We moored last night below the bottom lock at Audlem and made an early start today up the 15 locks
a cold misty morning - zero degrees at 07:15
but hopefully the sun will melt it away (08:20)
We pulled the pins and set off at 08:45
George approaching lock 3 after opening the gate for me at lock 2 (09:13)
I love this scene at Audlem (09:31)
the wash from the upper pounds was fierce to get through in places (09:52) but the Axiom propeller did what it said on the tin! At between 14/1500 revs it cut through the flow easily, was easy to manoeuvre, and slid into the locks like a hot knife through butter - and stopped quickly too without any noise of reverse thrust - magic indeed!
I couldn't believe it when this foam came up over the top of the front cratch - it's a good job it wasn't windy - I'd have got it full in the face! (11:14)
leaky gates - this one took ages to fill the last few inches and the weed hatch had to be emptied before we could get out of the lock - time for a quick cuppa! (11:31)
nosey cows! (12:18)
a peaceful scene - apart from passing a single handed boater going up the locks in front of us we didn't see another boat moving all day. He very kindly let us pass and we returned the favour by setting the locks for him behind us. (12:28)
nosey sheep too (13:14)
they were using the lock beam to scratch their backs!
then came the very free range chickens for a look as I came up this lock (13:24)
and then came the kingfisher - he played tag with us for about 2 miles (13:25)
his back (14:11)
he's here again (14:26)
and nearly gone again (you can just see the flash of blue near the top left corner)
his front again (14:31)
his back again - and then he was gone again
a bit blurred this one as he was about to take flight again (14:32)
hiding in the leaves (just left and down from centre) (14:33)
what a beauty (14:35)
just as he took flight again this time away from the canal - he'd had enough fun with us for today
and then the mist came down for a while and it was very cold.
We arrived at the visitor moorings at Market Drayton at 15:15 - just starting to darken.
6.5 miles, 20 locks, a 20 minute stop for lunch, in 6.5 hours - a good day indeed.