Thursday 31 March 2022

Barlaston Thu 31 March 2022

We woke to a lovely sunny morning even if the front deck was white and the temperature still below zero. We pushed off at our normal 10am. just after a boat had passed. This of course meant the first lock was against us. By now it was quite pleasant on the back of the boat in the sun, bit of a breeze but approaching Stone it was more sheltered. The boat ahead moored just before Stone and Star Lock almost empty. Diana left me to work up Star Lock and went forward to set Yard Lock, from Star lock I could see the water cascading over the bottom gatesDSCF6323

of Yard Lock and sure enough Diana signalled me to leave the lock open. Unusually there was only one boat moored in the pound, you are normally hard pushed to find a space. Once clear of the Stone Locks we passed a Swan on her nest, her mate a short way up the canal but not bothered about us.DSCF6326


Passing Mr Fullers Yard I could see heads moving, at first I thought it was a boat coming out of the basin, but it was actually a narrow gauge railway pulling a train of logs, maybe its a branch line!DSCF6324

By now we had experienced a light snow and hail shower but nothing to bad, not enough to make the ground white.
Our next flight of locks was the Meaford Flight, these have been realigned at some point as can be seen on this Waterway Routes Map.image

Now I dont know how long ago the new locks were built but like a lot of the other locks on this stretch there is a bridge below the bottom gates and its a split bridge to allow the tow line to be dropped through so you don’t have to unhook the horse, so I can only assume that most boating was still horse boating when the new locks were built.DSCF6327

From the top of Meaford the wind started to pick up, Diana brought me a plate of sandwiches for lunch and I immediately lost the top slice of bread from one thanks to the wind, it would have been more if I hadn’t managed to get my hand on top of what was left. It had to go below until the weather moderated a bit. Soon we were in bright sun again with a gentle breeze for the last half hour to our mooring at Barlaston. So far this trip we have stuck exactly to plan,4 days in and can it last?

Todays Journey


6½ miles 9 locks in 4 hours.


The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing

You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Burston Wed 30 March 2022

A little bit of a late start but the weather was better than expected and we didn’t see rain until 1pm. On the way to Colwich lock we passed the house who has had a tree stump carved into a woodpecker, there is even a hole right through the stump in line with the birds beak.DSCF6307

The bridge below Colwich lock was dry for a change, its normally a sea of mud, even in dry weather due to the cows crossing regularly. There is some interesting iron work on the bridge parapet with aDSCF6310 bar for the towing line to run up over the brick work and a raised section to then let the line drop onto a roller, the roller is long gone but one support eye isDSCF6309 still there. This would have allowed the horse to draw the boat right into the mouth of the lock, momentum would have finished the job. The overhang and upright parts would have stopped the rope sliding off the roller as the pull wouldn’t have been straight. We had bit of a wait her as there was a boat ahead of us and 3 coming down.
There were quite a few boats moored between here at Great Haywood Junction, most of whom we had already seen this week, we even passed a goose who looks as if she is setting up home.DSCF6312

Just beyond Great Haywood Marina HS2 is making its presence felt, boring test holes in the land opposite, they have had to lay a temporary road to get there.


Coming through Western I was disappointed not to see Asbo Swan, he and his partner must have decided to nest elsewhere this year, or maybe they are no longer a couple for some reason. There is a video of him HERE.
From 1pm onwards it rained, not heavey rain but enough to need a coat on for the rest of the journey, its still spitting now.
Beyond Sandon the railway runs very close to the canal, this is the only stretch of highspeed line that I can think of that is not fully fenced on both sides, there is none at all along here. I would liked to have posted a photo of a train on the section, but it just didn’t happen.DSCF6318

Stanton Lock had a good flow of water coming down the bywash, the house by the lock now have their garden in very good order.(I photoed the bywash, not the garden)


Last time we were this way we saw a fox running over the meadows, today it was his dinner, 3 rabbits peacefully sitting there until I pointed a camera in their direction. Then it was just white tails


We moored for the night, as per our plan, yes we have a plan, just before Upper Burston Bridge in very light rain and a much brighter sky.

Todays Journey


9¼ miles 5 locks in 4¼ hours.

The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing

You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Wolseley Bridge Tue 29 March 2022

Yesterday was a cracking day, wall to wall sunshine and the boat was so warm that after dinner was cooked we turned the stove off, big mistake as this morning was yuck, cold, misty damp.
I went out ready to set off and untied the front rope when I noticed the boat behind was also untying  so I let him go first. As he was leaving a boat came down from Woodend Lock so the lock should have been with him. We gave him a couple of minutes and followed up, past the section cleared for HS2, you can see what a mucky day it is. For some reason trees have also been felled to the north east of the line.

DSCF6298 DSCF6297

When we approached the boat that left before us was still waiting as a small cruiser was in the lock going up. I dropped Diana of and she went to the lock to lend the single hander a bit of help. As he left the lock he handed her a pen and said thanks for the help. It wasn’t until she was back on Harnser that she really looked at it. What a lovely thought.DSCF6306

We met a surprising number of boats in the course of the mooring, all well wrapped up against the cold.
Passing Kings Bromley Marina we saw this notice on their sign board. I can’t workout what’s happening to red diesel, some people cant get it and the price is ridicules for those that can.DSCF6300

We had a clean run through Armitage Tunnel with no other boats on the move, I rather like the the figurehead on nb. Oddin DSCF6301

We carried on through Rugeley without stopping, just before you the aqueduct across the River Trent there use to be a notice board giving information about the bloody steps, but today there are just two posts, maybe it will be replaced by a new  blue CRT on with lots of wrong spellings. DSCF6304Once past the Rugeley Bypass we passed a field with sheep and lambs, only the second we have seen this year. One of the ewes had a pair of black lambs with her.DSCF6305

Our target for tonight was Wolseley Bridge and by now the sun was forcing its way through and we moored at the fist spot we came to, which was just as well as there are 4 boats moored the other side of the bridge. As soon as we moored up I fired the Dickinson stove up again both to cook dinner and keep us warm tonight.
By 5pm we could sit on the front deck in the sunshine, no coats chatting to Bob who had wandered down with his dog for a chat. He was one of the boats moored the other side of the Bridge.

Todays Journey


10 miles, 1 lock in 4½ hours

The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing

You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp

Monday 28 March 2022

Fradley Shadhouse Lock Mon 28 March 2022

Last night we were moored opposite The Three Tunns pub, their outside lighting reflecting on the cut.DSCF6278

This morning we were away just after 10 o’clock, it seams no one has told the weather the clocks have changed but it soon warm up. I rather liked this little notice on the fencing behind the towpath.DSCF6279

During the course of the day we met a few boats out and about. The new housing estate beside the canal at Dunstal Farm Bridge is really taking shape from what I have read it should include a school and canal improvements, for that we will have to wait and see.DSCF6287 (2)

A little further along the canal all the polly tunnels have been erected ready for this years crop of asparagus.DSCF6292

I was rather taken by the name on this boat, well I assume it was the name, it may have just been the location like some people have Braunston on their boats.DSCF6293

Passing Streethay Wharf there is a boat moored that wont be going far for the next month until this Moorhen has laid and hatched her brood.DSCF6294

Last time we came this way they were trying to raise an ex BWB work boat, as you can see they failed but there is still a row of pumps on the bank with suction hoses dropping into the hold, so it looks as if they will be trying again at some point.DSCF6296

Our planned stop was Fradley Junction so we decided to join the Trent and Mersey canal and do two locks before mooring, both locks were against us but we didn’t see the boat ahead until they left the top lock, once above the locks we were pleased to see a couple of mooring spots well in the open.
Today’s Journey image

11½ miles, 2 Locks in 4¾ hours

The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing

You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp

Sunday 27 March 2022

Fazeley Junction Sunday 27 March 2022

Even with the clocks going forward we still managed to get away from home in good time. The traffic was very light but the weather very dull with drizzle mist and low cloud, nothing like the past few days, it did start to pick up about 3pm as we chugged along and now its quite nice.

The boat wasn’t covered in red dust like we had at home but was quite cool at about 11deg. The first job was to fit a none return valve just after the water pump, we have had problems with the pump firing up because the system is losing pressure and I strongly suspect this is going back through the pump valves. That done it was down to unpacking the car and having a bit of lunch before setting off.
Just like last time as soon as we untied a boat started to come in through the marina entrance but this time they didn’t come down passed us but swung round towards the pub so I just held back a few minutes. Once out of the marina we turned left towards Tamworth, the canal was very quiet and we didn’t meet another boat until we approached Glascote Locks where a boat was just coming up in the top lock, so putting both of them right for us, they even left the top paddle of the bottom lock up so even that didn’t leak off at all. Once clear of the locks we pushed on to Fazeley Junction where we have moored for the night.

One of the jobs I need to do is change the top tiller bearing, The boss is a taper fit on the rudder shaft and can be a real pig to remove so a friend knocked me up a simple puller to put weight on it while I jar the boss with a big hammer. Today was a dummy fitting run to see if it fit but unfortunately the bolts I bought were too short and are only on by one thread, easy to fix.DSCF6272


I also soaked the inside of the boss with plusgas as its well rusty. I also managed to remove the two Allen screws that  clamp the bearing on the shaft. Next trip hopefully I can change the bearing, I have done it once before and it was a pig.

Todays JourneyMap 013½ miles 2 Locks in 1¾ hours

The Google map of the entire journey to date can be seen at https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?mid=17mjw4LFpTYhyPS1NB_mGzeZAr913Rivl&usp=sharing

You can also see our planned itinerary at https://canalplan.uk/journey/16879_cp

Friday 4 March 2022

Wed 2 March Alvecote

Last nights meal was very tasty, unusually for us we ate the lot in one sitting.
This morning it was drizzly and we set off very early for us, quarter to nine, we were back at the marina at 10 am.there was no wind which made dropping back to our berth easy, we then just had to pack up and go home.
For as long as I can remember there has been a boat moored on the offside between bridges 52 and 53 but this trip its gone.DSCF6264

Just after this we waved down Rick on fuel boat Auriga to top up with diesel, I hate to think what the price will be next time I fill up.


Todays JourneyMap M2
2½ miles, no lock in 1¼ hours.

      To see the total route on Google maps then please to TO and TO for a fully expandable map.

Tue1 March Polesworth

It rained most of the evening yesterday but was very warm over night, this mooring we woke to bright warm sun. We set off at our normal 10 o'clock with very few other boats moving. At Harteshill the volunteers had their chipper boat bows in the basin and stern well across the cut, it was suggested that I tried getting round the stern, which to my surprise I managed with a whole inch to spare, the gap was the best part of 8 feet but the bank curves under the bridge, I was well aware that if I did touch it could easily jam with the angles involved so very slowly.DSCF6256
Another surprise was volunteers at the first two Atherstone locks, we were the fifth boat to transit the locks with one about half an hour ahead, this meant the first 7 locks were against us, but we did meet boats in the bottom half. There was plenty of water coming down the flight.DSCF6263 Once clear of the locks we stopped to fill with water at the services before continuing on to Polesworth for the night. Unfortunately our favourite Indian takeaway is closed on Tuesdays as is the Chinese takeaway. So we will be checking out the Yard Spice.

Today's JourneyMap M1
8½ miles 11 locks in 4½ hours

To see the total route on Google maps then please to TO and TO for a fully expandable map

Mon 28 Feb Springwood Haven

In view of today's weather forecast I decided  to set off slightly earlier, as although we had had rain overnight the morning was quite pleasant. This turned out to be a mistake, just as I had dropped the stern rope a boat came through the bridge from behind us so we followed it all the way to Marston Junction, we would have got here at the same time if we had started at our normal time. Along the Ashby canal there are lots of boundary markers showing the extent of the canal companies property, what I am not sure of is why they have MR on them.

DSCF6242 DSCF6247
DSCF6249 DSCF6244

It must be a bit grim having to live in a tent beside the towpath this time of the year, especially with the weather we have had over the past couple of week.DSCF6248
Something you don't often see is a Narrowboat with a steering wheel unless they are converted for use by a disabled person, I don't know if this is the case or not.DSCF6250

We did manage to see one water vole as we made our  way along the canal but unfortunately he was a bit camera shy. If anyone is planning on walking the towpath later this month a section will be shut for repairs but I think there are diversions. At Marston Junction we turned right on the Coventry Canal, about half a mile from here on the offside there used to be a derelict farm house and buildings, these have now been completely obliterated and there is some serious earth moving equipment on site. There are plans for nearly 600 homes here.DSCF6252 There are still a few old stone canal mileposts along the towpath but I have only spotted the odd one or two, there is another on the Atherstone flight. DSCF6254We faired quite well weather wise considering the forecast, we had light drizzle in Nuneaton which didn't last long, apart from that it was dry until after we moored at Springwood Haven.

Today's JourneyMap28

12 miles, no locks in 4½ hours

To see the total route on Google maps then please to TO and TO for a fully expandable map

Sun 27 Feb Hinkley

Last night we ate at the Horse and Jockey about 5 minutes walk from where we moored along an unlit lane with no pavements, it's not a busy lane but this time of the year a torch is essential. The pub was very busy and even booking when we first moored up we only had a choice of 1830 or 2100hrs. So we went for the early slot, I don't know how many covers they have but its a big establishment with 2 bar staff and 6 waiters. 3 courses with wine came to £80
This morning we were off at about 1020 in bright sun but cool breeze, as the day went on the breeze dropped and the sun got warmer. We stopped for water at Market Bosworth and while we were there a ambulance went into town over the canal bridge and the air ambulance also went over, we could hear more sirens in the distance. The air ambulance didn't stop long and was soon on its way again.
Sutton Cheney Wharf was heaving although there were a couple of free moorings, I don't think there were any car parking spaces. Another busy spot, this time with boats was Shenton Aqueduct mostly moored on the off side, where as Stoke Golding bend was deserted apart from hundreds of ducks, I did consider mooring there but the thought of all those ducks calling for bread a 6 in the morning set me against the idea so we carried on to just short of Hinkley by bridge 19 where there is a good piled edge and tucked in there for the night, any further and it gets noisy from the industrial units.
Today's JourneyMap27
10 miles, no locks in 4¼hours

To see the total route on Google maps then please to TO and TO for a fully expandable map

Sat 26 Feb Congerstone

This mooring the field by the canal was white with frost and not a breath if wind, but that didn't last with the wind freshening as the day went on, but at least the sun was out and we were off around 10 heading for the terminus. Just through the first bridge a boater warned of a tree down just after bridge 56 from the offside, but with room to pass. DSCF6240 (This was coming back)

We also met a couple of canoes, the first a single. The second was a double and they emerged from Snarestone tunnel with no visible light shortly before we got there. We winded at the terminus and then visited the shop to donate a couple of items as well as spending a fiver. All in a good cause. At the moment you can't take a boat passed the services, the trust has two sets of stop planks in and the chamber between them drained, this is to facilitate a set of lock gates to act as a stop lock should another breach happen on the restored section.DSCF6237

After settling up and bidding Mike farewell we were off back through the tunnel, this is brick lined and not completely straight, also the profile in the middle of the tunnel is not the same as the ends with the roof flattening out, thankfully it's quite dry with only a few drips. We also met both sets of canoeists as well as 3 ladies about to set off on their standup paddle boards. We continued passed last nights mooring to moor at Congerstone as tonight we plan to eat at The Horse and Jockey, let's hope it works out better than last night at The Rising Sun.   

Today's journeyMap26
8¾ miles, no locks in 3½hours

To see the total route on Google maps then please to TO and TO for a fully expandable map