Branston - Mercia - Willington : 8 miles, 2 locks
To date : 1202 miles, 848 locks
Today we did something we haven't done for a long time. We went and had a good look at a boat for sale. A couple of fellow Aussies have their eye on this one and with it being moored at Mercia Marina we said we'd cruise there to check it out. Makes a bit of a difference now we know what questions to ask!!
There was a lot of boat traffic today with it being Easter. We met oncoming boats at every second bridge it seemed. With coal supplies down to the last scuttle we stopped at Shobnall Marina for a bag of coal. What lovely friendly folk. We also ended up having a chat with the fellow who owned the boat that was tied up on the services pontoon. I had walked to the marina from further back as there was nowhere free to bring the boat in. Mick brought Parisien Star alongside the moored boat and we hovered there for a while chatting. Luckily no boats came by.
We reached Mercia right on lunchtime. With boats coming out of the marina we had to wait a bit before using the entrance to wind. We moored up on the towpath side and walked to the footbridge and over to the marina.
First we had lunch in the tearoom and then to look at the boat. It's such a huge marina. The salesman took us in his car. By the time we drove then walked around pontoons we had no idea which way we were facing. You'd need your sat nav to steer your boat to its pontoon!
After a quick scout around the chandlery we started the walk back to the boat. As we crossed the bridge over the entrance to the marina a pair of widebeams were on their way out. They have so much space inside that they feel like small apartments but to me they look like a narrowboat that's been squashed down and oozed out the sides.
We retraced our route back to Willington where it looked like we were too late for a mooring on the armco. I walked along to look and struck it lucky when a couple asked if it was possible to moor near Mercia Marina. They moved off and we took their place. nb Yorkshire Lass was moored alongside the picnic area selling rope fenders. I love seeing trading boats and we try and buy things from them. But.... we have enough spare fenders to last a lifetime!!
The boats continued to arrive all afternoon and evening by which time there wasn't a mooring in sight. The latecomers were forced to move on to moor out in the open further on. There was plenty of space available a couple of miles out.