After 2 nights outside the NIA, and to comply with CRT rules for continuous cruisers, we left Birmingham heading towards Stratford.
Just past King's Norton Junction we passed through the stop lock. In the days of private canal companies stop locks were often found at junctions as one canal company tried to protect it's water from it's neighbour and also collect tolls for passage.
The stop lock here at King's Norton is unusual because it has guillotine gates at each end. These no longer work but CRT have recently spent over £150,000 to renovate them. It's a shame the graffiti artists couldn't stay away.
Apart from a heavy shower at lunch time the weather has been nice and sunny again. Granted it's cold and windy but as my granny always told me "there's no wrong weather, just wrong clothes", so dressed in thermals and snow-boarding pants and jacket I was toasty warm and stayed outside for most of the journey.
The autumn leaves have turned the canal into "leaf soup" again. It doesn't last long but can be a real nuisance as the leaves collect around the propeller and slow the boat down. I have to say though, that the alterations Roger made to our stern gear earlier in the year seem to be minimising the leaf effect as we don't seem to be having to clear the prop by sticking the boat into reverse gear as often as we used to.
En-route we passed a CRT dredging barge moored up on the off-side. It was full of bicycles, motor bike, scooters and engine blocks. The only thing we didn't see was the ubiquitous shopping trolley.
Some cheerful soul who'd we met in Birmingham yesterday reckons the temperature is going to drop to -7 next week, so with that in mind and "just in case" we stopped at Lyons Boat Yard and stocked up with logs and smokeless fuel.
Chico stayed on the boat (fastened on) to defend it from this little Jack Russell. I'm not sure which dog had the louder bark but they certainly made a racket!
By the time we'd stowed the coal and stopped off at the water point just before Bridge 5 it was starting to go dark. It looks like we may be in for some frost tonight as it's almost full moon and the sky is extremely clear. In fact if it stays this clear and there isn't too much light pollution, I may get my telescope out later and have a look at the stars.