Tuesday, 5 January 2016

King’s Bromley Tuesday 5 January 2016

Woke to a very pleasant morning and set off at 1030, The Trent is contained within its bank now which is just as well as it has to pass under the canal. One of the canal side properties as you enter Rugley has a large covered swimming pool, if you have ever boated this route will have certainly noticed it, what was unusual today was that it was being used as a motorbike garage.DSCF1162 We stopped in Rugley at Tesco to top up with non perishables as its a very short distance from the canal to the shop. Just as we were about to leave the CRT boat checker came by on his bike, when I saw him later loading his bike into a CRT van he told me had just ridden 30K recording boats. As you approach The Ashwood Boat club there are two gardens where they keep birds of pray, today one of them was sitting out on the lawn.DSCF1163 I’m not sure what it is, but its big.

Back to the marina we stopped of at the service pontoon for a pumpout  before returning to our berth the end of another trip.

This screen shot from MotionX GPS shows our route through theour mooring marina marked up in blue, it clearly shows the spur to the service pontoon then under the bridge and into our slot. If you fancy looking closer then just go to http://gps.motionx.com/maps/44d79d9547cd034c84e5aef39051b56a

Tomorrow we drive home.

Today’s Journey  map 17  8½ miles in 3 hours

Monday, 4 January 2016

Taft Bridge Monday 4 January 2016

Well yesterday evening was much better than the the day and we went to bed under a star filed sky.

This morning we woke to a much better day we had 6½mm of rain yesterday. Setting off at 10 am we were somewhat surprised how the River Sow had risen over the past week.DSCF1152A Kingfisher sat watching us from a barb wire fence beside the canal, I took one shot of him hoping that he would stay as we passed, but it wasn’t to be and he flitted off just after the bows of the boat were level with him. DSCF1147

The River Sow links looks a lot closer today than it has for some time, I do wonder what the effects of floods will be if the link goes ahead.DSCF1155

The expanse of water at Tixal Wide is about the same both sides of the tow path. After leaving the wide at bridge 108 where they are sinking a large bore hole beside the canal they were hard at work pumping concrete slurry down, if they intend tunnelling under the canal I wonder how long it will be before they hit the water the other side. Just before the Trent Aqueduct there is a large house standing back from the canal, in front of the house last week was a large expanse of grass, today there is a large pond. DSCF1158

A clear run out of the junction at Gt Haywood and then sharp right on the Trent and Mersey Canal, Haywood lock was with us  and we were soon passing Shugborough Hall, another property that now has a lake in the front garden whether they want it or not. The River Trent is the water in the foreground.DSCF1160 We carried on in the nice weather, we had had some slight drizzle but nothing to bother about. Just before Colwich lock we met a boat, I expected it to be a full length ex working boat but it was quite short and painted in Willow Wren livery. Below Colwich the level of the river and the canal are approximately the same but there is still some way for the river to rise before it tops the towpath and effects navigation. It was a tossup whether we stopped at Wolseley Bridge or carry on a bit, as it was fine we decided to push on and top up with diesel at Taft Bridge.
When we passed here on our way out there was a boat undercover in the field, its now been re-launched and is looking splendid in its new paint work and it looks as if fitting  out work is going on. We stopped opposite it and filed up with diesel as its the cheapest in the area and then only went a couple of hundred yards before mooring on the towpath for the night at 2 pm. This gives us a nice run back to the marina in the morning.

Today’s Journey  map 16

10 miles, 4 locks, 1 Junction and 2 canals in 4 hours.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Acton Trussell Sunday 3 January 2016

After a reasonable night we woke to the rain, well it was forecast for the whole day.

We set off in full waterproofs at about quarter to eleven dropping down to Penkridge lock where we filled with water, just above the service moor is a long length of private moorings, this sign amused me, but then I am easily pleased.DSCF1142

It was here that I almost had my first swim of the year, putting the water hose away I stood on the bow rope which rolled my foot and almost pitched me off the fore deck.

Not only was it raining but all the locks were against us as we pushed on. The M6 motorway is quite close for the next few miles and its not until you are above Acton Trussell that it veers away so we continued on mooring between Acton Trussell and Deptmore Lock.

Today’s Journey  map 14

4 miles, 5 locks in 2½ hours and it rained every inch of the way.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Penkridge Saturday January 2 2016

Boy did it blow last night, it was hitting us side on in sharp gusts. but things were much better this morning when we set off at
10-45 am. The weather was much better than forecast. When I looked last night it said rain all day, but apart from lunch time when we were moored up it has only been light drizzle or fine.

We Calf Heath Marina, but I am still not sure if the place is open or not and if you wanted to eat there where to moor. DSCF1134The signs and flags all look new.

We stopped for lunch on the Gailey visitor moorings which was good timing, because that is when it decided to rain properly. Leaving there a little later the rain had stopped and it was even a bit warmer. On the way out I posted a photograph of all the JD boats moored along the canal, they have just about as many on the hard standing as well. There are more behind this row.DSCF1137 Galey lock just like the rest was against us which slowed progress slightly. While I steered the boat Diana walked from one lock to the next, we did 4 locks like this. At Otherton Lock this car was parked on top of the canal bridge. DSCF1138 Just below the bridge I saw something I have never seen before, a couple working the towpath with a metal detector. I wouldn’t have thought it very rewarding when you consider they are only about 200 years old, and have probably been resurfaced and repaired many times since then, not only that its all metal piling with steel tie back bars just under the surface.

All the locks on this canal are named and each one has a wooden name board, each name board was carved by hand by Mr Cox, the last being unveiled in 1989, It took him some 3 years to complete the task.DSCF1139

We moored in Penkridge just before The Cross Keys pub where we are planning to eat tonight, it will be our first meal out this year, it will also be the first meal out this trip. Directly where we are moored live some lucky kid looking at the Tree House beside the canal complete with spiral staircase, unless its Dad’s Den.DSCF1140

Today’s journey  map 13

8¼ Miles, 5 locks in 3¾ hours

Friday, 1 January 2016

Coven Heath Friday 1 January 2016

We helped Joules Holland see the New Year in with a glass of bubbly before switching over to watch London on BBC1, I am glad I wasn’t not paying for that display. We could hear fireworks around us from about 10 pm. but couldn’t see them. We went to  bed early this morning to a clear starlight sky, over night we almost had our first frost of the year when it dropped to 0.5°C.

This morning warmed nicely and it was quite pleasant when we set off just after 11 am.  It wasn’t long before we met the first boat of the day coming towards us so we would be sure of some of the locks being with us. The towpath was full of groups of walkers, some with dogs all enjoying a stroll.

They are building flats on the sight of  the old Limekiln ChandleryDSCF1127 at Compton, he use to sell the cheapest diesel in the area, but now Oxley Marine between  Autherley Junction and Aldersley Junction have taken on that mantle, today it was down to 60p. We met a second boat coming down Compton Lock so I walked up to help, I think the couple with a rather smart Hudson boat had their grandson with them, he was slightly disappointed to find the white bearded old chap in a bright red boiler suit was not Father Christmas.After they left the lock I went back to Harnser and made a right pigs ear of entering the lock, the flow from the by-wash took me straight across to the offside so I had to drop well back and start the approach over again. Coming into Wolverhampton I spotted one just one of the pair of Dabchicks that had been here on our way down, I just hope its mate is still about.DSCF1128

Just north of Autherley Junction this young lady can be seen on the corner of a landing stage.DSCF1129 Just as we entered the Narrows it started to spit with rain, it would have been nice to have moored up with completely dry cloths. At the end of the Narrows these signs have appeared along the fence asking for witnesses from an incident 2½ years ago. I have no idea why they have happened now.DSCF1132 We carried on under the M54 Motorway and through Coven Heath bridge before mooring for the night, the A449 is a bit noisy but it would be several miles before we are clear of that.

Today’s Journey  map 12  

8½ miles 6 Locks 1 Junction in 3¾ hours

Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bratch Thursday 31 December 2015

We woke to a lovely morning, the sun was out, there was no wind and the Cockerels were crowing and boy did they know how to crow. It was a lot different to the 10mm of rain we had had in the previous 24 hrs

We set off at 10-30 am and immediately met a boat so that helped the lock situation. We stopped just above the lock at the services to take on water and dispose of rubbish. The day was most pleasant but a little cooler than of late, the towpath was full of joggers all going at different rates, some in groups chatting some alone checking watches as they went. About a mile north of here you come to Hinksford with a long length off offside private moorings, this meant I was travelling slowly when I spotted some fishing rods out over the canal laying on the tow path. I immediately stopped and two lads came running, winding in rods as the passed them, there were two more further up. It turned out they had at least 5 between them and even though I stopped before I reached the first one, his bate was actually behind me but luckily for them close to the towpath. The eldest lad was in such a rush his trousers had slipped down below hisDSCF1119 pants as he wound the lines in. Unfortunately he turned slightly just as I took this photo, but you can just see the orange glow, it brought a smile to our faces,

The Botterham staircase lock was set ready for us with top pound full and bottom empty, it must be due to leaking top gates as there is no way a boater would leave it like that.
Yesterday I posted a photograph of the stop plank groves above Stewponey Lock, well the ones slightly further not are not as ornate with the nice curves of yesterday but still very practicalDSCF1122

We stopped at Sainsbury’s at Wombourne to replenish supplies, Its a handy stop with visitor moorings and rings right beside bridge 43. When we returned from shopping it had turned quite dull and quite a bit cooler. As we approached The Bratch it started to spit with rain and as I entered the bottom chamber the wind picked up and it was throwing it down, this carried on all the way to the top. The top gate of the flight is leaking badly due to all the rubbish that is trapped in the gate paddle, when you windDSCF1124 it down it doesn’t bottom out but just bounces on all the branches in there.
Once clear of the flight we moored for the night on the visitor mooring rings, needless to say within ten minuets the rain had passed.

Today’s Journey  map 11 4¼ miles, 10 locks including a staircase and The Bratch  in 3¼hours.

Bratch Thursday 31 December 2015

We woke to a lovely morning, the sun was out, there was no wind and the Cockerels were crowing and boy did they know how to crow. It was a lot different to the 10mm of rain we had had in the previous 24 hrs

We set off at 10-30 am and immediately met a boat so that helped the lock situation. We stopped just above the lock at the services to take on water and dispose of rubbish. The day was most pleasant but a little cooler than of late, the towpath was full of joggers all going at different rates, some in groups chatting some alone checking watches as they went. About a mile north of here you come to Hinksford with a long length off offside private moorings, this meant I was travelling slowly when I spotted some fishing rods out over the canal laying on the tow path. I immediately stopped and two lads came running, winding in rods as the passed them, there were two more further up. It turned out they had at least 5 between them and even though I stopped before I reached the first one, his bate was actually behind me but luckily for them close to the towpath. The eldest lad was in such a rush his trousers had slipped down below hisDSCF1119 pants as he wound the lines in. Unfortunately he turned slightly just as I took this photo, but you can just see the orange glow, it brought a smile to our faces,

The Botterham staircase lock was set ready for us with top pound full and bottom empty, it must be due to leaking top gates as there is no way a boater would leave it like that.
Yesterday I posted a photograph of the stop plank groves above Stewponey Lock, well the ones slightly further not are not as ornate with the nice curves of yesterday but still very practicalDSCF1122

We stopped at Sainsbury’s at Wombourne to replenish supplies, Its a handy stop with visitor moorings and rings right beside bridge 43. When we returned from shopping it had turned quite dull and quite a bit cooler. As we approached The Bratch it started to spit with rain and as I entered the bottom chamber the wind picked up and it was throwing it down, this carried on all the way to the top. The top gate of the flight is leaking badly due to all the rubbish that is trapped in the gate paddle, when you wind it down it doesn’t bottom out but just bounces on all the branches in there. Once clear of the flight we moored for the night on the visitor mooring rings, needless to say within ten minuets the rain had passed..

Today’s Journey  map 11 4¼ miles, 10 locks including a staircase and The Bratch  in 3¼hours.