The ‘plans of mice and men’ came into play as the engine had a slight hiccup on starting (but that was soon rectified) and a ‘long wait’ resulting from barge overload ensued at the Sulfeld Lock. It allowed time to just enjoy life.

The stop tonight, a peaceful country siding just out of Schwicheldt.

A peaceful walk along a rocky dirt track where grains grew to the left and the Mittelland ran along our right led us into the dorf.

Written records first make mention of it in 1131. Over the years it’s spelling has seen numerous variations: “Shvegelten”, later “Sueglete”, “Suechlete” and “Sulglete”

This tiny town was another little gem. Listed as an independent parish in 1185, this village – or group of numerous farms at that stage? – was owned by the Schwicheldt family. A massive estate in the centre of the town was the abode of this family and, with the family having died out, is today under the ownership of the Obergs: the property is still in immaculate condition today.

The small church, although only dating to the 1800s, still comprises sections of the twelfth century structure.

A town in which the people proudly hung their prowess at shooting fests – in the form of massive discs upon their outer walls,

there were an amazing number of substantial farm properties in perfect condition.

Even with tractors racing down the streets, this is a farming community that is still proud of its town.

Oh yes, and another deer sighting upon our walk.

Back on Gratis, a loud piercing sound of metal on metal crept ever closer. Soon enough around the bend came this:

Thankfully, the ear – piercing noise continued onward, and peace returned to our neck of the wood.