub trade is obviously suffering and on a Saturday night the place was almost deserted.
The Boat Inn, Stockton Brook