Our trip from Wilmcote began with an early departure at tickover as we passed the long line of moored boats but it still didn’t take us too long to reach the top of the Wilmcote flight of locks. The eleven locks are built pretty close together with slightly longer gaps between the third and the fourth and then the eighth and ninth. Sue steered and I locked for a change and despite the fact that we were following another boat (meaning that every lock had to be filled before we could use it), we made good progress and tied between the bottom lock and the A46 road bridge. NB Snipe was just about to ascend the flight and they told us that they had enjoyed a quiet mooring there the night before despite the proximity to the road. Our journey had taken less than two and a half hours so it was still relatively early when we were ready to go for a walk.
Our mooring was very rural but its not too far to reach the Birmingham Road retail park on the edge of Stratford. Our walk took us past Stratford Parkway station and then through Bishopton, a very select area with large houses. A bit of shopping in Tesco and Aldi to keep us going and then the half hour walk back to the boat allowed us to laze in the afternoon sunshine with only the following day’s short hop into Stratford to contemplate.
The next part of our trip was a very easy cruise down to Wilmcote although there was the small matter of two aqueducts to negotiate, over the road at Wootton Wawen and the longest aqueduct in England, the Edstone which crosses a road and a railway line.
Three miles and just one lock brought us to a lovely mooring which was only a ten minute walk from the village. We’ve been here before of course but we took the time to walk past Mary Arden’s house and into the village.
There’s not a lot to see in Wilmcote despite the fact that the open top sight seeing bus passes through there on a regular basis.
On Friday, we caught the train into Stratford upon Avon, a seven minute trip costing £2.60 return for us both.
We alighted the train and walked along the canal towpath so that we could check out potential moorings. There isn’t really anything until the moorings outside the Red Lion which is just outside Bancroft basin. As we walked along there, we saw nb City Slicker and who was walking along the towpath but its skipper, Dennis. Tentatively we made arrangements to meet with him and his friend, John later in the day. We carried on our walk into and around the basin where we noted that there were still a few spaces and that the river level was in the amber zone. Our amble took us up through the town and into the market which stands on a Friday and Saturday. After perusing the wares in the market we partook of some coffee in Patisserie Valerie before returning to the canalside where we dragged Dennis and John from their boat and made them drink beer in the garden of the Red Lion.
It’s not very often that we come across people who are on the same wavelength as ourselves but these boys are good company so we passed a couple of hours with them in the pub garden.
Eventually we had to leave and with the intention of a short shopping stop at Morrisons in our minds, we set off in the afternoon sunshine. By the time we reached the superstore, we had decided to grab something to eat in the café there. Sadly, Morrisons have not improved over the years and the shopping experience there is still poor so we left hungry and empty handed. Our next port of call at the railway station where we knew that there is a café. When we reached the café we discovered that it has no seats or tables so we left there and walked back towards the town centre. Luckily enough, the Old Thatch Tavern provided us with an evening meal, not exactly what we had intended but it turned out to be really good and well worth the money. With the grub guzzled, we paid the bill and walked back to the station where we caught our train back to Wilmcote and then walked back along the towpath to our mooring.