This Month's Totals and Average
134.12 miles 81 locks 70.49 hrs 3.05 lmph

  June 2014

Monday 30th June ~ Barbridge to Hack Green (four counties ring)

Another beautiful sunny day! Continued westward along the remaining mile of the Middlewich Branch before turning left (south) on the Shropshire Union Canal - the "Shroppie". Attempted to stop at the chandlery at Barbridge Junction but, as usual, there were no moorings available.

Stopped at Nantwich for a walk into town, including lunch at Harrison's Café Bar, then continued southwards, stopping at Hack Green, Burrows Bridge (85). If you are interested in visiting the 'Secret Bunker' , this is the best mooring.

7.43 miles 2 locks 3.29 hrs 2.87 lmph

Sunday 29th June ~ Middlewich to Barbridge (four counties ring)

Day dawned very sunny; beautiful morning. Away after breakfast. Sun slowly dimmed away and rain set in by mid-morning, heavy by lunchtime. Stopped just short of Venetian Marina, had lunch, then popped across to their chandlery.

Departed headed for Barbridge Junction, but were told by another boat that moorings were very hard to get once the corner was turned so we stopped again about a mile short of the junction (the alternative being to risk not getting stopped until Nantwich). Sun came back out again during the afternoon.

8.15 miles 3 locks 3.97 hrs 2.81 lmph

Saturday 28th June ~ Middlewich

Heavy rain showers overnight turned back to drizzle by morning. Returned to chandler who had been getting a part for us, did the shopping in town, noting a very good artisan street-market.

Still drizzling on return so had lunch and decided not to move. Sky cleared a little so got a few jobs out of the way, but cloud increased again by dinner time, bringing the temperature down. Plan to move on tomorrow.

Friday 27th June ~ Wheelock to Middlewich (four counties ring)

After the marathon of locks yesterday, slow start. Mid-morning, backed up to the wharf for routine chores. Stopped chatting probably longer than expected. Got away late morning and headed for Middlewich. Drizzle set in shortly after departure and it increased during the day making it a very driech.

Stopped above King's Lock for a late lunch and trip to chandlery, then turned onto the Middlewich Branch (noting the memorial to Maureen Shaw ), and moored just west of Long Lane bridge (29).

6.05 miles 6 locks 3.90 hrs 3.09 lmph

Thursday 26th June ~ Kidsgrove to Wheelock (four counties ring)

Mass departure from the mooring at about 0900, with boats leaving in both directions. We continued downhill on Heartbreak Hill meeting up at locks with "Tolerance" and "Kallista". Passage assisted by "Rob the Lock" (mans the flight as a hobby, not as a CRT volunteer).

Took a break for lunch between Pierpoint and Hassall Green locks, then continued down to Wheelock, where we moored just west of Wheelock Wharf.

Had a walk into the village for supplies for Smokie (one customer had brought their pet skunk into the "Pet Food Superstore"; very tame indeed!)

6.05 miles 23 locks 5.83 hrs 4.98 lmph

Wednesday 25th June ~ Etruria to Kidsgrove (four counties ring)

Prompt start again, leaving the Caldon Canal and continuing northwest on the T&M. Just missed a northbound convoy at the Harecastle tunnel  so had a wait for the next.

Exceptionally slow run through the tunnel; the boat in front ran scared of the low overhead height and went through barely on tickover. The comment by the tunnel-keeper on exit was "Don't say anything!", and shook his head (there had been a 10 minute gap after the previous boat.

We passed down through the first three of the Red Bull flight and tied up for the day at the official mooring between locks 43 and 44. Had lunch, went for a walk to bridge 135 and back, then went for a pint at the "Red Bull".

6.58 miles 3 locks 3.30 hrs 2.90 lmph

Tuesday 24th June ~ Stone to Etruria (four counties ring)

Got under way quickly, and moved up to Stone Chandlery to see if they had one or two of the things we needed, then continued on. Found a queue at Trentham Lock, allegedly caused by an unannounced stoppage for 1½ hours because Prince Charles was visiting the museum at Etruria. The backlog caused some loss of time.

Finally arrived at Etruria, so reversed up the Caldon Canal to the mooring there for overnight.

9.78 miles 14 locks 7.51 hrs 3.17 lmph

Monday 23rd June ~ Great Haywood to Stone (four counties ring)

Phoned the yard as soon as they opened and they said they would send Adam out straight away. He arrived about 1030 and we narrowed the problem down to a leaking stop-valve and a leak in the attached pipe at the jubilee clip. Replaced the valve and cropped the pipe - all appears OK.

Had been up to the Canalside Farm Shop  while Adam was working, so had lunch then took water before heading off, continuing northwest along the Trent & Mersey canal.

Running "late" by this time, it was after 1800 till we arrived in Stone so went to "The Star" for dinner.

10.09 miles 5 locks 5.16 hrs 2.92 lmph

Sunday 22nd June ~ Fradley to Great Haywood (four counties ring)

Bad news overnight. Found that although the loo cassette seems to not now be leaking, the inlet pipe (taken off to replace the unit on Friday) is now leaking. At least it is clean water this time! Will have to contact the builder again on Monday.

Got away at a reasonable time and turned northwards at the junction, onto the Trent & Mersey, working quickly up the three locks as other boats were coming down. It was a warm day but with occasional cloudy spells. Stopped for lunch just after the narrows at the derelict tunnel at Armitage.

After crossing the Brindley Bank aqueduct, we noted the information boards about Christina Collins  who is reputed to have been the first recorded murder on the cut by working boatmen.

Continued up Colwich Lock and moored up for the night just before Haywood Lock (at Shugborough Hall ). Walked into Great Haywood village for post box.

12.21 miles 4 locks 5.69 hrs 2.85 lmph

Saturday 21st June ~ Fazeley to Fradley (four counties ring)

Slept slightly longer than intended (but still only 0800). Cleared up and made ready to leave. Current plan to head for Fradley, then Great Haywood, then continue up the Trent & Mersey to Middlewich. Turn onto Branch and head back south on 'Shoppie' before returning to Great Haywood by the 'Worcs & Brum', and home again by the second week in July as son and his girlfriend are joining us for a couple of days.

Pat walked down to the village to post mail and get a paper, so I let go on my own and took "Paws" out to Fazeley Junction and picked Pat up there. We then headed northwest up the Coventry Canal towards Fradley. During the canal-building period, the Coventry Canal Company had obtained their Act to create a canal from Coventry  to join the Trent & Mersey at Great Haywood. The Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Company had also obtained an Act to connect to the Coventry Canal and thus to the T&M, Grand Union and Oxford Canals. Unfortunately, the Coventry Canal Company was slow to get their work down, and since the B&F had a vested interest in its completion, they actually undertook some of the work to the northwest of Fazeley Junction, so there was a part of the "Coventry Canal" which was actually "owned" by the B&F (part of the Birmingham Canal Navigations). The T&M company started to work from Fradley and met up with the B&F at Whittington - this section was sold back to the Coventry company forming a "detached section".

Slow run for us as the boat in front was "taking its time". Whilst there is no rush, it becomes frustrating to be on tick-over ALL the time.

Moored mid-afternoon just short of the swing bridge at Fradley. Took a walk out to the Junction, visited the two gift shops to get postcards, had a pint at "The Swan" and returned to the boat for a quiet evening (not a lot on tele for anyone not interested in football).

11.10 miles 0 locks 4.51 hrs 2.46 lmph

Friday 20th June ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Long lie this morning, knowing nobody coming (well, lie in till 0800). Decided over breakfast we would do the supermarket shopping, then head off again for the weekend. 0910 phone goes - the replacement loo has arrived and the builder is coming this morning! Revert Plan A.

Adam arrived at 1200 with everything expected, and worked until 1930 without a break. All bar three items from the list have been completed (we await testing of the loo over the next few days to prove whether the replacement has been successful or not). This leaves us free to get out and about (subject to testing as above), so a late dinner and quiet night with the expectation of an early(ish) departure tomorrow.

Thursday 19th June ~ Dordon to Fazeley

Routine start, and ran back over the north side of Tamworth and dropped down through the Glascote Locks to Fazeley Junction. Stopped just before the junction for lunch and local shops, before continuing left and back to our Marina.

7.31 miles 2 locks 3.65 hrs 2.55 lmph

Wednesday 18th June ~ Fazeley to Dordon (short break away)

Wide awake early so decide to get going. Plan to go out towards Glascote, as far as we fancy, then return tomorrow.

Got as far as the Tame Aqueduct and the screech returned, this time with some smoke. Got alongside and tied up; investigation suggested stern seal (it is one of the new "water seals" with no greaser). Prop clear, engine appeared OK, tried in gear again and no foul noises ??!?. With nothing to see, continued trip. Rammed on approaches to Glascote locks; it left the bottom lock and weaved its way along before hitting us; didn't get a chance to see a name or take a number. After that kind of morning, and with drizzle setting in, decided we needed a break so stopped for lunch at the Gate Inn  - fantastic scampi & chips.

Resumed (extremely full) to sun breaking through and uneventful run to Bradley Green Winding Hole (short of Atherstone Locks). Winded and returned to moor up at Meadow Lane Bridge (50). Early night as tired with the heat.

9.36 miles 2 locks 4.78 hrs 2.38 lmph

Tuesday 17th June ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Manage to nail them down to "coming Friday", so we said "we're off for two days". All preps done and ready to go.

6th-16th June ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

Friday started as a good day. We started working on some of the wee jobs left over from the build (to save the builder some time) Obtained the extra bits needed, and got to work. Day got hotter as it went on.

Just before breakfast on Saturday we got the forecast thunderstorms, but although the rain lingered on till lunchtime, it cleared somewhat during the afternoon. Generally quiet day.

Mostly sunny with occasional showers, heavy at times, for Sunday and into the new week. Still no word from the builders as to when they may be coming to finish the jobs.

The week spent not doing a lot, patiently (although it is running out) waiting for news from the builders. Nothing by Friday, so another weekend alongside. Assisted in some gardening and tidying the marina communal area on Saturday. Weather still fairly unpredictable, although mostly dry.

Still no news by Monday afternoon so we ring them asking for update on when they will do the work - if they're not coming "this week", we are going out and they can wait until we get back!

Thursday 5th June ~ Fazeley Mill Marina

After all the rain yesterday, today dawned bright and sunny. We had a long lie then moved "Paws" across to the services berth for fuel, gas and loo, then back to our berth for water. Once everything was tidied up, we headed up to Ventura Retail Park for stores.

After lunch, I cleaned the bird droppings off the bike and gave her a check over ready for next week, then got down to working on the "our boat" pages of this site. Pat did her cleaning and ran two loads of washing - they dried very well out on the stern.

Wednesday 4th June ~ Dordon to Fazeley

Despite the forecast, there was only drizzle with the sun visible through the cloud so we decided to head on to Fazeley. It wasn't too bad until we got near Glascote when the heavens opened - drowned again!

Eventually got to the marina, parked up, stripped and went through a hot shower before getting a late lunch. The sky was brightening again by mid afternoon.

7.38 miles 2 locks 3.41 hrs 2.75 lmph

Tuesday 3rd June ~ Sutton's to Dordon (en route to Fazeley)

A bright if cloudy start to the day. Got under way promptly so as to get back to Polesworth tonight. Steady run with nothing to write about until we got to Atherstone . Headed down the first five locks, then stopped to collect stores in town. Continued on to the bottom of the flight although held up at Lock 10 by the broken paddle gear on the top gate. CRT have now measured for new stop-planks, but they are not yet ready. The bottom gate has a leak so the lock is taking a long time to fill each time. Once down, stopped at the Services point for "loo" and water, then, with the rain coming on, we headed to find a mooring for the night. Stopped by Meadow Lane Bridge (50). Forecast for tomorrow is very poor; may elect not to move.

14.08 miles 11 locks 7.92 hrs 3.17 lmph

Monday 2nd June ~ Cathiron to Sutton's (en route to Fazeley)

After overnight rain, day dawned sunny with occasional clouds. Got away after breakfast and had a basically uneventful trip down to Sutton's Stop - the only highlight being a sighting of two water voles swimming across the canal.

Watered before the stop-lock, then turned right onto the Coventry Canal bound for Fazeley Junction. Moored along the main line, clear of the junction. Did a pile of ropework (prepared and spliced the rope for our anchor, then stowed it properly, then spliced the rope for our fenders). Usual chores before dinner. Cloud increased during afternoon and threatened rain, but cleared again by after dinner.

10.07 miles 1 locks 3.85 hrs 2.87 lmph

Sunday 1st June ~ Willoughby to Cathiron (en route to Fazeley)

Beautiful sunny morning; too good to rush. Pottered about then headed for Hillmorton Locks (stopped part way down to "do the loo", then on to Rugby. Stopped at the retail park for lunch and Tescos. The same Willow Wren pair as yesterday only escaped a collision by the skin of their teeth - going too fast again! Moved on to the mooring at Tuckey's Bridge (43) for the night, but weather forecast for tomorrow not good.

8.48 miles 3 locks 3.71 hrs 3.09 lmph

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