Monday, 10 February 2014

Last Run, Day 4: Market Drayton to Norbury Junction

We were in no great rush to get away this morning as it's only 10 miles and 5 locks to Norbury Junction and I had planned to spend a last night aboard Starcross when we got there anyway.
I got "ten-out-of-ten" from another boater for my entry into lock 4 at Tyrley. For those who don't know it, this lock has a fierce by-wash that pushes oncoming boats across the bottom of the lock and makes entry difficult. When the by-wash is in spate, as it was today after all the recent rain, the way to approach it is at high speed and offset from the entrance by about 2/3rds of a boat width. When the boat reaches the by-wash the bow is pushed strongly to the left and across the throat of the lock. The steerer should brace himself and up the revs even more and steer into the stream thus lining up the bow with the lock entrance, but then as the stern reaches the wash he should swing the tiller over to bring the stern back into line. Failure to do either of these will result in an almighty bang as the boat either strikes the lock wall at full speed or, even worse, misses the lock altogether and runs hard aground on the almost-inaccessible offside!  I did concede to my "scorer" that "I've done it before".

That was the end of the day's excitement and the run down to Norbury was a bit of an anticlimax, arriving at about 2pm. Hugh and Martin said their farewells and set off to walk down the towpath to Gnosall for the Stafford bus (which got them to Stafford station three minutes before a Crewe train was due to leave and after a 10 minute connection there they both got home in  record time). I left Starcross on the visitor moorings and walked over to the wharf to see Simon at the boatyard, who greeted me like an old friend and arranged to "do the necessary" (photos, paperwork etc) in the morning.

I returned to the boat, tidied it up a bit  a lot then rummaged through the remains of the food cupboard to see what I could find for my tea.

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