We made the most of the relaxed winter visitor mooring restrictions and stayed the full 14 days in Stratford Basin. Dudley enjoyed his river walks and it was handy being in right by the shops in the town. We were there for my birthday, Mum came to visit for the day and we enjoyed lunch in the Black Swan, or Dirty Duck as it seems to be called.
On our last evening we had decided to go to Cafe Rouge with our converted Tesco Clubcard Vouchers, the previous day and overnight it had constantly rained, I took Dudley for a quick morning walk around the basin as it was still raining, at the lock the boards onto the river were just borderline on the red meaning it was unsafe to navigate. When I took him again around five hours later the river level had risen dramatically and it was almost level with the canal, there is usually around a 4ft difference between the canal basin and the river. We did think about moving onto the floating pontoons but decided to stay where we were as we were off first thing in the morning anyway. We had a lovely evening in Cafe Rouge and the steak was the best I've had. When we got back to the basin the river level hadn't really risen much.
The next morning as we were getting ready to leave the river became level with the canal and both sets of gates on the lock opened. We hadn't planned on going too far as we wanted to visit Aldi at the other end of town and James had some shoes to pick up from Clarks. I must admit I was a bit happier to get through the first lock and be higher that the river though.
1.5 miles and 6 locks
TOTAL 51.5 miles and 63 locks