Monday 19 September 2022

Home Moorings

A nice quiet mooring but a few boats about early this morning including one coming on the waterpoint behind us. I was out at 9-30Am and the chap on the water point asked if we were about to leave as he would slip in our spot, so we ended up leaving earlier than planed. Nothing moving so I pushed off to reverse to the junction, immediately a boat appeared in front of me so I pulled over to the offside and waved him through. He in turn had words with the chap on the water point and decided to drop in for water, so I continued back into the junction putting my stern under the bridge so that we could head off home. We didn’t see another boat on the move all the way. Glascote locks were both against us and Diana walked forward and drew a paddle on the top lock, a kind dog walked opened the gates for me while Diana was still closing up the bottom lock.
Some of you will remember the old Canal Crafts shop in a shed on the canal bank in the owners garden, now long gone. Well the house has now been massively extended in all directions including up. The last photo I posted showed it all scaffolded with a temporary roof on it.DSCF7297


Of course there was no one watching as I reversed down and into out berth. We had just finished packing stuff into the car when it decided to rain, I only got a little bey wet locking up.

Todays Journeyimage

3½ miles, 2 lock in 2 hours

This trip we have done 330 miles 213 lock in 167 hours, you can see the whole trip on this mapimage

Or see the following google maps
Home to Chester
Chester to Llangollen
Llangollen to Birmingham
Birmingham Home

Sunday 18 September 2022

Fazeley Junction

Will from seeing no boats yesterday today we had 4 go by before breakfast. The first going the same way as us, so that would be the locks against us, that meant there was no rush to get away. Although it was a good hour since the boat went by when we left we still caught them up at lock No.2 which gave us a slow run down to The Dog in a Doublet, it wasn’t helped by virtually every lock in this stretch having a paddle out, there are so many out they have given up on yellow covers.DSCF7290

There has been a lot more ground work in preparation for HS2, I think what is visible now is all for service and construction, the line its self slightly to the right of it.DSCF7289

The pound between locks 6 and 7 was down by a good 4 bricks, we actually met a boat at this lock but the boat ahead got stuck in the mud.DSCF7291

I was pleased that Diana walks between the locks as I couldn’t get within 4 foot of the bank.
As we approached The Dog in a Doublet there was only one boat moored there so I said to Diana should we stop for lunch, so she popped in to see if we could bag a table. She returned with a thumbs up so we moored almost outside the door. When we came out an hour later all the moorings were full. We set off again down the flight, this time meeting boats and all the locks with us, also in this lower section everything works. Dropping down into Fazeley we passed a multitude of Christian Fellowship boats. Later John would call in and say hello. The old Tolson Mill is looking splendid now the windows all replaced/repaired and the scaffolding removed. The mill has been converted to flats and apartments starting at about £150,000.DSCF7292

Down at Fazeley Junction we turned left right in front of the old Toll House, this was sold off several years ago into private hands after been un used and sealed up for many years.DSCF7294

  We filled up with water and then moved just one boat length forward to moor for the nigh, that’s when John knocked on the boat and stopped for a chat while his boat was filling with water.

Todays Journeyimage

7 miles, 11 locks in 5 hours.

The Last section of the route can be seen HERE as a Google Mapimage

Saturday 17 September 2022

Minworth Green

By 9am this morning CRT were on the scene letting water down to get all the levels right, to do this they open one top and bottom paddle on the top lock and let it flow down the flight.
We set of at 9-30 after they had finished to a warm sunny morning. We were soon down by the Alexandria Stadium now sitting quiet and deserted in the morning sun shine. DSCF7272Lots of the temporary barriers/fencing is still in situ around the outside of site limiting where you can walk. 
Down at lock 5 there is a notice warning people of a wasps nest in the towpath, its not a wasps nest but bees and they are in the heal post of the lock, so get humpy when the gate is swung, you can see the dust from their working in this photo.DSCF7274

Some of the locks have good leaks in the top gates so anyone with a 60 footer or more needs to take care or get wet.DSCF7275

The weed just before the locks is quite thick but that in its self doesn’t cause a problem, but it can hide other things like pillows and branches etc.DSCF7279

This heron or Harnser found a nice clear spot for a late breakfast getting a couple of fish while I watched him. The next one coming right up.DSCF7278

Towards the end of the Tame valley canal they have been doing a lot of work on the electricity pylon and underground feeders, this looks as if its blocking the route of a footpath that looks to come down the side of the pylon and motorway so they have put a new bridge in. Not sure why the lower section on both sides looks double skinned.DSCF7281

The old toll island is supporting a nice growth of trees if you like that sort of thing, I wonder what their roots are doing to the walls of the island.DSCF7282

We carried on in the sunshine down to Minworth as we had made good time so it was a bit early to moor at Star City. There are some very bad sections of towpath in the Minworth flight, this is the lock moorings at the second lock.DSCF7284

As we approached our mooring for the night just short of Wigging’s Hill Bridge the industrial unit they were piling last time we past is huge.DSCF7288

All the earthworks down by the canal which I just thought was making way for the new industrial estate but now it is completely planted with trees.DSCF7287

Todays Journeyimage
8¼ miles, 16 locks in 5 hours

Friday 16 September 2022

Perry Barr

We were away at 9-30 am. to a sunny but cool morning, almost immediately into Netherton for the next 30 minutes not meeting any boats. We only met 3 boat and they were all on the New Main Line. We joined the Main Line at Dudley Port Junction turning right towards Birmingham but only as far as Pudding Green Junction where it was a very sharp left hander along the Wednesbury Old Canal to the Riders Green Locks.
We had a surprisingly good run down the locks, even if they were all against us. DSCF7267

We even cleared the Wellington Bridge Gt. Barrier Reef with no problem, not a trolley in sight.
The original plan was to stop at Ocker Hill for the night, but as the weather was nice and it was only just lunchtime we carried on the Tame Valley to Perry Barr, If we had have stopped at Ocker Hill it would have been 5 hours tomorrow. My word the Tame Vally canal is long and straight. It goes for ever.DSCF7269

About half way along its length is Rushall Junction, I wonder who painted the towpath bridge across the junction bright yellow, it shows up for miles. Its not a CRT colour, even the sign post has had the paint treatment with coloured rings on the post.DSCF7271

The weed was much better than expected and we had no problem at all. We have moored opposite the services for the night. The services are closed and part of the walkway in front of them has been taken up, this is a metal surface so its nice to not have the sound of the bikes riding over it.image

   8 locks, 11½ miles in 5 hours

Thursday 15 September 2022

Windmill end

Last night we ate at Mad O'Rourke's pie factory. The Lump hammer beers was a nice price and when we got back to the boat there wasn’t a goose in sight, so a quiet night. We were the only boat on the moorings which I think are first class. This morning we were away at 10 O’clock down to Tipton Junction to wind and then retrace our steps passed last nights mooring.DSCF7254

There was another group of disadvantaged children setting off on a canoe adventure from Tipton Stables and then it was right down Factory Locks. We had to wait for the boat ahead to work down, I went down and opened the gates on the second and third locks for them. As we were ready to leave the flight there was a boat coming up so that saved closing up. A rather poignant point is the old sign on the bridge advertising Craggy’s Boat Yard and you can just see diesel was 28p/Ltr. On the bridge to the entrance of the yard is this plaque, I haven’t noticed it before.DSCF7256

At Dudley Port Junction we turned left and then headed through Netherton Tunnel meeting one boat in the tunnel. At Windmill Junction there are still boats moored from last weekends Black Country Boat Rally, we turned down the Dudley No2 canal heading for Hawne Basin to fill with diesel and chat with friends.
Once that was done we retraced our steps back up the No2, but this time we had to wait at at Gosty Hill Tunnel for a boat coming down, they warned us of a road barrier floating around in the tunnel, we didn’t notice it on our way through but found it on our way back so hauled it out and deposited it at the North Portal.DSCF7257

Some time ago CRT installed some “Secure” stop plank storage cabinets which don’t really fit into their surroundings. I don’t know whether this one should have planks in it or be locked up, but this had nether,DSCF7258

We carried on up to Windmill Junction and then reversed back to the 48hr visitor moorings for the night.

Todays Journeyimage

11 miles, 3 locks in 5½ hours

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Tipton, John the Lock Moorings

If you moor between Autherley Junction and Aldersley Junction take care stepping onto the towpath as the electric bikes wiz along there. The last thing I heard before falling asleep was the bark of a fox.
This morning we were away early for us, just after 8-30 as I didn’t want to be the second boat up the flight and it worked well. All the locks were with us until lock 15 where the top gate was open, after I left 15 Diana walked to 14 to find a boat about to come down in 13, so they had probably set well ahead. We had bit of a wait as the chap was bow hauling the boat down the locks, saying his gearbox was stolen while moored at Tipton, once he left lock 14 we went in, by now there was another boat coming down in 13 and a third boat behind that. From there on we didn’t meet any more boats in the flight but we did have a boat coming up behind us. All the rest of the locks were with us except the top lock which has this useful notice on the beam.DSCF7249

It took us exactly 3 hours to clear the flight. Had we been the second boat up it would have been longer, turning every lock before we could entre.
Something I didn’t expect was to see two Kingfishers in the flight as well as some good sized fish.
Whenever we come up this flight I often wonder what is behind this big metal fence that is causing it to bulge out at the bottom near the lock ladder. One day will the bottom give way and spew what ever is there into the lock?DSCF7248

After leaving the lock we just nosed into the basin to dump rubbish before continuing towards Tipton, leaving Coseley Tunnel we caught up with 4 canoes  made up into 2 catamarans for stability, each contained 2 adults and 4 kids with disabilities, they all seemed to be having a good time with the odd splash here and there. At Factory Junction we turned right along the Old Main line, passed the old stables to moor for the night on John the Lock Moorings in front of the health centre.

Todays Journey image

8 miles, 21 locks in 5¼ hours

Tuesday 13 September 2022

Autherley Junction

I must say it felt a lot cooler early hours of this morning but it soon warmed up again. We were away a little before ten, first job stop at the services and top up with water while disposing of recycling. Just as we finished a boat came down Wheaton Aston Lock so that was handy and by the time we were up another was arriving. We would continue meeting a steady stream of boats all day.
At Stretton Aqueduct Canal and River Services now have 23 boats moored up, 2 deep along the towpath, I wonder if its the entire fleet has been moved down here?
At Countrywide Cruisers yard CRT and Rothen Ltd. were setting up the outriggers on one of their digger carrying flats. Note the chaps on the bank have lifejackets but the chap balanced on the outrigger doesn’t.DSCF7245

A little further along a gang in bright orange were carrying out towpath repairs. the machine has an auger attachment and was boring holes un the ground to put rather heavy upright posts in, they look to be about 100mm X 150mm at least.DSCF7246

Things quietened down after this so much so this pair of swans looked to be asleep as we approached, the floating one stirred as our gentle wash rocked it.DSCF7247

Down to Autherley Junction and we caught up with a single hander who had winded ahead of us earlier, he was in the lock when we arrived so Diana let him out and closed up for him. We locked down behind him and turned right mooring opposite Oxley Marine for the night. Not such an easy day tomorrow.

Todays Journeyimage

8½ miles, 2 locks in 4 hours

The map for this leg of our journey is on Google HERE

Monday 12 September 2022

Wheaton Aston

It rained on and off most of the night I think but was fine when we set off at 10am this morning, things were very quiet to start with but after an hour or so we started meeting a few boats, nothing like yesterday.
We passed the junction with the abandoned Newport Canal, there are plans to restore the canal which joins the Shrewsbury canal, if it ever gets done it will be a long length of waterway. At the moment the Norbury Junction Boat Yard uses about 200 yards of the canal which is in water terminating in their dry dock.
A short way passed the junction looking to the East these structures can be seen peeping above the trees, it’s not MI5 or such like but an experiment into climate change and exposure to CO2 in the atmosphere. DSCF7240

As we chugged along we passed through Gnosall, loads of empty visitor moorings today and CRT giving some young people angling experience.DSCF7241

You may remember 3 weeks ago I posted a photograph of a Peahen, well today there was a peacock there as well as several hens, this was at Little Onn.DSCF7244

Just after this it started to rain a bit, enough to put the brolly up but by the time we came to moor at Wheaton Aston it had stopped, but not for long, now its warm, muggy but not raining.

Todays Journeyimage

7¾ miles, no locks in 3 hours


This is a link to our latest plan that could change yet again of course

Sunday 11 September 2022

Norbury Junction

If you moor in Market Drayton you need good curtains, its light all night.
Now a moan. Why do people insisting on doing locks with their fenders down, Between locks 2 and 3 we picked up yet another round the prop, so had to do a weedhatch visit whilst in lock 2.DSCF7229

The morning was a bit misty when we we off at our normal10am heading for the Tyrley locks.DSCF7228

As we approached Tyrley bottom lock I could see a boat leaving and a boat below the locks on the lock moorings but the gates closed. Diana was walking ahead and I saw her open the gates, I was expecting the boat to go in but he didn’t move so I went by into the bottom lock. Apart from getting a fender round the prop. If the owner would like it back its in the bin by lock one. We met 4 boats as we entered the cutting, thankfully we didn’t meet them in the flight. Also in the cutting we saw lots of Kingfishers, in fact we saw lots all morning. The towpath through the cutting is now open again and has been well cleaned up.DSCF7232

We moored briefly on the 48 hour moorings opposite The Wharf Pub at Goldstone with a view to having Sunday Lunch, Diana nipped across to book a table, no chance, they even had a party of 17 to cater for, so when she came back we continued on our way.
Passing one lot of long term offside moorings this colourful shed caught my eye, there’s a Moose looking out of the window.DSCF7234

We stopped for an hour at the Shebdon long term moorings to chat to old friends who moor there , we also called in at the Soudley moorings to see friends but they weren't in.
When we came this way only 3 weeks ago I posted a photograph of where I suspected the farmer had dredged the edge of the canal onto his land,  today you wouldn’t notice it as its mainly green.DSCF7236

Like lots of farmers the one here is diversifying into Glamping, in another field there are imitation, or maybe restored railway goods wagons like at Whixall Moss Junction.DSCF7235

We carried on to Norbury Junction to moor on the visitor moorings for the night.

Todays Journeyimage

11 miles, 5 locks in 5¼ hours

We now have a new plan which can be seen at the link below https://canalplan.uk/journey/17997_cp

Saturday 10 September 2022

Market Drayton

We were away early this morning as a boat came down the flight at about 9am so we set off up at ten past. We had a good run up meeting several boats usually at ideal spots. We did all of todays 17 locks in 3 hours. While I worked Harnser up the top lock of the Audlem flight Diana selected some nice cakes from the Top Lock Cottage. She must enjoy baking, she is definitely good at it.
Almost at the top of the Adderley Flight I spotted this on a lock beam, you don’t see many of them about now, normally the number is just painted or routed into the beam.DSCF7225

Passing the Betton Woods someone has built some shelters on the high ground, I don’t know if anyone lives in them or not.DSCF7227

We carried on to moor for the night in Market Drayton just before bridge 63, this is very convenient for visiting Lidl etc.

Todays Journeyimage

6¼ miles 17 locks in 4 hours.

The trip from Llangollen on Google Maps is HERE