Saturday 4 July

Last night’s thunderstorm was quite spectacular and I can’t remember having experienced anything quite so dramatic.   We woke to an amazing light show of constant flashes and thunder that cracked overhead making us both jump. We let Max into the bedroom as we knew he’d be terrified and he huddled down between us.   The storm didn’t last long and for its finale the heavens opened and lulled us back to sleep with its steady patter on the roof.

It was a bit fresher this morning and we decided to move the boat but not before Storm had been to the shop for the Saturday papers.

We had a quick look at the headlines and then prepared to leave. Max and Storm set off on foot leaving me to untie the boat and follow them. I wished I had my camera in my pocket because as I lifted one of small tyre fenders I found a frog balancing on the rim of the tyre. I tipped him on to the tow path with the hope that he didn’t hop back into the canal after I’d gone.

I hadn’t gone far but as I turned the first bend, I came across Storm who was holding onto the grabrail of a boat that appeared to be untied. As I drew alongside I realised that sadly the boat wasn’t just adrift but had been broken into overnight and ransacked. We’d walked past this boat yesterday and it was in one piece then.


I made a call to the CRT to alert them and they promised to send someone out to sort the problem as the burglars had removed all its ropes and there was nowhere to tie it to and we’d have had to sacrifice our spare rope and two of our mooring spikes which we weren’t willing to do.

We continued on our journey warning all oncoming boats that they would soon encounter the drifting boat.   Before long we came across a plastic boat moored up in the middle of nowhere and this too looked as though it had been ransacked.

We reached Knowle locks before we found any signs of civilisation and emptied our rubbish into the bins there. Someone has carved this owl and left it guarding the sanitary station …


With nowhere above the locks to moor we started our descent down the five broad locks (the first broad locks we’ve seen since the River Severn).   We’d gone down the first lock when we noticed the day hire boat from Copt Heath had headed our way and so we waited for them and we continued on down through the other four locks with them.


Beyond the permanent moorings at the bottom of the locks there was space for us to pull in with one or two other manned boats and so we joined them. After lunch we walked into Knowle and followed the circular route provided in our Nicholson’s Guide from Bridge 71 through Knowle and along a lane passing Grimshaw Hall to Bridge 72 and back along the canal. Grimshaw Hall is a gabled 16th century house noted for its decorative brickwork.

I’m sure the temperature only soared once we’d set off and we were glad to get back to the boat for a cold drink and some shade. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading the papers and trying to complete the various puzzles.




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