Everybody had told us that Knowle Locks were the hardest on the system and we discovered that they were right, June could not wind the hydraulic paddles up but the gates were really easy. So June took the boat through the locks and I did the hard work for a change. There are lovely views from the lock over the Warwickshire countryside.
This length of canal is very familiar to us from the towpath as we regularly walk the dogs along it and we soon came to the Black Buoy Cruising Club and the Kings Arms pub. A little further on is their Club House and the Black Boy Pub During the summer months the club moors its boats on both sides of the canal.
The Navigation Pub which is now a bit more up market and always seems to be full after years of neglect, is followed by the Junction with the Stratford Canal at Kingswood. We moored up at the Tom of the Wood Moorings where we had arranged to be picked up by Jean and Graham. The house at the side of the bridge seems to have had work being done on it for at least the last 18 months and they are still at it now.
Graham drove us the short distance across to Lowsonford on the Stratford Canal to have lunch with Peter and Carol at the Fleur de Lys pub. We all had a great meal and this is down to the new managers who took over about 9 months ago. After lunch we visited the recently installed sculpture by the artist and sculptor Sir Antony Gormley. It is one of five commissioned around the UK by The Landmark Trust, to mark the charity's 50th birthday (they own the barrel cottage in the background). The iron sculpture weighs 1,543lbs (700kg) and is the only one that has been placed in a village, the other four have been positioned by the coast. It is said to be most impressive when "you look up at it against the sky".
Whilst we were at the lock a hire boat came under the bridge and crashed into the lock gate. It transpired that the hire company had not shown them how to work a lock merely how to go forwards and in reverse. So with a little bit of diplomacy we took them through how to negotiate a lock for which they were very appreciative.
We all went back to the boat for coffee and then we bid our farewells and we headed off to the Rowington Embankment where there are some lovely views over the countryside. Later we were able to listen to Rowington Church bells being rung by my brother in law and the team, a great sound on a nice evening.