2. Inlanding to London – 1989

Trent & Mersey Canal

Day 2. Willington to Fradley Junction

14miles – 11 locks – 9 hours

Early waking, the windows run with condensation, prompting memories of summer holidays in caravans at Caister in the early ‘70’s. It’s my first morning aboard my new – and very small – ‘home’. The cabin of ‘Lily Jane’ measures about 12’ x 6’10” and in that space I’ve the toilet, the galley, bookshelves, an armchair and bench seats that convert to a double bed. Despite the confined size, ‘Lily’ is an essay in utter freedom!

Flushed with excitement, the rushed panic of much of yesterday is conveniently and easily forgotten. It’s the first day of August, the sun is shining, and I’m eager to be away.

Shame the busy A38 noisily converges with the canal so soon after leaving Willington, and then pretty much bruises along beside it until the lock at Wychnor. Still, there are a few things to distract me from the roar of traffic as ‘Lily’ glides along the long straight…

The low 9-arched aquaduct between Eggington and Stretton…
The first narrow lock at Dallow Lane; after the wide locks Dallow Lane feels almost too tight, too small, but so much easier to use single-handed.
The buildings surrounding Wychnor Lock providing visual interest and marking that divergence from the A38 as the canal heads towards Alrewas, momentarily flirting again with the River Trent, not travelled on since Trent Lock.
And then on to the welcome, canalside bustle of Fradley Junction…
Old friends drive out from Derby for an evening drink, what’s taken me two full days to achieve they do in less than ½ an hour, but this is so much more than simply travelling between point A and Point b, this is journeying, it’s an adventure!

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