Thursday 23 November 2023

Home Moorings

As I had a voucher for half price main meals we ate at the Tame Otter last night, we were the only boat moored outside their carpark so an easy walk.
This morning we woke to blue sky’s and bright sun, slightly late getting away as Diana wanted to go exploring first.
We only met a couple of boats all morning. The housing estate before you get to Tamworth is growing still by the day.DSCF8719

Coming into Tamworth near Bonehill bridge a boater warned me there was a sunken boat ahead, when we got there the poor chap was trying to pump it out, but I don’t think he will have much luck as the water was flowing over the offside gunwales back into the boat.DSCF8720

  We chugged on round towards Glascote locks which of course were both against us passing this cruiser, I am not sure that is the recommended way of using a gas cylinder, hopefully its half empty so no liquid gets to the regulator.DSCF8721

We carried on back to our moorings not meeting any more boats. Reversing down the marina wasn’t a problem, getting in against the pontoon was another matter with the wind blowing us off all the time, it could be a bumpy night. So we left in bright blue sky’s but arrived three hours later to heavy overcast black clouds.

Today’s Journey
image   6¼ miles, 2 locks in 3 hours

I have now found a way to put the route on Google Maps, just click the map to open it.image

This trip we have cruised for 60 hours, done 108 miles and 105 locks

Wednesday 22 November 2023


We were just finishing our cup or tea when Jules Fuels came passed so we set off to take advantage of the full lock, well it was still almost full. But the time we reached Middle Lock it was over half empty and as there was now a boat approaching from below Diana set it for them. Someone has installed a new bench seat by Middle Lock, there is no commemorative plaque on it that we could see, so I wonder who has paid for it? Not a cheap job.DSCF8705The Mucky Duck has had their sign repainting by the look of it. I don’t remember it being so bright.DSCF8706

We turned right here and a couple of friendly walkers opened the bridge for us as we passed. At one time CRT planned to put a locking mechanism on this bridge, thankfully for some reason we will probably never know they abandoned, the idea once through the swing bridge we pulled over to fill with water. Whilst there I took the opportunity to ring round for some diesel prices so we can fill up before going home. Once the tank was full we were off, a pair of swans gave a nice reflection shot.DSCF8707

On the off side just to the south of Brookhay Bridge a couple of boats have installed moorings on the off side by the woods, I know this land use to belong to the ex owner of Brookhay Cottage so I assume the boaters have bought it, but I am surprised if CRT have sanctioned the moorings there. DSCF8710

We hadn’t planned on stopping at Streethay for diesel but then I saw the price£1-07. so I had gone by and had to reverse back.That had a crane DSCF8712working on the yard lifting boats, I could see that had just completed a lift and were tickling a Springer onto the cradle so I reverse back against the wharf for a fill up knowing there wouldn’t be a boat swinging over me.
Bit of a sad sight on the moorings just before the Huddlesford Plough with this sunken boat on the moorings.DSCF8713

This boat always brings a smile, we often see it around the area with all the tyre sculptures and other nick knacks on board.DSCF8714

I hope this farmer has put notices out warning the hedgehogs not to eat the pumpkins, it looks as if he may have grown to many this year, is it demand falling or more growing them? Such a waste of good food every year.DSCF8716

We have moored right outside the Tame Otter at Hopwas, the gun fire has finally stopped from the Army shooting range . You can see the safety exclusion area on this map.image

Once moored up I took a feel down the weed hatch around the prop shaft as I had the feeling there was a little something there, and I was right, this is a first for me, the hooks are hidden in the blue stuff. It was as expected round the shaft between the hull and the back of the propeller.DSCF8718

Today’s Journey image8¾ miles, 2 locks in 4½ hours

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Shadehouse Lock

Surprisingly quiet last night for being in a town, a bit of rain overnight but dry this morning, a chilly dry I might add, winter is coming. It was a little after 10 when we set off and needless to say, that not only did it coincided with a boat coming past but also one coming the other from under the bridge.
I use to enjoy looking at the birds of pray in two of the gardens a short way before the Ash Tree Boat Club but passing today there is only one, the other house where there was on has removed the aviary.
The Lady with the Lamp on the Hawkesyard Moorings has moved back to her original position at the East end.DSCF8699

We chugged through the narrows at Armitage and just as we exited the bridge we met a boat coming towards us, so he had to pull back about a boats length, the boat we were following thought we had stopped as we were a lot slower passed the moorings than he was. As we approached the church bend there are several trees with lots of roots exposed to the air.DSCF8702

We met several boats between here at Woodend Lock but it was till against us. The HS2 embankment stands proud on the Southside of the canal but nothing has happened on the North.DSCF8704

Our planned mooring for the night was just above Shadehouse lock so we were pleased to find only one boat moored there.

Today’s Journey image

7¼ miles, 1 lock in 3 hours

Monday 20 November 2023


Last night it wasn’t the owls, ducks or even the foxes we could hear, it was the trains.
At least it was fine when we set off this morning just after ten. Last time we came this way these offside moorings had been taken over by the company doing the towpaths, they have made quite a good job of restoring everything.DSCF8692

As we left Tixall Lock I spotted this small growth around the near side bottom gate. I have seen a lot DSCF8693fungi this past couple of weeks, some of which looked very edible.
I think the towpath is much improved from our last visit and on the wide they have lifted the path in places with a couple of rows of sandbags, it must have been so close to flowing over.DSCF8694

As you can see the morning was dead calm when we set of, the breeze did pick up a bit later when it was quite chilly.DSCF8695

We were pleased to meet a boat between the aqueduct and Great Haywood Junction as it resulted in Haywood Lock being full, meeting another couple of boats below also ensured that Colwich lock was in our favour. I don’t remember so many boats being moored at the housed on the offside below the lock in the past. We didn’t see much more movement but I couldn’t resist a snap of this little chap or lass.DSCF8696

It wasn’t long before we were in Rugeley and passing Naomi's Landing, for those of you that have never been passed the establishment its best describes and a house with a smallish garden and mooring. They keep their boat on the mooring but the garden and landing stage are home to numerous manikins  that get redressed many time in the course of the year, obviously we are now approaching Christmas. If you wish to see more they have a Facebook Page (5) Facebook 


We planned to moor in Rugeley and both the moorings between the |Tesco/Morrison bridge and the removed bridge were free, so once the boat coming towards us had passed we pulled in there.

Today’s Journey image

6¾miles, 3 locks in 3 hours

Sunday 19 November 2023

Tixall Lock

It was completely dry last night, not a drop of rain, there wasn’t even any dew on the boat this morning, no damp at all. We had an early morning call from the ducks pecking round the hull but had no problem going off to sleep again. In view of the weather forecast we set off a little early at half nine and we didn’t  need a raincoat until Park Gate Lock which was rather slow to fill, the top offside paddle has been us for years. Just after we left the lock we met a boat so Shutt Hill Lock was with us, but it was the only one.
From here the rain was only light and spasmodic so not too bad. Acton Trussell church looks an interesting little building but not built on quite the highest point of the village.DSCF8682

Just beyond the Stafford Boat Club a stream comes into the canal on the off side, I was under the impression that CRT had dredged this area but the canal is only about a foot deep for half its width, OK if you don’t meet anyone.The stream is right beside this culvert.DSCF8688

All the land opposite is still well under water which is not unusual for this time of the year, I bet there is some fantastic bird watching to be had.DSCF8687

A little further on is the site of the proposed Stafford Link, whether it ever gets completed is another matter and if it does how useful it will be if it all floods every year and the problems that will bring.DSCF8689

We had just turned onto the aqueduct crossing the river Sow when we met the second boat of the day, the restaurant boat from the Garden Centre at Great Haywood, he was only going to the winding hole and returning so he hat left the top gate open at Tixall Lock so it would be ready for us. I thanked him for his generosity but didn’t tell him we were mooring before the lock and it would still be in his favour, I thought it would be a pleasant surprise for for him. By now it was really raining and we pulled in to moor a few hundred yards before the lock on the straight section of piling.

Today’s journeyimage 

8½ miles, 4 locks in 3¾hours

Saturday 18 November 2023


No owls last night, just the horrible sound of foxes screaming, that and the rain on the roof which I think lasted all night, it was just dying out at 8 this morning. At least the neighbours were quiet.DSCF8681

Every lock today has been against us, we did meet two boats as we left Brick Kiln Lock but they must have been moored in the pound below because Boggs Lock was empty.
At one lock there was a fisherman just above the lock and when Diana worked the lock he just stood there fishing with his back to her, as I arrived he took his tackle and stood on the towpath back to the canal looking at the hedge, I think that is the least interactivity I have ever had with a fisherman.
We decided to fill with water at Penkridge, but the boat we had obviously been following all day was there, Thankfully he had finished using the services and had just set Penkridge lock to leave. We filled with water and just as we were leaving it started to rain, we only went just below the lock to moor for the night.

Today’s Journeyimage

5 miles, 7 locks in 3¼ hours

Friday 17 November 2023

Four Ashes

Luckily we had got back to the boat last night before the rain started. It may have been raining when we went to bed but it cleared out over night and we woke to ice on the roof of the boat and mist rising from the canal as can be seen at the only lock of the day Crompton Lock.DSCF8677

Quite a busy day on the cut today and we met 4 boats, the first an ex working boat called Aldridge, It’s not historic but not only is it ex working but its still working for the Rothen group.DSCF8679

Passing the moorings by the M54 this creature was lurking by the waters edge, I wonder if it ate the giraffe that use to be here.DSCF8678

Just beyond Hatherton Marina there has been a lot of work clearing trees for some reason, some of tree stumps and roundels are very brightly coloured. DSCF8680

We carried on meeting another two Narrowboats both of them looking very similar. Our mooring for the night was a sort way before Long Molls Bridge.

Today’s Journey image

8½ miles, 1 lock in 3¼ hours

Thursday 16 November 2023


Well it happened again, just getting ready to set off and a boat came passed, so all the locks were against us. Again the weather was dead calm and cooler than of late.DSCF8672

We had to wait for a boat to descend Bubblehole lock, but that wouldn’t put any locks in our favour, leaving the lock I picked up a blade full that I couldn’t shake off so I cleared the prop at the bottom of the Bratch flight. It wasn’t pleasant as it was brambles tight around the shaft in front of the prop with a minced beer can in there for good measure.
As I entered the lock I spotted what someone coming down had removed from their prop, a collection of fenders. Why do people lock or even boat with them down?DSCF8673

We pushed on to Awbridge lock where we met another boat coming down but even with the delays we were to close to the boat ahead for it to be an advantage. I often wonder who and why this design of bridge was called for and not a plane accommodation bridge like everywhere else.DSCF8674

By Wightwick lock we cold see the boat ahead leaving but that is as close as we got. If anyone fancies a house with mooring potential then this one may fit the bill. It has a surprising amount of canal frontage.DSCF8675

We moored up just before Compton Lock on the 5 day moorings and considered going to the Italian restaurant for a meal but the only time they could fit us in was 5pm or 8-45pm. one too early and one too late.  It always bothers me booking a table way ahead as on a boat you can never be sure exactly when you will arrive or if you can get a mooring etc. so its off to the pub.

Today’s Journeyimage

4½ miles, 8 locks in 4 hours

Wednesday 15 November 2023


Last night was the first time this trip we have really been out in the wilds, the owls were making their presence know and how dark it was came as bit of a shock when I got the TV aerial in.
This morning was calm and sunny with bright blue sky’s but it wasn’t long before the cloud started rolling in, this was by Ashwood Marina, but it did stay fine all day.DSCF8657

As we needed water we pulled in just above Greensforge Lock, unfortunately a boat coming the other way also pulled in for water while we were locking up so we mayst have been there for a good hour while he filled his tank and then we filled ours. We passed a CRT team cutting overhanging trees and bushes along the tow path shredding the remains onto the bank. All their power tools are batteryDSCF8660

This is rather a sorry sight, obviously at some point it was someone.s home and the have not only lost that home but also all their belongings.DSCF8661

At Marsh Lock there is an inscription on the name


board saying that P Cox made them all. Was he a Staffs and Worcs Canal Society member?
DSCF8663 DSCF8662

There is also an interesting bywash at this lock with an oval spill weir at the top.DSCF8664

Last time we were this way they were renovating the old building just below Botterham Staircase lock.DSCF8666The building may not look the same but they have gone to great trouble to keep the old Waterways sign that was on it.DSCF8665

There is a photo of what it use to look like in one of my old blogs
Harnser's Travels: Kinver Tuesday 29 August 2017 (nbharnser.blogspot.com)

It pays to keep well back in the bottom chamber of the Botterham Staircase when going up if you don’t want the well deck filled with water.

A car has not only hit the bridge but it had also gone down the embankment on the offside. The car has been removed but there are sill bits down there, whether it was responsible for all the damage to the bridge I don’t know.DSCF8669

CRT have erected this sign with instructions how to operate the stair case with a bit on the bottom about saving water. I am not sure its correct, but it made my brain hurt thinking about it, but I’m not convinced.DSCF8670

We continued in the sunshine mooring for the night just short of Wombourne Bridge as it looked as if the 5 day moorings were full, there is a Sainsburys close by which is handy, but we are directly under the power cable and if I stand on the wooden bench on the front deck and touch the earthed TV pole I get a slight tingle, now haw can I use this to charge the batteries?

Today’s Journeyimage4½ miles, 8 locks in 4 hours