Thursday, 18 August 2022

Gnosall

We left a little before 10 after a dry night. We had a couple of boats come past in the dark and by this morning all the visitor moorings were full. Needles to say just as I undid the front rope a boat pushed off at the other end of the moorings towards us so I waited until they were passed.
Just through the bridge before you get to Countrywide Cruisers the offside bank has been cleaned up and a lot of the boats gone, but there is still one SSSI moored there.DSCF7000

Crossing the aqueduct and passing Industrial Narrowboats yard there are a lot of boats from Canal and River Services moored opposite as well as some out of the water in the yard. I thought they were based at Weston on the T&M, have they moved?
We only had one lock today at Wheaton Aston and that was in much better condition than we last passed through it. As you can see there is plenty of water coming down the bywash.DSCF7002

We stopped below the lock to fill with water, the hose started off with really good pressure but then died away a bit, but not too bad, it was also an opportunity to dump the rubbish. We stopped again just through the bridge to at Turners to fill with diesel, its the cheapest I have seen for several months at £1-15.9 domestic rate. We hadn’t gone far when I spotted a Peehen with her single chick on the off side, not something you see every day on the canals.DSCF7004

We met a steady flow of boats but not a busy as yesterday.Its nice to see that Gnosall tunnel still has the old black and white sign, a lot less garish than the new blue ones. DSCF7006

Our plan was to moor for the night in Gnosall and go for a meal, thankfully there were still a couple of empty mooring slots between the pubs, but not for long.

We had a passenger for a short time, other than being a butterfly I don’t have a clue.

 

Todays Journeyimage

8.5 miles, 1 lock in 4¼ hour

To see the whole journey so far click HERE for a Google map.

Brewood Wed 17 Aug 2022

We had rain on and off all night last night, not hammering it down, just nice useful rain, Thankfully it cleared up in the early hours and we had a fine day.
We set off at our normal 10am after a much cooler night which improves the quality of sleep.
This is the only mile marker that I have spotted on this canal, there may be more hidden away.DSCF6992

We met a steady stream of boats as we made our way to Autherley Junction. One of the things we passed was these remains of a structure on theDSCF6993

canal bank, I suspect its something to do with the railway as this is where the line runs closest to the canal as can be seen on the map below.image

On the outskirts of Wolverhampton I just managed to spot some fishing poles across the canal and slowed down for them, I couldn’t see any of the fishermen until the first lifted his pole, they were all tucked well into the undergrowth.DSCF6995

We arrived at Autherley junction to find a boat hovering in the centre of the canal, a boat had just left the Shroppie but he still sat there and when I got closer indicated he was waiting to go up the Shroppie. I pulled in so that Diana could hop off with a windless which was just as well as 2 more boat came out of the junction with a third about to turn the lock to follow. I think the other boat thought I was going to nip ahead so he went ashore and walked round to the lock, no windlass.
Once we cleared the lock we stopped at bridge No.2 firstly for lunch and then for Diana to visit Morrisons.
last time we were this way they were putting pads down in the park on the offside, I thought they would be for an outdoor gym, but I was wrong, they were bases for seats.DSCF6996

Passing the Wolverhampton Boat Club I looked back just in time to see a Kingfisher flit across the canal and land on the tiller arm of one of the moored boats.DSCF6998

There is a lot more traffic on the Shroppie than on the Staff and Worcester canal and we carried on for an hour and a half under Avenue Bridge to moor forDSCF6999

the night on the Brewood visitor moorings. Once moored I set to removing the pigeon box window I tried to seal last night and do the job properly. I hope.  Originally I sealed the wooden frame to the sealed plastic hinge with silicon, I suspected it had come away from the wood, but I was wrong and it had stuck to the wood and not the plastic. This time I used Wickes’s Hybrid bond – seal – fix and it the bond from last night is anything to go by it should be good.

Today’s journeyimage

    11 miles, 1 lock in 4½ hours

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Ash Green

We were away at quarter to nine this morning after yet another restless night and still no rain. A single handed boater passed before we set off so we gave him a bit of space before following, but we met both met boats at most lock so things flowed nicely. The weather was warm but not hot and we bumped into a fellow Cutweb member, Dave on the way.
One thing that caught my eye was this cow going for bit of a paddle, the pound was about 8” off weir.DSCF6984

I do wonder how some boaters see where they are going, this would send me mad if it was my boat, I don’t like people standing on the tug deck getting in my line of vision.DSCF6985

I noticed the brickwork behind the bottom gates of one of the locks, probably Shut Hill Lock but I didn’t make a note of it. It struck me as being very elaborate just for a recess for gate paddles to sit in with the gates open.DSCF6987

Up at Longford lock nor only have they made a nice job of the new edging stones but they have also fitted new bottom gates.DSCF6988

We carried on up through Penkridge and Gailey steadily meeting boats which was good, we past the single hander but then picked up another but the downward flow kept us moving nicely.
We passed a boat above Gailey with this painted on the side of the cabin, what could you add?DSCF6990

Past the do not moor here chemical works, I would love to know their authority to ban mooring, not that I want to stop there as it stinks and stopped just short of Hatherton Junction. With the forecast of rain I decided to reseal one of the hinges on the pigeon box and made it several times worse, needles to say the desperately needed rain has started and its like a leaky bucket.DSCF6991

Todays Journeyimage

9 miles, 10 locks in 5¼ hours

Monday, 15 August 2022

Acton Trussell

We didn’t sleep particularly well last night with the heat again last night so we were on our way at 8-30 this morning. I don’t think I have ever seen this part of the system so busy, we met boat after boat. We managed to meet two boats at the church bend just before the Plumb Pudding, we then waited at Armitage tunnel for an oncoming boat. WE stopped for water at Spode for water and by the time we were full there were two more boats waiting for the tap.
Rothen group are doing more piling, this time in Rugeley wit conventional piling.DSCF6976

It good to see Naomi’s Landing have changed there display yet again, it brighten things on the canal.DSCF6978

As we approached Colwich Lock I spotted this pair of ducks on the towpath, from shape they look like Indian Runners but I have not seen that colouring before.DSCF6980

What was a surprise were the number of vacant moorings at Gt Haywood, I paused in the junction with the Staffs and Worcester canal with the bows in the bridge hole while Diana dumped the rubbish, The S&W is definitely a lot quieter than the T&M. Passing a moored boat it had a cage on the slide with these white birds in it. It seemed a bit strange leaving out like that.DSCF6981

  On the edge of Tixal Wide this chap was looking for his lunch balanced on a floating branch.DSCF6982

We should have moored somewhere around here, but as the weather was very pleasant, warm not hot we decided to push on a bit and finally moored for the night about 3 foot from the bank a short way above Deptmore Lock a little before 5pm.

  Todays Journeyimage

18 miles 4 Locks in 8¼hours

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Wood End Lock

We were away just before 9 am this morning after a rather warm night. Nice Takeaway from Peninsular Cantonese and far more than we wanted to eat so seconds tonight. Since the pandemic you can no longer dine in, just Takeaway or delivery.
Just before we set off the Cheese boat came by but we only followed them a short way to Tamworth Retail Park moorings. The canal was quite busy although the moorings outside The Tame Otter at Hopwas were empty, it’s probably where all the boats we met came from. Just passing the moored boats dead slow at Hopwas wood and a boat pulled out just as I was passing the boat moored behind him, he had been watching me coming since I cleared the bridge. He then chugged along while his wife walked the dog and did an emergency stop in the bridge to pick her up. His speed on the open canal was less than I like doing but he slowed very little passing moored boats so pull away from me. He finally pulled over and moored so we slid by with a “how Do”.

They were harvesting the beans on the offside, thankfully the wind was away from us as the cloud of dust was something else.DSCF6971

I suppose if you are broken down this may get you home, but I wouldn’t want to be following it for miles DSCF6972

After Streethay but before the waterworks at Brookhay CRT/ Rothen Group are replacing the wooden piling with more wooden piling. DSCF6973There is a single line railway running almost parallel to the canal here, I always thought it was just a freight line but today there was a twin unit passenger train, the same as used on the main West Coast Line.

Just before Bridge 89, Bell bridge for some time there has been a sunken ex BWB work boat on the off side, just behind the narrow beam Dutch Barge which has been there as long as I can remember, well the sunken boat has gone and the Narrowboat has had the wheelhouse removed.DSCF6974

We carried on to Fradley Junction which was quite quiet, even the swing was open and I went straight out onto the Trent and Mersey canal turning left up to the lock. no Volockies around in this heat but Diana soon turned the lock, she walked up to Shadehouse lock and waved for me to leave the top gates open when I left. I expected to meet a boat but they were above the lock and the lock was empty. then it was off up to Woodend Lock, the cottage now behind the HS2 security fencing and deserted, as are the moorings. I tried to get onto one of the offside moorings above the lock for the shade, but they are far too silted up, so we moored towpath side in the best of the shade we could get.

Todays Journeyimage

12 miles, 3 locks in 5 hours

Saturday, 13 August 2022

Fazeley Junction

We arrived at the marina a little after 12 30 but it was heading towards 3pm before we got away.
We only met one boat on our way to Glascote Locks but we were third in the queue when we got there with a boat just coming up. When it was our turn to go down there was a boat in the bottom lock coming up so we waited for them, then when it was our turn to go, we emptied the top lock a boater was just filling the bottom one so we should pass in the middle. I think there was someone steering when it left the lock.DSCF6967These locks are slow at the best of times but now the bottom lock has the near side bottom paddle taped up. Passing the Tamworth Boat club we saw this parked on the grass, not many of them about now but there was on at Park Farm Marina when we were there.DSCF6968

We chugged on to Fazeley Junction to moor for the night, I was going a bit further but a Fazeley Chinese Takeaway swung the decision.
This trip may be slightly more exciting than some we have done as we are heading to Northwich Dry Dock for blacking. This is our proposed route and itinerary.https://canalplan.uk/journey/17878_cp for the 2 weeks.

Todays Journey image

3¾ miles, 2 locks in 2¼ hours

Monday, 25 July 2022

Home moorings

We set off at 9-30 this morning and no sooner had I sprung off to the far side of the canal, there were two boats moored between us and the bridge, a boat appeared the other side of the bridge, well two of them actually.
For those of you have been around the canal for some years you may remember a little shop in a garden shed , canal side called Canal Crafts on the Coventry canal. It closed down many years ago although you can still find the odd sign pointing to it the house is now being redeveloped.DSCF6929

A little further on, just before the moorings they are carrying out some major work on the overhead power cables.DSCF6931

After meeting the two boats just after we set off we didn’t meat any more boats all the way back to the marina.

The whole trip.image

Today’s Journeyimage

2¼ miles, no locks in just 1 hour.

Saturday, 23 July 2022

Glascote Visitor Moorings

Last night we ate in the Dog and Doublet as they do Chinese food 4 nights a week and can recommend it. A bit boringly we both had the same main course, One Pot Malaysian Lamb Curry, and it was full of good meat. As we left the pub it was raining but we had taken a brolly with us.
This morning we woke to a fine, warm morning, back to our normal 10am start as no rush to get anywhere, we followed a Canal Time boat down the last 3 locks of the flight, we have seen very few boats going up, most have been coming down. I said yesterday that when we took on water it was warm, so today we decided to jettison the lot and refill with fresh water outside Fazeley Mill Marina, it also gave us the opportunity to buy a couple of ice creams. The tap outside the marina has just been repaired and the threaded outlet is smaller that most CRT water taps, luckily I carry a set of reducers so not a problem for us.
Once that was sorted it was a slow chug to Fazeley junction and then up the Glascote Locks, as we approached a boat was leaving the bottom lock and as we locked up, another boat entered the top lock to come down, good result all round. We only went as far as the 48hr moorings above Glascote locks and moored up for the night.

Todays Journeyimage 5¼ miles, 5 locks in 4 hours.

Friday, 22 July 2022

Dog and Doublet, Curdworth

We had about ¼” of rain last night but it’s been fine all day today. We set off at 9am. backwards as usual down to Salford Junction and then along the Birmingham and Fazeley canal towards Fazeley.Minworth top lock was empty but as we were about to leave a boat came towards us so it looked good for the other two. We stopped for water just below the lock but couldn’t get the tap to run cold so we will make a point of not drinking it until we can refill the tank. At Minworth middle a boat had just turned the lock as we arrived so bit of a delay there then the bottom lock was empty when we arrived.
We continued on to the Curdworth flight, the traffic along the motorway was very slow with the exception of the fire engine and Rescue  unit speeding along the hard shoulder, I think there may have been a couple of ambulances as well.
When we passed here last week there was just a cement lorry on site, all this has appeared in less than a week.DSCF6924

This was the same view last week.DSCF6815
We arrived at Curdworth top lock to find it empty so things not looking too good work wise, but as we were leaving a boat came towards us, but stopped at the water point, so we closed up behind us. The rest of the locks should have all been full, but 4 out of the 8 locks we have done in the flight have been faulty so the levels were all over the place. At one lock this little chap was sat on the towpath, but mum was just in the hedgerow and came and joinedDSCF6925 him after Diana had passed, but she soon beetled off and left him alone again.DSCF6926

We met one more boat coming out of lock 8 and while we were in the lock Diana nipped down to see if there were any moorings free in the next pound. The answer was a thumbs up so we locked down and moored just before the pub where we plan to have a Chinese meal tonight.

Todays Journeyimage

10 miles 11 locks in 4¾ hours

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Star City, Nechells

Well overnight it rained and this morning there was lots of noise outside, They moor all the electric boat round here and I thought it was them doing something but they were actually pressure washing all the paving, no goose poo today. Yesterday evening they pressure washed the walls, thankfully they didn’t make any mess on the boat. As it continued to rain and we were in no hurry to get anywhere we stayed put for the morning, The ex-working boat Swift came round the loop twice, first time empty and second with a load of passengers under umbrellas, unfortunately he failed to make the turn both times putting another dint in the wall.DSCF6907

The rain finally stopped at about 1-30pm and everyone one had the same idea, the boat moored ahead of us backed out through the junction and down to the roundabout before heading through Gas Street, 2 hire boats left their mooring from outside the NIA and followed him, we backed out and went down the Farmers Bridge flight. Lots of new cladding has been fitted to the buildings on the offside but there is still a lot of work ongoing.DSCF6909

We met a boat between 5 and 6 so all the rest of the locks were full and another boat just below lock 11.
Down at Aston Junction there was a share boat conveniently moored on the lock moorings having lunch, the up side was all the  Aston locks were full. I have never seen the pound so full before, DianaDSCF6912 got a wet foot as I came into the lock.Lots of water going down the bywashes, but it disappeared before it reached the bottom of the flight. Part was down I could see they were dismantling one of the old gasometers, I don’t know if its being scrapped or preserved.DSCF6916

We had planned to moor in the long pound between 8 and 9 on the offside, but we met yet another boat who said the 9 to 10 pound was very low, so we knew if it was bad now it would be impassable in the morning so we decided to plod on. A good move because as we went I scraped the bottom several times and had problems getting out of lock 9 having to wait for the level to settle and lift me off the bottom.DSCF6917

When we got to lock 10 it was empty but the canal seems a bit deeper just here and even with Diana drawing a bit of water to fill it I stayed afloat, of course the levels below this were fine, but very little water flowing compared to the top.
There are no longer any visitor moorings at Cuckoo Wharf, the old signages was very confusing as to where they were supposed to be.Now its quite clear.

DSCF6921

Down at Salford Junction we turned very hard right, out onto the B&F and then up the GU to Star City for the night, Tomorrow we will reverse to the junction and head off down the B&F.

This is the last time I will update the map of our total journey as tomorrow we will just be retracing our steps from when we set off.image

Todays Journey image

3½ miles 24 locks in 4½ hours