Tuesday, 5 August 2014

KB Home moorings Monday 4 August 2014

Last night we were moored midway between bridge 101 and where the Saffs and Worc used to be connected to the river Sow and on into Stafford. There are plans to restore this link by a group called The Stafford Riverway Link  and they have a web side with more information at  http://www.stafford-riverway-link.co.uk/

We were away at 9-30 am this morning meeting a continues stream of boats, one of them in a bridge hole which resulted in a small knock and me reversing back out through the bridge as he was across the canal, he said I was the first boat he had seen all morning.

Workmen were hard at it repairing the railway line supports where it runs along side the canal at Milford Bridge, when we came the other way they were making the hole, today they are bricking it up.DSCF6443 

We had amazing luck with the locks arriving at Tixal Lock just as a boat was leaving, I expected to be in a queue but as we approached Gt Haywood lock a boat was almost ready to come out so after hovering for a couple of minutes we were in, with another three waiting below to come up. Colwich was similar with one coming out and one arriving below just as we were about to open the bottom gates. Moored in the pound below Gt Haywood lock was Ling with a load of sand, I am not sure if its the same load that he has been carting around for the past couple of weeks.DSCF6446 

After Colwich lock we are on a level pound all the way to King’s Bromley, the reflection approaching the lock looked much better than this photograph depicts.DSCF6450

A short way after this I spotted an obelisk that I can’t say that I noticed before, I assume it belongs to the Shugborough estate,DSCF6452 but the photo was taken well below Colwich Lock,

As we approached Rugeley the power station soon came into view, I don’t think I have ever photographed it from this angle before.DSCF6454 Passing Armitage of Hansacre, I am not sure which we passed a garden with this chap sitting looking at the outside world probably wishing he was soaring on the thermals.DSCF6456 

Just passed the pub at Hansacre the fudge push butty was moored up so we pulled over to part with some hard earned cash. the next treat was a freebee, blackberries growing on the offside a short way before the marina entrance. I made a real pigs ear of swinging into the marina with at least 4 boaters to witness it and that was with no wind so no excuses just shabby boating.

map KB

Today’s Journey

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Stafford 3 Aug 2014

Not quite such an early start but away by 9-15 am. meeting several boats as we made our way towards Gailey. We passed this milestone on the way, I can only assume it was moved here when they concreted the spill weir.DSCF6441

The buildings at Hatherton Junction which I think are Calf Heath Marina are all closed up and looking deserted. As we arrived at Gailey we could see the queue forming, it was 40 minutes before we were in the lock and by then even more boats had arrived, there was also a steady stream waiting to come up. Thankfully this was the end of queuing for the day other than catching up the boat in front. While I was locking down in Penkridge Diana nipped round the shop for a couple of items, coming back mumbling he had overcharged her, a few minutes later and she was off back round there to sort it out. She hadn’t been overcharged it was just the things where more expensive than she expected. We carried on in the sunshine but got a surprise at Shutt Hill Lock as the working boat Lynx arrived at the top of the lock just as we were leaving, how he managed to pass the queue behind us I don’t know. Down at Deptmore Lock we waited to the boat in front left and then turned the lock, before we could enter Lynx again appeared so I let him go by and get ahead, we weren’t going much further tonight and he wanted to make Haywood tonight. Once they were on there way we went a bit further stopping for the night just before bridge 101 St Thomas Bridge about half four.

map Stafford Today’s Journey

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Crossgreen Saturday 2 Aug 2014

We set off this morning in drizzle at 8-30 am. by 8 35 am. it was raining proper rain and this continued until we reached Bratch.

We had a good run with the locks, most of them being empty. On our way down we spotted some plums so pulled over and picked a few of the ripest. You can see what the weather is like.DSCF6417

Even the bottom chamber of Botterham was empty, of course we had to fill the top before we could lock up. One of the many boats we met today was Elisabeth, I always enjoy meeting her.DSCF6423 We arrived at Bratch at about 1130 with no boats waiting to come down or go up. Diana went to find the lock keeper who was in his hut at the top and as he made his way down he gave me the thumbs up to drain the bottom lock, We did the flight in about 20 minutes with Diana working the blue paddles and the lock keeper the red on the lock above. The Damsons beside the flight look to be badly diseased again this year. Look at the hill in the distance the aerial tree stands out above the sky line, at least the rain had stopped and we could see it.DSCF6423

I like Awbridge bridge with its slits in the brick work, between the bottom gates and the bridge is a cast foot bridge, it is one of the few that have not been damaged and still has a gap through the centre to pass a tow rope through. This one is slightly marred by a scaffolding hand rail that was erected following a lad falling off his bike into a lock while riding across one.DSCF6420

Just below Compton Lock the floating cafe Tea Junction was trying to trade, unfortunately there were very few people about.DSCF6426 CaRT have not done anything about the top paddle and it took two of us to open a bottom gate due to the amount of water coming down.

I am always intrigued by these remains at Aldersley Bridge,  DSCF6430  I understand are all that remains of a toll keeper’s house and lock keepers cottages. As you can see the sun is now out.

The graffiti on Oxley railway bridge is still in good condition and is far preferable to some of the things we see painted on bridges spanning the canal. DSCF6431 The water is so clear here that you can see the remains of an old wall running along in the shallows on the off side.DSCF6434

After passing Autherley Junction we had to wait at bridge 67 as a boat was coming towards us through the narrows, There is room for a boat to wait just through the bridge as well as another couple of passing places part way along.DSCF6437 Our planned mooring for the night was the 48 hr. moorings at Crossgreen where we did a crew change with the two grandchildren. As we approached we passed some long term moorings on the offside and this sign writers van caught my eye.DSCF6438 I hope you can read what it says above the cab. Arriving at the moorings which are very long there was loads of space but boats have  turning up ever since we moored at 4 30 pm. Our reason for stopping then was to watch a repeat of a program that was on TV at the beginning of the week called “Tom's Fantastic Floating Home” I don’t think I will bother with episode two.

map Crossgreen Today’s Route

Friday, 1 August 2014

Greensforge Lock Fri 1 August 2014

last night we must have moored in the mosie centre of the world, inside and all doors closed.

This morning we were off at 9 am an overcast and cool morning with several boats coming towards us. As we headed south so the weather improved. The old boat house in the cave that BW boarded up is well overgrown now.DSCF6399

We stopped on the aqueduct so that Brian could take a look, it was his first. Here the canal crosses the rivet Stour.DSCN0089  

Past Stourton Junction and on down through Stewponey lock heading to Dunsley Tunnel, this has a brick facia but after that its just hewn from solid rock. Again another first for Brian.DSCN0093

We moored by the picnic area at Kinver on the visitor mooring so that I could upload yesterdays blog before carrying on to the winding hole just above Whittington Bridge. This winding hole is only about 65 feet deep so we had no problems, but longer boats take note.DSCF6413

We returned to Kinver and stopped for lunch. By now the canal for some reason was much quieter and we saw very little traffic as we made our way back upstream. The tunnel from this direction is a straight rock entrance. It has all the normal tunnel warning but with a working boat stopped in the tunnel you could probably hop on the stern one side, walk through the tunnel and hop off the bows the other side.DSCN0100

We passed last nights mooring and moored for the night on the end of the 48 hr. moorings below Greensforge Lock, we had to leave bit of a space between us and the boat in front as two chaps had just set up fishing. No sooner had we tied up at 4 pm. and the sky’s opened, the fishermen stuck it for an hour before leaving, but no way was I going to move the boat up in this weather. Since then a boat has moored behind us and another on the beginning of the lock moorings.

At about half seven my son arrived to pick up No.1 grandson, he had No.2 with him so after they had compared lock miles etc we all adjourned to the Navigation for a meal before they left for home. I can see them wanting to do a week next year.
The Navigation is nothing fancy but its a popular pub selling good beer and good pub grub, I would happily eat there again regardless of a couple of the reports on Tripadvisor.

map Kingswinford

Today’s journey down south and back up to the top.

Greensforge Lock Fri 1 August 2014

last night we must have moored in the mosie centre of the world, inside and all doors closed.

This morning we were off at 9 am an overcast and cool morning with several boats coming towards us. As we headed south so the weather improved. The old boat house in the cave that BW boarded up is well overgrown now.DSCF6399

We stopped on the aqueduct so that Brian could take a look, it was his first. Here the canal crosses the rivet Stour.DSCN0089  

Past Stourton Junction and on down through Stewponey lock heading to Dunsley Tunnel, this has a brick facia but after that its just hewn from solid rock. Again another first for Brian.DSCN0093

We moored by the picnic area at Kinver on the visitor mooring so that I could upload yesterdays blog before carrying on to the winding hole just above Whittington Bridge. This winding hole is only about 65 feet deep so we had no problems, but longer boats take note.DSCF6413

We returned to Kinver and stopped for lunch. By now the canal for some reason was much quieter and we saw very little traffic as we made our way back upstream. The tunnel from this direction is a straight rock entrance. It has all the normal tunnel warning but with a working boat stopped in the tunnel you could probably hop on the stern one side, walk through the tunnel and hop off the bows the other side.DSCN0100

We passed last nights mooring and moored for the night on the end of the 48 hr. moorings below Greensforge Lock, we had to leave bit of a space between us and the boat in front as two chaps had just set up fishing. No sooner had we tied up at 4 pm. and the sky’s opened, the fishermen stuck it for an hour before leaving, but no way was I going to move the boat up in this weather. Since then a boat has moored behind us and another on the beginning of the lock moorings.

At about half seven my son arrived to pick up No.1 grandson, he had No.2 with him so after they had compared lock miles etc we all adjourned to the Navigation for a meal before they left for home. I can see them wanting to do a week next year.
The Navigation is nothing fancy but its a popular pub selling good beer and good pub grub, I would happily eat there again regardless of a couple of the reports on Tripadvisor.

Gothersley Rough Thursday 31 July 2014

We were away at 9 am, one boat had already passed but it wasn’t long before we were meeting boats thick and fast, sometimes three at one lock and nothing ahead. There are more faces on the cut, some even on to of CaRT posts. DSCF6376 We arrived at the top of Bratch to be told it would be between half and three quarters of an hour wait as a boat had just entered the bottom lock to come up and they do three up, three down. In the end there were only two boats to come up and we waited thirty five minutes. DSCN0060Bratch is not a staircase but three individual lock connected by a very short pound that in turn is connected to a side pound.
there is a full time CaRT lock keeper who is assisted by a volunteer, he in turn was assisted by my Grandson.DSCN0063

We were soon on our way through Bumblehole lock and on to Botterham Staircase locks, these a real staircase with the top lock empting into the bottom.  DSCN0070As the boat ahead of us had gone down we had to fill the top lock to go in and empty the bottom lock before dropping the contents of the top lock into it. DSCN0074 As you can see the sky is turning black behind us.

As we left Hinksford Lock it started to rain which got quite heavy, we needed water but were just beaten to the water point by a boat coming up and when we did get on the tap was quite slow. The road was flooded just passed Greenforge bridge at but it didn’t slow the cars down. Once topped up we continued down through Greenforge lock and soon the sun came back out, we were going to overnight on the 48 hr moorings but it has 100% tree canopy cover so I could imagine it dripping all night so we did another couple of locks, again meeting boats to finally stop on a 5 day mooring at Gothersley Rough by the remains wall structure. DSCF6397

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Thu 31 July 2014

Poor internet connection, the blog is written and will be posted tomorrow.