It was another non-descript day when we got up and headed off towards Audlem Bottom Lock No 27 and although we’d heard several boats move off from the moorings they all seemed to have been going north. So when we arrived at the bottom of Audlem there was only one boat in front of us.
Too good to last though. As we came up through the lock a boat moored on the lock moorings above the lock started to prepare to cast off, but we got past them and into the next lock and worked through that with only a slight delay due to boat coming down which powered down the pound and ended up trying to pass us just after we’d come out of the lock and were going past the moored boat.
We got to Audlem Wharf and thats where it all went wrong. Two hire boats from Anglo Welsh just cast off the overnight moorings right in front of us. Well I say they cast off, they moved forward onto the lock moorings and then sent 1 person to work the lock whilst about 6 of them held the two boats and a bunch of them went off to shop. So after 90 minutes we’d managed to do three locks.
How two boats with so many crew can be so slow I do not know. Actually I do, I saw them pull the boat into the lock on it ropes and rather than going through as two separate boats the front one stopped and waited for the second boat which meant you had two boats wedged in each pound. Even with only myself and Kathy working the locks we were gaining on them.
So we made very slow progress up the locks and at Audlem Lock 2 No 14 one of the crew off a boat coming down was muttering about how useless the people going up ahead of us were.
We stopped for lunch below Adderley Bottom Lock No 12 and then followed a boat up the locks who, although they only had one person working the locks actually were very slick at it and we never really felt we were in a queue.
By the time we arrived back at Tom's Moorings the visitor moorings were pretty moored up and we had to squeeze back into the moorings and luckly the bay next to ours was empty or it would have been pretty hard to get back in.