Sunday, 14 June 2015

King’s Bromley Marina Sunday 14 June 2015

We had a very good meal in the Plum Pudding last nigh, as you can see we couldn’t have moored any closer.DSCF9430 As you can see from the path it was dry over night, last night I swept the water away before we walked down the path to eat.

There was quite a bit of traffic about this morning and I was pleased that we were moored on rings the pull we had from some of the boats going by. We pushed off at 1030 am making our way slowly back to our marina. Someone had kindly organised a fly past for us.DSCF9432 I think there was some kind of run along the tow path yesterday as we saw lots of posts with arrows on them which is fine. What is not fine in my opinion is dayglow arrows painted on bridges.DSCF9436 These were also painted on trees and on bridge 60 there was also the instructions to “Turn Off” and more arrows. If you know who is responsible I would love to contact them and ask them to clean it off.

Passing through Handsacre there is a house with a fine collection of sheds in his garden.DSCF9435

Just before we reached King’s Bromley Marina we met Martin again coming the other way.DSCF9437 Within 5 minutes we would be turning into the entrance of the Marina, no one watching so round 90° and in through the entrance in one smooth move.

We were packed up quite quickly and on our way just after 1 pm. Just as we were about to turn onto the A38 we decided that we would go to The Plough at Huddlesford for lunch, we had been there 3 time in the past 7 days so why not once more. The place was packed but there was a table for two in the corner of the bar from where I could see right into the kitchen. The down side of this was I thought they were preparing our meals 3 times before they came to our table.

This trip we have done over 290 miles and 182 lock as we covered some of the bits more than once. canalplan.org.uk/ said this would take 147 hours

So that’s it until the next trip folks.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Armitage Saturday 13 June 2015

Well it started raining just before half three yesterday afternoon and has not stopped since, some times it was only drizzle and others very heavy , but mostly just a steady rain. In the 24 hours I recorder 17.5 mm.

We decided that we would stay put this morning and then after lunch head back to the marina as we were going home today or tomorrow anyway.

A little after 12 things brightened up and the rain almost stopped, after a short discussion we decided that we would go home tomorrow so tonight we would have to eat somewhere. The Plumb Pudding pub was only half an hour away, but we would have to go almost in to Rugeley to turn. the other alternative was back to the marina and out in the car to eat, so we decided to boat to the pub. bad move. We pushed off at ten to one and in less than a quarter of a hour it was raining steadily again, so we just pushed on.

At the Plum Pudding the moorings were full but we guessed they had stopped for lunch, Diana wanted some shopping so we would carry on to Rugeley, this would mean turning round at the winding hole the other side of Rugeley. The moorings in Rugeley were also full so we carried on with a view to stopping on the way back. At Taft Bridge, not far passed the winding hole there is a boat that sells diesel so I would motor to there, fill with diesel, reverse back to the winding hole and then stop in Rugeley. It was quite a bit further to Taft Bridge than I had remembered so after taking on 90 lt at 65p/lt I had to reverse ¾ mile before I could turn round.

On the way back we met some of the boats that had been moored by the pub, so hopefully there will be a space when we arrive. Crossing the Trent on the aqueduct it still looks as if waterDSCF9380 is bubbling up mid stream and there is a large water filled hole in the field by the aqueduct wall.  The photo was taken last time we passed as it was chucking it down today, but the temporary pipe bridge has needed reinforcing where it has sagged in the middle.

Arriving in Rugeley there was now space to moor and Diana could nip to Tesco for her shopping, by now it was raining even harder. Why didn’t we go with plan A?

Once the shopping was complete we were on the move again, as we travelled south the weather improved. Again we had a clear run through what use to be Armitage tunnel and once out the end we could see all the Plum Pudding moorings were now vacant. We are moored directly outside the rear entrance to the DSCF9428pub, you cant get any closer. This is the view from the from our front deck. Just as we finished mooring at 5-30 pm it stopped raining, but only for about 10 minutes.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Handsacre Friday 12 June 2015

Well it was nice to be away from the A38 at last. We left at our normal 10 am down to Alrewas lock. On the way through Alrewas we passed this cottage that is being re-thatched.

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There is a level indicator mounted below Alrewas Lock to show the height of the river, green is normal, yellow it is starting to flow a bit fast and red you really didn’t ought to be here. I don’t think I have seen it this far into the green before.DSCF9406 The river Trent comes in from the left a short way below the lock and flows for about 200 yards before going over the weir to the right. The weir is protected by a row of floating buoys. Or should we say boats are protected against going onto the weir by these buoys. I just wondered if these to shrank from getting too wet.DSCF9404 A nice steady run down to Wychnor Lock where we left the river and returned to the canal system, but not for long, we only went as far as the winding hole before turning and retracing our steps. We knew there were two boats following us down the river and the first arrived at the lock moments before us, so turned the lock to our favour. Then up the river again, There is very little flow on the river apart from the section at the top where the Trent joins and then leaves via the weir but the level is effected all the way to the lock. Again approaching Alrewas Lock there was a boat coming down so it was set for us. There were a few vacant mooring spots in the village but I think lots of people thought it would be a good place to stop with the weather forecast at the moment. I dropped Diana off at the first bridge and she walked into the village as there is a lady who sells home made jams and chutney’s at her garden gate, I met up with here again at Bagnell lock, While locking up I was able to get a better photograph of the living sculpture.DSCF9410

We continued up through Common Lock where there are some off side moorings, at one of them a boat is being fitted out and its at the end of these where what looks like a diesel tank stands, the delivery pump is still some way from being connected.

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At Fradley Locks I thing we caught most of the volunteers at lunch, there was one on duty at Keepers and then as we worked up Middle Lock another appeared. Other than that we were on our own. We continued on to Handsacre and as it started to rain and we were not actually heading for anywhere we decided to stop here for the night. If the weather turns as bad as they say, I will just reverse up in the morning to the winding hole that is only 40 yards behind us, turn and head back to the marina, if it is reasonable we will probably go to Rugeley.

Today’s Journey map 39 9 miles 12 locks in 5½ hours

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Alrewas Thursday 11 June 2015

Well following our blacking at Streethay Wharf (See my other Blog) we headed off to Fradley Junction, on the way we caught up with two other boats and we were only doing 2.5 MPH, Eventually the one in front of us overtook the front one but had to deploy fenders as the front one swung over and hit him as he passed. We caught up with the slow boat under the A38 road bridge and he pulled over and let me passed with no problem and a cheery smile so what happened when the other boat went by I don’t know.

We stopped at Fradley Junction to fill a very empty water tank and the Fradley tap is not the fastest in the world, it wasn’t helped when another boat arrived and started using the other tap. I had time for a beer and to go round with the rust treatment. When the tank was finally full it was off through the swing bridge that CRT have not got round to fitting a lock to and hard left into Fradley Lock on the Trent and  Mersey Canal.
Our timing was just right as a boat had just left the lock heading north and Diana was able to tell the volunteer lock keeper I was coming from the Coventry so the gates were still open.
To my surprise there was another volunteer lock keeper on Keepers lock but a boat ahead of us going down. The lock keeper said he had 30 boats through today plus what went through while he was at lunch. At  Hunts lock we were on our own which of course we had to turn and close behind ourselves.

It looks as if they plan to start selling diesel just above Common Lock as there is a large bunded plastic tank set up on the bank and a delivery pump still wrapped up near by. We didn’t meet any more boats, just that small flurry in Fradley. Half way between Common Lock and Bagnall Lock someone has done a lot of work on the offside moorings.DSCF9395 Down at Alrewas just above Bagnall Lock the sculptured living hedge is coming on really well. I will try to get further away for a photograph on the way back. DSCF9396  We had been told that Alrewas was deserted, this wasn’t quite true but there were a few spots left and we managed to get into one just before the foot bridge. Today has probably been the warmest this year, but the pressure has been steadily falling for the past couple of days and the forecast is not that great for the next few days.

PS. I have already scraped the black on the hull sides.

Today’s Journey  map 38

5 Miles, 5 Locks, 1 Swing bridge and 2 canals in 3¼ hours.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Streethay Slipway Monday 8 June 2015

We were due to come out for blacking and a new rudder cup tomorrow morning, so the plan was to take the car today to Streethay and then cruise around a bit mooring overnight opposite the boat yard.

Now what happened.

At 8-30 we got a phone call from Streehay saying they were running ahead and the slip was empty, where we in the area and if so could we come today. It was just on 9am when I left the marina alone, Diana was taking the car to Fradley and would meet me there.

The morning was lovely, tee-shirt weather and the canal quite busy, I met 4 boats before Woodend Lock. At Woodend there was a boat already going down so I left the bows against the top gate and closed up the offside for them before turning the lock. The lock was nearly empty when Diana walked up, she had parked the car at bridge 91 on the Coventry Canal and walked back to meet me.

Down at Shadehouse lock a boat had slipped out ahead of me and as I passed one coming up went really hard aground. At the locks there were volunteer lock keepers on duty which helped. Leaving Shadehouse there was a boat just exiting Middle Lock, ideal and after that one came out of the Coventry towards us. I indicated to the volunteer at Junction lock we were turning left and he very kindly left his lock and walked round to open the swing bridge for us. CRT still haven’t fitted a lock to the swing bridge, but they still intend to.

I dropped Diana off at bridge 91 so that she could take the car to Streethay.

The farmer is extracting water from the canal just before bridge 91, I think we need more of this as it puts speed hump on theDSCF9385 towpath and may well slowdown some of the speeding cyclists.

The house at Brookhay Bridge looks as if its been sold at long last. It looks a nice place in the middle of nowhere. It was not long after this that Diana was again coming up the towpath towards me.

At Streethay I pulled along side the service quay and reported in. It was some little while before they were ready for us. Because we were facing south the turn into the slipway is to tight, so we had to go down to the wide section, turn and approach from the other direction to be able to line up with the ramp. While I had been doing this they had run a trolley down the slipway to haulDSCN1443 us out on. As Harnser is a bit deeper at the bows than most boats I had to back off so they could push the trolley further down. then forward until we bottomed out and keep the power on as they pulled the trolley up the ramp to take the weight.

The yard above the slipway has had a polytunnel erected over it to give a covered area for working under but a good air flow to dry the boat.

Today’s Journeymap 37

5¾ miles, 3 locks, 2 canals, 1 slipway in 2¼ hours.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

King’s Bromley Marina Sunday 7 June 2015

Not quite as warm this morning when we set of at ten past ten, needless to say as soon as I moved out to go passed the boat ahead another boat came through the bridge hole. Just the other side of the bridge was moored Wrens Nest a fellow blogger so we stopped for a chat until another boat came up behind us forcing us to move on.  The diesel boat “Dexta” at Taff Bridge is now charging 65p/lt for diesel, if we weren’t coming up the slipway tomorrow I would have filled up, but I felt it better to have the backend as light as possible.

It looks as if its been a very good year for Buttercups as we have seen several fields of grass that are absolutely yellow with them.DSCF9376

Some time ago the local IWA branch installed a set of visitor moorings between the Bypass and the Trent Aqueduct, these are now well established and looking good.DSCF9377

Beside the river Trent there is quite a bit of equipment in the field and it looks as if they are drilling under the river to install a newDSCF9379 water main, there is what looks like a temporary plastic one crossing the river on a bridge. Mid stream in the river it looks as if the old one has ruptured and is blowing up through the river bed. DSCF9380

We moored up in Rugeley for a while, first to do a bit of shopping followed by lunch and then to complete the town sight seeing tour. Last time we stopped we picked a leaflet up from the library that listed places of interest and a map, but last time was winter and the weather was horrible, today was a  lot more like summer, just a bit of breeze to chill things when exposed. Rugeley is quite an interesting place and the walk was well worth while, it even took us into Weatherspoons, but somehow I didn’t get as far as the bar, just the stained glass.

We left Rugeley about quarter past three to make our way back to our marina for the night. This shed on the outskirts of Rugeley is getting worse, it almost makes me proud of my old shed with holes in the back.DSCF9381 

There was surprising little traffic about this afternoon and the moorings at Handsacre where almost empty with only one boat there. Once back in the marina we made our way to out newmap marina mooring, this one is only just  through the bridge into the small second basin and we hope it will be more sheltered than the old one.

Today’s Journey about 9 miles in about 3½ hour and no map as it didn’t start tracking until we left Rugeley.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Wolseley Bridge Saturday 6 June 2015

The weather this morning was not quite so good as yesterday and this was the sunset we had last night.DSCF9367

It was only a short run to Western lock which we expected to be with us as we had just had a boat come by, but we found it empty. It was not long before we could see the boat ahead so we eased off so as not to catch him, our target for mooring was Gt. Haywood which was not that far away. At Hoo Mill lock there was a boat coming up and one waiting below. As we went down the lady from the boat below thought see recognised us and it turned out we both moor in King’s Bromley Marina, even more coincidently when we left the lock I recognised her boat and husband as being the one we followed out of the Caldon Canal earlier this week when we had to wait over an hour. We found a mooring OK 3 boats below Gt Haywood junction, it was the only one. Our reason for stopping here was my son and grandsons were coming for lunch (we thought)
The activity around the junction was quite interesting with boats trying to turn in and out as well as go passed. One boat came passed and the went passed again backwards before coming passed a third time forwards, he was looking for a mooring.

Quarter to two and I get a text “we will see you for tea” With that we decided to head off to Wolseley Bridge and meet him there. We were to meet 3 more boats from our marina in the course of the afternoons travels.

There was an event taking place at Gt Haywood consisting of running and canoeing. When we dropped through Haywood lock there were canoes everywhere, no warning notice on the lock, noDSCN1440 Marshalls. they were using the lock moorings as a point to launch and get  out and as it was a point to point thing they had a point on the offside just below the lock as well. There was a boat waiting to come into the lock and as he went towards the lock a canoe came up beside him and straight round his bows, I bet he didn’t even know about it.
The points they were finding were marked white fenders, tying one just through a bridge hole and one to the lock landing wasDSCF9371 not the brightest idea to my mind and the one blind below the lock gates was just madness.

We arrived at Colwich lock just as a boat was leaving and there were three more below waiting to come up, we were certainly going the right way today.

At Wolseley Bridge there were only three boats moored before the bridge which left a nice gap for us to drop into and await the arrival of the boys.

We all went to the Wolseley Arms for diner at 6 pm and the places was packed, they fitted us in on 3 round tables up the corner of the bar sitting on the sofa, it was that or nothing. Although they were very busy the service was good and the food well cooked and fresh all coming out in a timely manor. It took a few minutes for the waitress to get the idea of the boys having main courses at the same time as dads starter but when the boys the asked for a starter after their main courses because they were still hungry she didn’t bat an eyelid and they arrived before we had finished our main courses.

Today’s Journeymap 35 5½ miles, 4 locks in 2¾ hours