Sunday 31 March 2024


It was a little after 10 when we set off, a nice lull in the traffic so we were hoping for a nice run up the locks, in the end it took 2 hours to do 4 locks. As we approached Star Lock there was a boat on the waterpoint who had just finished watering up but were still packing away and Star was in our favour, a good start. Then we got to Yard Lock where a boat was waiting for the lock and so it went on. It’s nice to see they have cleared up around the Lady at  the lock.DSCF9105

Above the lock Canal Cruising had a lot of their fleet still in the yard, we have met a couple out, but that’s all.DSCF9106

Up at Newcastle Road lock as well as the boat going up we had to wait for another to come down, the same at Limekiln Lock. By the time we got to the Meaford flight there were three ahead. We had to wait for one to come down, they had those long rope fenders on the bow cheeks that are getting popular now which snagged the iron work going in. Once they were in, it took some time it was open a half paddle at a time, going down. This did mean the queue ahead had moved on a bit. At Meaford top lock the bridge has been damaged yet again, I think I have only ever seen it prim and proper once in all the times I have been through, it must cost CRT a fortune, This time its a capping stones gone.DSCF9114

Now we were away for a nice gentle cruise up to Trentham, several of the boats ahead had stopped at Barlaston or Wedgwood and one pulled out just after we passed, he caught us up at Trentham Lock and told us he was mooring at the tunnel tonight, about another 4½ hours. We carried on for about a mile and a quarter past the winding hole to moor for the night, This use to be opposite the meadow, but now its opposite a new housing estate.DSCF9117

Since we have been here the wind has freshened a lot but its still dry..


Today’s Journey image

6 miles, 9 locks in 4½ hours

Saturday 30 March 2024


Woke to a lovely morning and set off just before 9-30 and it happened again, just got the front rope off and a boat comes along, thankfully he moored up just a little further along so we weren't sitting on his tail all day. Before we set off I took this shot of Shugborough Hall with its new lake, I wonder what it was like at the worst of the floods?DSCF9090

Gt Hayward is hosting an Easter floating market and the first boat was moored at Iron Bridge and then DSCF9093

they were continuous up to Gt Hayward Junction. Diana jumped ship to visit the Cheese Boat joining me again at the lock. She left me again once through the lock to buy cakes, but they weren’t open that early and I picked her up again at the junction. We met lots of boats but all the locks were still against us. Just below Hoo Mill Lock I noticed this new bridge crossing the Trent and a new accessDSCF9094  roadway which came close to the canal further up, first thoughts was HS2 but its too far north.
Its good to see that the Asbo Swan at Weston is alive and well, Diana isn’t kicking but letting himDSCF9101bite her boot rather than her ankle, he means business. He chased us to the bridge. There is a video of him here I shot in 2016. Trip Report 2016.
This must be my favourite bridge on the whole system, I just love all the brick arches.DSCF9102

At Sandon Lock we caught up with the boat ahead, he in turn had caught up with the one ahead of him, its the first queue for a lock we have been in. There was a tremendous amount of water coming out through the bywash so hopefully we will have no problem with levels.DSCF9103

As we approached Aston Lock I could see three of them queued waiting but we turned into Aston Marina to fill with diesel at a reasonable £1-04 domestic. At the moment I burn 10 to 11 Lts per day heating, cooking and the engine. The marina has two access points from the canal so they have a one way system, in at the North end and out at the South so we did a complete loop.image

When we got back on the canal the three boats had gone up but there were two moor now waiting. As we left the lock I saw these stop planks that someone has added to.DSCF9104

As we approached the Stone moorings there was a boat half adrift across the cut, as I pulled in to retrieve it some passes dragged it back to the bank, turned out two of them were boaters moored on the visitor moorings. We pulled into the first vacant spot expecting Stone to be packed out, but when Diana walked into town she reported loads of room above Star Lock and also between the water point and the winding hole. Trouble is, if you go up Star Lock and there is no room its a long way before you can moor anywhere.

Today’s Journeyimage

10½ miles, 5 locks in5½ hours.

Friday 29 March 2024

Little Haywood

e away by 9-30 but even so about 6 boats had been by. As we untied to pull away the last one was on its way from the lock so I waited until it was passed and then followed it to Kings Bromley marina where they pulled in and gave us an open road. We only met a few more boats but passed a lot of moored ones. A clean run through Armitage Tunnel and no CRT, I didn’t have my headlight on or send anyone ahead. Its good to see the old chap keeping a good light at the far end, for a time he moved further down the moorings , but its good to see him back.DSCF9081

As we approached the waterpoint just before The Ash Tree Pub, the narrowboat Jamima D was just leaving which was very handy as we have filled up this trip yet. The next stop was Rugeley with lots of spaces to pull in for a quick visit to Tesco and as we were tide up we also had lunch. You can’t pass through Rugeley without a photo of Naomi's Landing with the team in their summer wear.DSCF9082


  There were more boats moored just over the aqueduct than we have seen before. As we passed Worsley Bridge it started raining, the App that was so right yesterday said we wouldn’t get any rain today. A short way before Colwich lock we caught up with a day boat, steering wasn’t their strong point, When they finally got to the lock landing I pulled in behind and Diana went up to the lock where the boat ahead was just leaving, she then turned the lock and kindly worked the day boat up, they had found the windlass by now but it was probably quicker her telling them to both stay on the boat. I worked up to the lock to see if any boats were waiting to come down, and the lock is certainly living up to its nickname cow sh*t Lock.DSCF9085

I went back down to bring Harnser against the bottom gates but Diana waved me back and worked a single hander down, as she had worked the day boat through he assumed she was a volunteer working the lock for boaters. By  now the rain had stopped and there was a double rainbow over the cottages across the field, the second ring is quite faint.DSCF9088

Now it was my turn up the lock and no one coming the other way to leave the gates for. We pushed on to where the railway line goes into the cutting and moored for the night. Looking over to Shugborough Hall the river bank have disappeared the there are several acers of water where the grass should be.

Today’s Journeyimage

11 miles, 1 lock in 5 hours

Thursday 28 March 2024

Wood End Lock

It was bit of a blustery night with the wind right on our stern doors, not the best nights sleep, so this morning we set off early to avoid the rain, well before 8-30 is early for us.
After leaving Fazeley you pass a new housing development on the towpath side, just after Sutton Road bridge, CRT have dredged the offside alongDSCF9073here, I was hoping they would also dredge out the reeds further up. but no luck.
The weather was quite pleasant and we met a few boats, a couple at bridge holes and a couple by a string of moored boats. As we approached Fradley I saw my first pair of swans of the season, but nesting doesn’t look to be going to well.DSCF9076

The weather app on the Ipad said rain at 12 o’clock, we should just make Fradley Junction by then and we did, spot on. However the weather looked fine, even a bit of sun so we decided to push on.DSCF9078 We hadn’t cleared the swing bridge when it started lightly raining, we both thought it wont be much and pushed on, by the time we got to Shadehouse Lock we were wet and and there were no available moorings, Diana went to change out of her wet clothes and I motored on to Wood End Lock by which time Diana was dried out, but still it rained. As I entered the lock I spotted a tiny nest in the wall of the lock entrance, I walked back down to photograph it but its not come out well, as its not visible from the bank. If it stops raining I will try again.DSCF9080

Above the lock all the moorings on the piling were occupied so we are on pins at the top end graunching about on the underwater rocks.


Today’s Journey image

12 miles, 3 Locks in 4½ hours

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Fazeley Junction

It was a funny sort of day leaving home about half nine in fine weather and big black clouds, it wasn’t long before we had a few very short light showers, lots of places the road was completely dry. Then it got out really nice, the outside temperature hit 13°C but as we got to the Midland heavy constant rain and the temperature dropped to just 5°C as we got to the boat the rain stopped and the temperature managed to get back to double figures for a bit.
Two fifteen saw us drop the mooring lines off and head out onto the cut, turning left towards Fazeley. I met the first boat of the day at the first bridge hole, no longer any bridge, the surprising thing was he had his TV aerial on top of a mast  on his roof, so he couldn’t have come very far as there are lots of low bridges.
I just love the way this house is painted, not only did they go up to the boundary they also did exactly half the chimney. You can see from the photo what the weather was like then.DSCF9071

When we got to Glascote lock again the bottom offside paddle was up a couple of clicks, however when we came to empty the lock we could only wind the same paddle up about one and a half turns before it came up solid. As we made our way to the junction the weather was getting cooler and cloudier. One thing I don’t recall seeing before is the signpost at the junction, maybe it was buried in the hedge, as you can see the newer one is a few feet to the right .DSCF9072 As we passed the old CRT offices we were discussing where to moor for the night, stop here or carry on to Hopwas, it was turning cool and spitting with rain so we pulled over opposite the old offices and water point. we had only just finished tying up when it started to rain properly, so that was it for the night.

Todays Journeyimage

3¾ miles, 2 locks in 1¾ hours

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Back Home

Heavy rain over night and first thing this morning but not to heavy when we set off at quarter past nine. We have never moored in this spot before and found it very quiet. It wasn’t long before we reached Glascote locks, we expected these to be against us as a boat passed us late yesterday afternoon. To our surprise the top lock was empty, looking closely it was due to the offside bottom paddle being up about 4”. It required the use of a windlass to take it right down.
By the time we reached the marina the drizzle was very light and thankfully no wind which made the revers down the marina to our slot relatively easy.

If you wish to see the complete journey on Google maps then its here you can also see all the trips we have made this year.

This trip we have covered some 116 miles, 118 locks in some 60 hours, we also did several tunnels, some 4 times and some only once.

Todays Journey image

3½ miles, 2 locks in 1¾ hours

Monday 11 March 2024

Fazeley Junction

Bit of a grey morning but no rain, we set off a little after ten and headed for yet another tunnel, that makes 6 this trip, one of them 4 times. Today it was Curdworth tunnel and we had to wait as aDSCF9059 boat was coming the other way. Hopefully this will mean Curdworth locks are with us. Curdworth tunnel is another snug one with a towpath, but in this case it has a very slight bend and bump in the offside south end.
Sure enough Curdworth Lock No.1 was with us, but it was the only one. The rest needed turning probably due to the 6 inch square hole in the top of the top gate. DSCF9061

There wasn’t much activity down by lock 4 on HS2 with only a couple of vans on site, nothing at all on the offside.DSCF9062

When we reached lock No.10 we could see a boat ahead just entering lock No.11, maybe we have followed them all the way down the flight from Lock 2?
Passing Debbi’s Day Boats Midland Marine Services were grit blasting a boat ready blacking, there are not that many yards that do blasting so its worth remembering, I don’t know if they can do the base plate as well.DSCF9069

At Fazeley Junction we reversed up to the water point and filled with water before passing under bridge 77 onto the Coventry Canal and moored for the night.


Todays Journey image

7 miles, 11 locks in 5 hours.

Sunday 10 March 2024

Wiggins bridge, Curdworth

It started raining during the night and it still hasn’t stopped. One of the boats opposite set off about 8am going the same way as us so he had over a two hour start on us.
We set off in light rain through the old gauging lock and down to Salford Junction where we turned right on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. Things looked up along here as we met a boat so maybe Minworth would be with us and lo and behold it was. But the good times were not to last, below the lock the single hander who had been moored at Star City was just pulling away so we would be following him down the next two locks. At the bottom lock CRT as so keen on looking after the infrastructure that have wrapped this paddle gear so it doesn’t get wet.DSCF9057

We chugged on for another half an hour or so to moor up in the rain just before Wiggins Bridge and Curdworth, I was going to moor in front of the Cuttle Bridge Inn but the road is just a little bit quieter here.

Todays Journey image

5 miles, 3 locks in 2¼ hours

Saturday 9 March 2024

Star City (sort of)

Last night looking for something different to eat we went to Mooncat and I must say it wasn’t what I expected. The food was nice and the music great, but I wasn’t expecting the entertainment supplement on the bill, I was hoping for a nice quite meal in a Japanese restaurant. IMG_20240308_195329

This morning the boat behind set off at 9am, it was gone ten when we left so we were a but miffed to see them at the top of Farmers Bridge Locks, but it turned out OK, they were just filling with water before going the other way. They even opened the gates on the top lock for us.
The octagonal high rise building is really takingDSCF9033 shape one of the many high rise buildings going up in the area. It looks as if they build the centre spine first and then the rest of the building round it. There is another odd shaped one further down that up to 22 floors so far. I am rather a fan of the old painted signage on brickwork as I posted in this blog however this one in Birmingham is less than 10 years old, maybe only 5, I cant see it standing the test of time .DSCF9035

Just above lock 13 you go under a large railway bridge, the side vaults have steel grills over them but not just plain steel ones, something more decorative to which someone has added some paint. DSCF9037

Down at Aston junction we turned right to the Ashted flight of locks, the first lock drops you straight into the mouth of Ashted Tunnel, not theDSCF9038

largest of bores but it does have a tow path all the way through, it also has its fair share of cobwebs and electric light under them.DSCF9039

The development beyond the tunnel is coming on. They have rather a fancy idea how the area will look when they have finished. Boats mooed in the bywash etc.  DSCF9041On the other side of the canal I have never noticed this old property left in the middle of all the new development  before, I suppose its because we normally go in the opposite direction.DSCF9045

Another couple of locks and you come to HS2, like it of hate it, there is some interesting civil engineering going on with concrete and rusty steel.DSCF9046


I wonder if they will put the bridge over without a lengthy canal stoppage.
Then it was on to yet another tunnel, tis one is much larger and curved, you cant see end to end. Its Curzon Street Tunnel and it carries the railway over the canal.DSCF9049

From the end of the tunnel is only a short step to Digbeth Junction and on to Warwick Bar an old stop lock with back to back gates so regardless of which canal were higher, the water wouldn’t flow from one to the other, its also the location of the banana warehouse which is being renovated at the moment. I have seen boat try to go under the lean-to section but there is a solid wall about an inch under the surface.DSCF9050 The next junction was Bordesley Junction, again a left turn and a short stop for lunch on the moorings. Looking at the rubbish dumped outside the flats probably by the people living their I wouldn’t stop overnight. On down the five Garrison locks, again all against us and we come to more HS2 work. Here due to a floating towpath and new piling on the offside the canal is narrowed between bridges 108 and 108a requiring single file operation, its probably about 250 yards  of straight canal but they feel it necessary to have traffic lights to control the traffic. I would guess if they see a dozen boats a week that’s it not 50 a day,all that’s needed is a sign saying one way traffic please wait until the way ahead is clear, you can see from end to end.DSCF9053

Last time we were this way they were working on the bridge that carries high voltage cables across the canal, the work is now complete and the bridge looks very smart.DSCF9054

Our planned stop for tonight was the Star City secure moorings, but unfortunately and a first for us, they were full, se we are moored towpath side right opposite. There are a couple of other boats moored here that have been here for moths and haven been burnt out, so hopefully we will survive the night.

Todays Journey  image

24 locks, 5¼ miles in 4¾ hours