Saturday 29 November 2014

Saturday 29 November 2014 King’s Bromley

Last night we had a pleasant meal in The Olde Peculiar, I have not had fagots for a long time.

Once back on the boat I stripped down the water pump that was leaking and applied some sealant to the diaphragm as it seems a better pump than the one I fitted yesterday.

The mooring is the best we have had for a few days and nice and quiet.

This morning I changed the pumps over again and it looks as if the leak is cured. I also changed some of the rigid pipe for flexible to cut down on vibration. This made it a bit when we got away this morning. Again there was grass on the deck, just like last time we moored here.

It was only 2 miles back to the moorings, not enough to charge the batteries so when we got back I hooked the mains charger up for a few hours.
We headed down to the local garden centre in the car for lunch, good home made cooking and then back to the boat to do a bit more work, changing a couple of isolation valve on the pump, topping up the domestic batteries and finally draining the water system down as we could well see some frost between now and our next visit. Once the batteries were recharged we unhooked the power supply and headed home.map 29 Today’s Journey 2 miles in hour and a quarter.

Friday 28 November 2014

Friday 28 November 2014 Handsacre

Last night was a very noisy mooring with the railway and the A51 just across the valley with nothing to block the sound, we would have been much better to have done another 10 minutes and moored nearer the town, but it was misty and getting dark.

This morning the mist had cleared and just after 10 we set off only to moor 10 minutes later on the edge of town. There were two reasons for this, I wanted to get my tube of Fernox LS-X from AVH supplies and Diana wanted to look round the town, so we combined the two with an information leaflet from the library. The Chancel Primary school has a Narrowboat in their yard as a library. Brand new shell buy NT of Hixon, nicely painted complete with rear fender but no stern gear.
We spent about an hour and a half wandering round, the Market Place was bustling as they are turning the Christmas lights on tonight.

Once back on the boat it was off through the town to fill with water before continuing towards home. I have never seen anyone moored at Armitage out side the toilet factory to use the local facilities. DSCF7792You can just make out the toilet pans through the fence.

We only met one boat today, right at bridge 58 which of course is on a bend, still I was only going very slowly.

We moored for the night at Handsacre again, right where we were last week but the other way round, The reason for mooring here is that is the location of the only pub before we reach our moorings.

map 28 Today’s Journey only 4.5 miles tying up at 2 pm. hardly enough to charge the batteries.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Thursday 27 November 2014 Rugeley

Firstly I should have posted this one yesterday, we met this young lady near the old RCR offices making her way down the canal on her paddle board. I admire her confidence with no lifejacket and DSCF7743normal warm clothing, she is obviously not expecting to take a dip, she is even listening to her Iplayer.

Last night the weather was more than murky when we went to bed and I suspect it turned to fine drizzle as we suffered Japanese water torture with water dripping off a tree onto the roof for half the night. This morning it had all gone. First job was back to Midland Chandlers for the bits I had forgotten and then we set off. The lock was against us so someone must have slid by this morning, but we didn’t hear them.

Just below Shutt Hill lock is this metal post on the off side, it looks as if its been machined and not just any old lump of metal. There was probably another bridge here at one time which might have a bearing on it.DSCF7747DSCF7752

The RCR offices and workshop are a sorry sight on the side of the canal following the fire at the beginning of the month.DSCF7745

I am not sure what this car owner has done to upset the local bird population, but these two where definitely taking revenge on his car.DSCF7756 

At Deptmore lock the bywash, that is for excess water to flow round the closed lock runs under the old lock cottage, I wonder who is responsible for that considering the number that have  collapsed on the Napton flight.DSCF7753

I posted the other day about the Coventry Canal Co. markers which are concert, the S&W used cast iron ones to show the boundary of their land ownership.DSCF7741

A big thank  you to all who sent me information about the barn at Tixall and pointing me to the Tixall web site There is some great information on there including about this round house.DSCF7763 I photographed it to prove the chimney still works after being rebuilt.

Tixall Wide had a few more boats moored there today but some of the reflections were stunning.DSCF7759

Back to Great Haywood junction where we left the Staff & Worc canal and rejoined the Trent & Mersey canal turning sharp right. Its nice to do Haywood and Colwich locks with no queues, but the bottom gate on Colwich lock really take some closing now, they were better during the summer but I think some people will struggle now.

We stopped at Taft Bridge to fill with diesel, we have used much more for heating than propulsion this time. Slightly undecided as to whether to shop here of carry on into Rugeley for the night, but as the mist was forming fast we felt in may be more comfortable on slightly higher ground.DSCF7778

We crossed the aqueduct and tried to moor but couldn’t even get close enough to jump off so carried on for another couple of hundred yards to moor opposite the bungalows.map 27 Today’s Journey 13 miles, 6 Locks, 2 Canals, 1 Junction in 6 hours.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Wednesday 26 November 2014 Teddesley Boats

Another night of rain, so when it stopped at 09-20 am.  we set off which was a little before our normal time. It felt cold and damp but was actually warmer than the last couple of days. We did about a quarter of a mile on the Trent and Mersey canal before turning left at Gt Haywood Junction on to the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (S&W). The junction is the base for Anglo Welsh hire boats and of course at the moment they are all at home.DSCF7732

Tixall Wide was deserted with only a boat moored at each end, nothing on the wide its self.DSCF7737 There is a strange building not far from Tixall Wide and I have often wondered what it is.  Its to the north of the wide. DSCF7734

After the wide is Tixall lock, as usual the bottom gate was wide open, it always opens its self when the lock is empty so when locking up you have to crack a top paddle to hold it shut, otherwise by the time you get to the head of the lock its wide open again. There is a mileage notice above the lock cottage door, I suspect this may be a recent addition.DSCF7740

The day remained very dank and the first boat we saw moving was extracting himself from a tight spot at Stafford Boat Club, we met another just after we had left Deptmore Lock. We only saw one other boat and he was in Park Gate Lock. Diana walked up from Shut Hill Lock while I came slowly through a fishing match, as I approached the lock the water was flushing out so I set my self up to go in as soon as the gates opened, when the opened there was a boat waiting to come out, so I had to back up a bit to give him room. Once up through the lock I winded in Teddesley Boat Co basin and then spotted the notice saying not to moor opposite and to wind at Acton Trussell, No way was I going down two locks and over a mile backward to wind.
We moored just above the basin on the tow path side and I wandered over to Midland Chandlers to get a replacement door catch and Fernox sealant, they had the catch but no sealant so that job will have to wait until we get back to Rugeley.

map 26 Today’s Journey 9 miles, 4 locks, 2 canals, 1 Junction in three and three quarter hrs.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Tuesday 25 November 2014 Gt Haywood

Last night was not only cold with ice on the boat well before bed time it was also very misty and that didn’t clear until lunch time today.DSCF7725 The first job was to tighten the domestic alternator belt as it had let out a couple of squeals yesterday morning when I wound the revs up, the belt has only done a couple of hundred hours. once adjusted we were seeing an extra 10 amp charge at the same engine speed and no noise.

When I poked my head out the back at about 10-30 am I found something I had not experienced before, tufts of grass all over the rear deck, the bank side gunwale and the back end of the roof, I can only assume that the local ducks used us as a restaurant during the night or this morning, they must have been quite quiet.

We pushed off about 10-40 am in the mist and didn’t meet a boat until we entered Rugeley Tunnel, I had just started under the bridge when he spotted me and blew his horn, so I backed up out of his way. It was the only boat all morning. We stopped at the water point just before the Ash Tree Pub where some thoughtful boater had dumped his stove ash on the concrete edging by the mooring bollard so your rope drags in it. Its not there now.

Once full we were off to Rugeley town centre, I have never seen it so empty. Diana went to Morison’s while I went to a couple of places to try to buy some Fernox LS-X leak sealer to try to do a temporary repair to our water pump, but couldn’t get any. I did however find a shop that had just sold out and will have more in on Thursday. It was one of those shops that has everything, knows what you want and knows where everything is. Its called A.V.H Supplies and is in Albion St just the other side on Morrison’s car park.

By now the mist was lifting but it was also clouding over and we had rain forecast for this afternoon, so soon as Diana had finished in Morrison’s we were away. We continued on up through Colwich lock, there were no queues and just as we cleared the top gate it started drizzling, but it was very short lived so we continued on up Haywood Lock and have moored between the top of the lock and the Junction, still in the dry. It was only 3-30 pm but was much darker than previous days at this time.map 25

Today’s Journey 8.7 miles, 2 locks in 3.5 hours.

Monday 24 November 2014

Monday 24 November 2014 Handsacre

It was a tad cool last night and this morning there was a bit of ice on the boat roof as well as the grass being white.DSCF7706DSCF7707

A quick stroll into the village so that we could visit the butchers before leaving in what was now bright sun shine. It was quite pleasant travelling in the sun but soon felt cool as you went into the shade. There was not a breath of wind as we made our way up to Fradley Junction.

The peace of the whole journey was marred by a helicopter continuously going up one side of the canal, turning over Fradley Junction and then flying back down the other, on one occasion he actually touched down behind the only house in the area between Common Lock and Bagnall Lock.DSCF7713  We found problems with Keepers Lock so I have sent an Email and photo to CRT. Straight on at the junction and up Middle and Shadehouse locks, unfortunately we are now behind another boat so the next three locks are against us.

As we passed King’s Bromley marina a couple of guys were fishing directly opposite, it took one of them ages to reel in his line, as he had cast right into the entrance of the marina, some 100 feet.

We passed a squirrel  having lunch in a bush by the tow path, DSCF7718 I expect he is making the most of this late autumn with still a good crop of berries to be had. Lots of the trees are still carrying a lot of leaf which gave some beautiful reflections.DSCF7719 We decided to stop at Handsacre for the night, we have not stopped here before, but as you get closer to Rugeley the roads get much noisier and we wouldn’t have time to get to the other side of town before dark.  map 24 Today’s Journey 6 miles, 8 locks and 1 junction  3.5 hrs

Sunday 23 November 2014

Sunday 23 November 2014 Alrewas

Yesterday evening we went to an event organised by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canal Restoration Trust who are working to restore the canal link from Huddlesford Junction on the Coventry Canal to Ogley Junction on the Wyrley and Essington canal, part of the BCN.
The event they organised in Whittington Village Hall was first class with a 2 course Ploughman’s meal followed by the most wonderful entertainment buy a large company of people called “Just Us”.
As we walked to the even it was a clear starry night, when we returned it was cloudy and it wasn’t long before the forecast rain arrived.



This was the view from our boat all night.

This morning we woke to the rain and made ready to leave at 10 am. when suddenly the rain stopped and we have had a dry journey.   At the far end of the village one of the householders is displaying his skills by carving his fence post.DSCF7691

One of the highlights was this photo just before Streethay Wharf.DSCF7693 He really teased me by flying round in large circles and landing, only to take off again as I pressed the trigger. 

We stopped for a chat with the people we were sat beside last night, they live beside the canal at bridge 88, they have their house for sale if anyone is looking for a canal side property for £625,000. We had to bid them farewell as 3 boats came along the canal towards us.

At Fradley junction we turned right along the T&M Canal, as Diana turned Junction Lock this couple came down the canal behind us,DSCF7701 carried their canoe round the lock and were off, very capable paddlers.

Since we were this way last I have been told that the work going on beside Hunts Lock is to put a gas main under the canal. They have sunk a deep concrete lined hole and as we passed by they lifted a man from the bottom in a crane basket. DSCF7702They have pumps and generators running 24/7 so I wouldn’t want to be trying to sleep in one of the boats on the long term moorings here.

We dropped through Alrewas Lock and winded in the winding hole directly below it, followed by a short reverse to moor in the centre of the village near the foot bridge. You may remember I posted photos of the graffiti on the road bridge, well there was a webDSCF7646 address on there and following that link I found they had made a DVD about the history of the canal from Fradley Junction to Alrewas and I decided to buy a copy. I emailed the link on the page and the producer brought it down to me on his bike this afternoon.

What else have I been up to? Well for the last couple of trips we have been getting air gushing out of the taps with the water which tends to splash you somewhat. I traced the problem to a leaking water pump and of course they no longer make that model, I have an old one that also leak so I will attempt to repair that as a replacement would A) be a different size and B) cost a lot of money.map 23

Today’s Journey 7.5 Miles, 5 locks, 3 Canals, 1 Junction in 3hr 45min

Saturday 22 November 2014

Friday 22 November 2014 Whittington

Last night we defiantly got the rain and from about 5 pm it chucked it down. For dinner we had the pies bought at Alrewas. Diana heated them in the oven but on reflection we think the game pie should have  been eaten cold as it was solid meat inside and half a Stake and Ale pie with half a Game pie was a little bit greedy.

We woke this morning to a fine morning and as we only have about 4 miles to go were not in much of a hurry to get away, needles to say when we were ready to set of at 10 30 it started raining again, so we stayed put for a bit.  Just after 1130 am the rain stopped and the sun came out so we set off, the timing worked well because we had just moored by Whittington Bridge and it started raining again. We actually went passed Whittington down as far as Tamhorn Farm Bridge because that is where the winding hole is and came back to Whittington Bridge where we moored for the night at 2 15 pm. This meant our 4 mile journey was actually 6.5 miles, so only a very short day, not enough to fully recharge the batteries, but I expect they will get a good run tomorrow.

We passed a pair of swans taking a brunch on someone’s front lawn, in exchange I am sure they left a bit of fertiliser.DSCF7656 Although we have not gone through any junctions we started on the Coventry Canal and we are now on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal moored about 100 yard from the boundary where they change name. Down at Fazeley Junction the canal becomes the Coventry Canal again all the way to Coventry. The reason the short 5 mile stretch canal is known as the B&F Canal is because the Coventry Canal Co. ran out of cash so the B&F built the missing bit. The Coventry Canal Co. had markers on theDSCF7688 offside bank showing the limit of their land ownership and a few still remain, the houses by the canal do not own up to the waters edge as can be seen by this marker against the house owners fence.

There were some glorious reflections with the water like glass as we made our way south. This one at Huddlesford Junction,DSCF7683 the home of the Lichfield Cruising Club caught my eye, also approaching Streethay Wharf with all the moored boats.DSCF7675


map 22 Today’s Journey 6.6 miles with no locks in 2.5 hrs.

Friday 21 November 2014

Friday 21 November 2014 Fradley bridge 90

Bit of an early start for us as the Metcheck weather forecast said heavy rain today, so as it was fine at 7 30 we set off and managed to get to Fradley, our target for the day before it started to drizzle very lightly for a short time. It tuned out the Weather Forecast for Birmingham was not the same as for Fradley and I set off early for nothing.

Marley Tiles have a huge yard beside the canal and not only do they have acres of tiles stacked up ready to dispatch around theDSCF7629 country they also have a building which they are constantly re-tiling with different designs of tiles, I don’t know it its a show thing or for evaluating new designs.  DSCF7633   

We were soon back on the river section of the T&M where this boat has sunk on its moorings at Wychnor, a sad sight as its bound to be someone's pride and joy.DSCF7596

At the top end of the section the River Trent continues on its way over the weir behind us, we came from the left of the photo.DSCF7594 The Trent has only been with us flowing for about a hundred yards coming in just ahead under this bridge.DSCF7595 Although the flowing section is short, the full length of the navigation between locks 11 and 12 are effectively a river and water will flow on the full length in flood conditions.  We have to turn sharp left across the flow just before the bridge, you can just make out the channel on the left.

Off the river and back on the canals we made our way back to Fradley Junction with no holdups this time. At the junction we turned left through the swing bridge and stopped to top the water up and delve down the weed hatch, the water is definitely getting colder. Once sorted we pushed on to moor for the night just through bridge 90 in Fradley.

For those that have followed for a while will know that I use Waterway Routes from http://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/wr/index.html on my I Pad that use to sit in a converted cereal box to keep the sun off. Now the summer is over I have upgraded to one of these housings from Aldi.DSCF7599 I don’t think I would trust it in heavy rain but it could well save it from the odd splash.  As you can see this shot was taken while we were in Barton Turn Lock. It shows the facilities in the Mariana and also the company that sells diesel on the towpath side 3p cheaper.

map 21

Today’s journey 4.5 Hrs, 8.25 Miles, 8 Locks 1 Swing Bridge, 1 Junction, 1 River and 2 Canals.

Thursday 20 November 2014

Thursday 20 November 2014 Branston Water Park

We set off a little after ten, one boat had already passed in both directions. There was not a breath of wind and the sun was having problems breaking through with mist hanging over the cut. DSCF7579 It was surprising how in the still of the night we were able to hear the traffic on the A38, it must be a very busy road.

Passing under the A513 road bridge the local graffiti artists workDSCF7582 DSCF7581 is relatively pleasing to the eye when compared to what gets painted on some structures.
As we approached Bagnell lock a sign told us we were nowDSCF7585DSCF7587 entering the National Forest and there is a large living willow sculpture along side the canal.
This is another lock where CRT have installed stays on the balance beams to hold the gates closed just like those on Junction Lock.DSCF7568DSCF7567
The bridge below the lock shows signs of boats rubbing along the brickwork over the years, I wonder how much of it has happened in the last 50 years compared to the previous 150 years?DSCF7589

We moored on the 48 hr. moorings and took a wonder round Alrewas with its many pubs, shop, chemists/post office and butchers. We called at the butchers to buy some bread and got tempted by his game pies. I will tell you what they were like tomorrow.

We locked down on the the short bit of the Trent, the water levels were fine, and made good progress to rejoin the canal at Wychnor Lock. From here we were travelling alongside the A38 with waves and hoots from passing lorry drivers. The afternoon was quite drab, I don’t know if it was just mist or this dust cloud that people have been reporting. You can read about it here on the Metcheck web page. We carried on down the canal passed Barton Turns marina, directly opposite their entrance someone is selling diesel on the towpath side for 3p less than them. On into the gloom down Tatenhill lock where an ex working boat has just received a new cabin. The engine hole is riveted but this has imitation planks at the back and no rivets. would the cabin have once been wood?DSCF7606DSCF7608

We made our way to Shobnall Marina where we winded and made our way back, by now the sun was going down and although the sky didn’t go bright red it still looked good.DSCF7616We only did one more lock, Branston Lock before mooring for the night at Branston Water Park.

map 20Today’s Journey 9.5 miles, 7 lock and one river section. in 6hr 15min.