Wheelock to Rode Heath : 4 miles, 14 locks
To date : 939 miles, 646 locks
Today we had Heartbreak Hill ahead of us. We were awake bright and early and just as we got out of bed I heard the familiar.. chug... chug... chug of a working boat. I looked out to see the bow of nb Alton passing so Mick rushed down to the side hatch to ask for some coal. We had just missed them as they went the opposite direction the other day. A year ago we were moored at Rode Heath and it was a dark and wet evening when we heard a boat trying to moor up in front of us in the dark. Mick went out to help them and met Brian on nb Alton. This morning it was Anne-Marie who pulled in alongside us in the dim light to pass across some bags of coal. Mick said he'd met Brian a year ago and Anne-Marie said Brian had remembered when they passed us by a couple of days ago.
The day was bright and clear and I was looking forward to the locks ahead. Most of them are duplicated which makes it easy work when we're travelling in a pair.
My walking shoes that I brought with us from Australia had the soles worn down so I'd bought a new pair a few weeks ago. I decided to wear the old ones as the towpath was looking rather muddy and there'd be a bit of walking between locks.
The hatch had been a bit difficult to open yesterday so I got out some wax to help the situation. I stepped out onto the gunwale on the towpath side of the boat and just happened to get the most worn section of the sole of one shoe onto the one little section that was bare of non-slip grit. In the blink of an eye I found myself with my right leg in the canal between the boat and the bank. Ouch! It's the first time either of us have fallen and it was such a shock. I got a graze on my left hand and landed with the top of my leg against the concrete edging. Luckily I still had my left foot up on the concrete but I jarred my left hip a bit too. I sat there for a minute with Mick crouching over me with concern. I was more stunned than hurt at the time.
With a clean change of clothes sorted and my new shoes on, we set off. The first few locks I steered the boat rather than working the lock. As the time wore on I could feel I'm going to have a whopper bruise and I'm guessing I'll wake up really stiff tomorrow. I felt so rattled for about an hour but eventually came good. I made sure I did some locks to keep walking. It was such a lovely day otherwise. For most of the day the sky was blue and side of the boat was warm from the sun.
We paused for lunch at Hassall Green and stopped for the day at Rode Heath. It's Barry's birthday tomorrow so we're going to the pub for dinner tonight. I'll see how long I'm able to sit down for... sitting to type the blog hasn't been too comfortable!