Friday, 1 July 2016

Friday 1 July 2016 Polesworth

yesterday afternoon we had groups of young walkers going by, they were training for their DoE bronze Award which they would be doing in two weeks time. A bit of rain overnight but fine this morning.
A have text alerts set up on all my bank accounts and this morning at 8 am I received one from the Halifax, so before we could set off I had to do a bit of on-line banking, this meant it was almost 11 am before we set off.

A steady run down to outside Fazeley Mill Marina where we stopped to fill with water. There is a good crop of mushrooms growing in the marina just behind the water point.DSCF4768

You may remember some time back I reported a sunken boat at Rugley called Voyager and that later we saw it being towed, well today we have seen it again, she is still afloat but very little has been done to make her habitable again. While we were filling with water I took the opportunity to remove some weed from round the propshaft.

Filled with water we carried on to Fazeley Junction and made a sharp right onto the Coventry Canal, I wasn’t long before I did my good deed for the day, just through bridge 75 there was a hire boat floating around the canal so I poled it back to the side and made it secure, I wonder how many boats just pushed past, or were we the first to arrive since it went walkabouts. There were two boats ahead when we reached Glascote Locks, one in each lock and by it was time for us to enter another boat had joined us below. I am pleased to report that the bottom lock now works very well with all paddles doing what they should.
Half way up the flight I noticed this postbox on the tow path, there is no house name or number on it and its not really outside a house. Anyone any idea why its there?DSCF4770 We soon cleared the locks when it started to rain, only a very light shower that didn’t last long, but you have to expect bad weather in July.

We carried on to Polesworth where we have moored on the far side of the village, we didn’t moor close to the villages as it looks as if the towpath is covered with raw sewage.DSCF4776 Almost as soon as we moored it started to rain again, but it didn’t last long and now the sun is out.

Today’s Journey  map 5 8¼ miles, 2 locks, 1 junction, 2 canals in 4¼ hours

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Thursday 30 June 2016 Somewhere

Yesterday we obviously set off 4½ hours too early as we had not been moored up long and the weather bucked up to a nice afternoon and evening.

This morning boats were passing quite early, I expect they had been holed up yesterday in the rain and were making the best of the fine weather. We set off about 10 am and passing the Tame Otter pub were surprised to see every mooring empty, again I can only guess they were hold up there all day yesterday and moved on this morning.

We stopped at Sutton Road Bridge at Fazeley to visit Sainsbury’s, not something we have done before, but its very convenient and only a 10 minute walk, there is also B&Q Maplin’s, Tool Station and lots of other outlets in the area.sainsbury's

After lunch we continued on to Fazeley Junction where we turned sharp right up the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. I stopped just through the junction to take a photograph and got my toe bitten by a Swan with 5 Cygnets, no sign of dad.DSCF4761 We continued up the B&F with Diana steering to the winding hole just before the locks, I think its the first time that Diana has winded the boat before coming back towards Fazeley to moor for the night near the Gravel Pit Bridge.

Today’s Journey  map 4

8¾ miles, 1 junction, 2 canals in 4 hours

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Well it rained most of yesterday evening, I did take a walk between showers and there was only room to moor a 45 foot boat between Alrewas Lock and the winding hole the other side of the village, its a popular stopping place.

We woke this morning to the sound of the rain so were in no hurry to get up of started, Diana decided she needed to go back to the Co-op so we finally got away at 11-35 am. in the rain. we were following another boat so both Bagnall and Common Locks were against us, but we did have one coming down above Common so no need to stop and close up, all the rest, thanks to oncoming boats were with us.
Yesterday I posted a picture of the Apes in the trees along this stretch of canal, today I noticed that there are also skeletons.DSCF4743

We stopped to fill with water at the Fradley CRT centre between Keepers Lock and Junction Lock, no Volockies on duty today. The tap is definitely one of the slower ones on the system. Up through Junction Lock and hard left onto the Coventry Canal passing through the small Swing Bridge. CRT did say they were going to fit a lock on this bridge but they seemed to have dropped the idea now. Just passed the water point we passed a moored boat called Song of the Waterways, this use to belong to the late Jeff Dennison song writer and singer of waterway songs.DSCF4745 As you can see its still raining.

We pushed on meeting several boats including passing a ex working pair on the wrong side at Streethay, well it looked easier all round to do that. The rain eased a bit and even stopped for a few minutes as we continued on to Whittington to moor for the night. The back end of the boat is on the Coventry canal and the front end on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal, this is what we see looking out of the galley side hatch, O and its still raining.DSCF4753

Today’s Journey  map 3

7½ miles, 5 locks, 3 canals, 2 Junctions (one we are moored on) 1 swing bridge in 4 hours.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Tuesday 28 June 2016 Alrewas

It was quite a short pound we were moored in last night and we were the first boat passed the lock moorings so we were buffeted around this morning when boats started moving up and down the flight. The first job was to cross the canal to the CRT facilities on the other side and dump the rubbish before setting off down the flight.
It was 9-50 am. when we set off and the Volockie was already hard at work at keepers Lock. He told us that the Volockie at Shadehouse Lock had found a lad there helping boats through and demanding money for it. Just passed Keepers lock we met a boat and he called out “Are you the Harnser from Floods Ferry?” so we obviously made an impression on the Middle Level.

As we passed the moorings down below Common Lock I spotted these Apes hanging aroundDSCF4736As we approached Alrewas  Lock we found it being worked for us, It was another ex moorer from Floods Ferry, Ray with his Staffy, Bones. The other boat who had recognised us rang Ray and told him we were coming so he had the lock ready for us.

The River Trent level was well into the green so no problem there, we headed down stream to Wychnor Lock which was against us, so after turning the lock and locking down Diana waited by the lock for my return, I was only going a few hundred meters to wind before returning, but just after leaving the lock I met the boat that had locked down before us coming back, so Diana helped them up the lock before turning it again for my return.

At the lock was a notice warning of dredging being carried out on the canal, I am not sure where they are dredging but they are removing the spoil just prior to the winding hole and a tug hadDSCF4740 just arrived with a full hopper and was unhitching it ready to take the empty away. They waited while I passed and winded which I must admit was not the neatest turn that I have ever done.

I returned to the lock just as Diana opened the bottom gate and we were soon up on the river again our destination Alrewas. Finding a spot on the 48hr moorings we pulled in on the last bit of straight bank just before the forecast rain started.

After lunch we wandered into the village, first stop buy the home made pickles and Lemon curd from the house gateway, then onto the butcher for pies and sausages followed by the Co-op for other odds and ends, by now the rain was just a light drizzle. Since we have been here boats have been mooring around the bends so the village must be quite full.
For the pub lovers the George and Dragon is closed and they are looking for new tenants if anyone fancies it.

Today’s Journey  map 2 4¾ miles, 8 Locks, 1 river (twice) in 3hr 20min

Monday, 27 June 2016

Monday 27 June 2016 Fradley

Well we are on the move again, we have been onboard for a week in the marina doing some internal painting as well as visiting Lichfield and my daughter.

We left the moorings at about 2.30 pm and exited the marina just as a small boat coming by so it was a slow run to Wood End Lock meeting several boats on the way. When we arrived at the lock the boat ahead was still waiting for an upcoming boat to leave the lock so he must have caught another boat up. Wood End Lock is somewhat slow because the top ground paddle has been out of use for some time. Also at the lock was a CRT operative and she was counting the boats passing through the lock, she was adamant the paddle had only been out of action since April but a boater coming up insisted it was last October. It loos as if it will be like it until next October because they need a stoppage to fix it. Once on our way again we were to meet two more boat before we arrived at Shade House Lock. As we approached a boat was leaving but luckily the Volockie saw us and left the gat open before going off duty. Middle lock was against us as was Junction Lock, but we were able to leave the gates open for a boat coming up. There was a mooring spot just big enough for us between the lock moorings and the first moored boat so we have slipped in there for the night opposite the CRT services.

Today’s Journeymap 1

2½ miles 4 locks I junction in 2 hours

Monday, 9 May 2016

King’s Bromley Marina Sunday 8 May 2016

Last night we had lovely meals at The Plumb Pudding moored right outside the back door. Also being behind the pub it blocked the noise from the road.

We were all set to leave this morning when the boat about to enter the Armitage tunnel backed up and pulled into the side and a small cruiser appeared from under the bridge. Being a gentleman I didn’t pull away in front of him but waited and waited and waited and then he came out from under the bridge, as soon as he passed us I was ready to go, but now a Narrowboat was coming out from under the bridge, so I waited and waited and waited, when he fully emerged it was obvious he was towing a second boat and the pair of them were with the little cruiser. The boat being towed was Voyager, the boat that had first sunk in Rugeley and then been vandalised. Right behind them was yet another Narrowboat who was not impressed at following them all. So I tagged on at the back. We didn’t follow for long as the 3 boats pulled in just round the corner. From here we had a clear run back to the marina, the boat ahead of us also going to King’s Bromley Marina.

I think its the first time I have ever turned into the marina with no wind, there is normally a good breeze blowing straight down the marina.

Today’s Journey  map 22 3½ miles, no locks in 1½ hours

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Armitage Saturday 7 May 2016

Well we made a bad decision yesterday by not continuing on to Wolseley Bridge. The trains normally stop running around 11 pm and then maybe the odd freight train during the night. Not last night, they were still every few minutes until gone midnight and then lots of freight trains over night, so not the best nights sleep. I think it was probably due to weekend engineering works on one of the adjoining routes so diverting everything, we didn’t see any traffic on the line that crosses the canal just above Colwich Lock. On the plus side we had two nice meals at the Clifford Arms with reasonable priced wine.

This morning as it was nice I decided to spend a bit of time removing some more rust bubbles off the roof before walking along and saying goodbye to to friends at the floating market.DSCF4690

It was gone 11am when we left meeting several boats as we made our way down to Colwich lock but we were still third in the queue when we arrived. Passing Bishton Hall it has a magnificent flowering Cherry just in front of it.DSCF4693  Our next stop was Taft Bridge to buy fresh eggs and to fill up with diesel, before stopping for lunch on the 48 hr visitor moorings between the Aqueduct and the Rugeley Bypass bridge. These where put in by the IWA,  we weren’t stopping for 48 hrs, just for lunch. For some reason the police were poking about down by the aqueduct.DSCF4695

One of the regular sights on the canal coming into Rugeley is now gone. One of the houses has a spoof speed camera, he also had a small cruiser complete with blue light moored there, he has just sold the boat.

Tesco called and we stopped to top up supplies before continuing south. Not far from Tesco’s one of the bungalows on the offside has a garden full of ornaments.DSCF4696

The last couple of times we have come through Rugeley there has been a sunken Narrowboat, well its been refloated but someDSCF4697 DSCF4239





toe rag has seen fit to kick the towpath side windows in.

The building work is pushing on behind The Ashtree Boat Club, I hope they enjoy boats moored outside their windows, or maybe the club has lost those moorings, its non towpath side.DSCF4698 Just through the next bridge we stopped to fill with water and I opened a tin of primer to touch up the treated rust spots, what happened? I hadn’t lifted the lid before the first drop of rain landed on my arm, then it chucked it down, so that is the end of the painting for today. Once the tank was full we pushed off, me steering under a brolly as it was far too warm to wear a coat. We decided to moor by the Plumb Pudding and eat there tonight, as soon as we moored up it stopped raining but we have had some horrendous thunder and lightning, its still rumbling out there now, but no more rain.

Today’s Journey  map 21 6¾ miles, 1 lock in 3½ hours