This Month's Totals and Average
156.72 miles 119 locks 88.13 hrs 3.13 lmph

  June 2016

Thursday 30th June ~ Bugsworth to Marple (en route to Macclesfield)

Far better day today. Got away just after nine and returned towards Marple. Still very little traffic in either direction. On arriving at Marple Junction, turned left onto the Macclesfield Canal with the intention of getting services done before lunch. Found another boat already watering so moored opposite and had lunch. During lunch the other boat left, and a boat and butty arrived. They had not finished by the time we had finished lunch so we went for walk into town. We arrived back to find the same pair still on the berth!

At half past four they eventually finished, and we moved across for water, loo and refuse. Decided enough was enough so just moved back across to the visitor mooring and tied up for the night. Couple of slight patches of drizzle during the afternoon, but nothing much.

6.51 miles 0 locks 3.16 hrs 2.06 lmph

Wednesday 29th June ~ Bugsworth Basin (en route to Macclesfield)

By the time we had finished breakfast and were ready to leave, the bright start to the day had turned to heavy rain. We decided to wait until lunchtime (when it was forecast to clear), then re-assess. Skipper wasn't feeling overly great by lunchtime, the rain hadn't cleared by after lunch, and the mooring was so peaceful and not very busy, that we decided to stay put for the day rather than get soaked again. Skipper feeling better by mid-afternoon so contemplated how the maps in this log could be improved (without professional software). Showers continued through into the evening, when it faired up.

Tuesday 28th June ~ Disley to Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth

On the move fairly promptly, headed towards the head of navigation at Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth. The heavy cloud and slight drizzle over breakfast cleared to a day of bright skies although remaining mostly cloudy. Passed where we walked to yesterday (New Mills and Low Leighton) then on through Furness Vale to the junction. Generally, the trees continued to line the sides of the canal, but with wider gaps allowing a better view over the Goyt Valley. At the junction, we turned right onto the Whaley Bridge Arm, mooring at the basin in the village. Took a walk through the village (small but very busy with through-traffic, it has good amenities including a large Tesco at the junction), but returned to "Paws" for lunch.

After lunch, headed back to the junction and turned right into Bugsworth Basin, a Heritage Site and Scheduled Ancient Monument. Moored up with the intention of looking round the historic details, but the rain came on (walk deferred till later/tomorrow if the rain stops). Skipper went for short walk round the basin area late afternoon. Very interesting history.

4.72 miles 0 locks 2.61 hrs 1.81 lmph

Monday 27th June ~ Disley (en route to Whaley Bridge)

After very heavy rain overnight, day dawned dry, but with cloud which threatened rain. Slow start to day, but Steerer had boat ready to go by 09:30. Admiral then decided to walk to New Mills instead! Pleasant half-hour walk, but found that the Heritage Centre is closed Mondays (Admiral hadn't checked). Very nice little town centre - got (more) stores at Sainsbury's (the evaporation rate of the wine and brandy does not seem to have reduced yet). Lunch at The Pulse Café  (vegetarian/vegan menu, large portions, excellent quality, friendly service). Cloud eventually dissipated.

Walked back to "Paws" very full. Admiral decided not to move today. Pottered around for the afternoon.

Sunday 26th June ~ Marple to Disley (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Very quiet, and all slept in. Long heavy showers over most of the night, finally stopped around breakfast. Church (incl Communion) in the morning, then lunch. Sun looked like it might poke through.

Reversed back the 250 yards to the services point for water, loo and refuse. Water was very slow. Reversed another 100 yards to the junction and headed southeast on the Upper Peak Forest Canal. The avenue of trees continued, with glimpses of the Goyt valley to the east. This gradually opened up further with wider vistas. Turf Lea Lift Bridge (22) requires a windlass, Woodend Lift Bridge (24) is electrified and requires a 'BW' key, as does Higgins Clough Swing Bridge (25). The marked visitor moorings at Disley were full, but we found a spot on the east side of town, just as the rain was again threatening.

3.08 miles 0 locks 1.99 hrs 1.55 lmph

Saturday 25th June ~ Hyde to Marple (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Another beautiful sunny start. On the go by 09:00 expecting 12 locks to the junction. Continued through the wooded avenue, with fewer houses or industrial unit backs, before the vista opened out across the Tame Valley towards Manchester. Touched the outskirts of Romiley and Woodley before crossing the Goyt Valley on the Marple Aqueduct (the railway crosses the valley at the same point making a great view). Attacked the Marple Flight.

Paddle gear still stiff, but at least no anti-vandal locks. The balance beams, though, are at head-height as one stands on the bridge over the lock, making for difficult operation. The locks are also quite deep so gates are heavy. Cloud building to the northwest as we get to Lock 10 - "Only two to go", says the 'navigator/lockwheeler'. Steerer replies, "Funny, we have Locks 13 and 14 on the GPS!". Then 15 appeared, followed by 16 - and the rain came down! Finally made the top of the flight (of 16!), soaked again, and turned right onto the Macclesfield Canal. Moored at the first possible point for belated lunch at 14:00. Rain had now ceased of course!

Went for walk in sunshine into Marple village for stores - lovely 'market street' and ASDA (used to be Co-op).

5.32 miles 16 locks 5.41 hrs 3.94 lmph

Friday 24th June ~ Hyde (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Lovely start to day; beautiful sunshine. Decided to stay put and have a relaxing day, after the last two heavy locking. 'Housekeeping' pottered with routine chores. 'Engineering' realised there was a problem with connectivity - laptop at rear couldn't connect but others at the front could. Traced to faulty connector (to be replaced). Caught up with log etc which had been delayed by failed connection. Rain came on during morning, so glad we hadn't moved. Showers continued through afternoon.

Thursday 23rd June ~ Piccadilly Village to Hyde (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Early start today to get through an area renowned for socially-challenged youth. Bright start to the day, and got hotter as it went on. Attacked the Ashton Flight (18 locks), all locks with us. One or two slightly unsavoury characters but they left us alone. Although we didn't have to fill the locks, they were still quite slow due to the anti-vandal protection on every paddle. Scenery remained dirty and uninviting the whole way up, with the rubbish, both on the surface and below water-level, increasing as we climbed. Nearly half an hour delay at Lock 15 as the pound above was almost dry. Ran water down through Lock 16 (the pound above that is long enough and the by-wash was flowing well). On the move again, but not for long! Picked up a 'bladeful' (fouled propeller) as we left the lock and had to clear it through the weedhatch. Eventually reached the top and pulled across to the services berth at Fairfield Junction for water and loo. Hadn't found the refuse collection above Lock 3, and none at this services.

Having finished at the services, turned right and continued through Ashton-under-Lyne. Lunch on the move, no more locks today. Arriving at Dukinfield Junction, we were again on the lookout for a refuse point, but none appeared to exist. There is a very good museum  in Portland Basin, but we did not stop this time. Turned right onto the Lower Peak Forest Canal (straight on is the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which leads through Stalybridge and the famous Standedge Tunnel, over the Pennines to Huddesfield and the Cooper Bridge Junction with the Calder & Hebble Navigation). There are tempting hints of rural landscape from here, but little pockets of industry keep reminding that we are not truly out of Manchester yet. Scenery continues to improve as we leave Dukinfield, heading south for Hyde. Found a quiet mooring in one of the leafier areas, just to the south of the town.

8.92 miles 18 locks 8.13 hrs 3.31 lmph

Wednesday 22nd June ~ Worsley to Piccadilly Village Manchester (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Morning broke clear and fresh. Decision made - we continue. Prompt start at 09:00 and returned through Patricroft to Stretford Waters Meeting, and turned left for central Manchester. Immediately, we were into industrial landscape, but not unpleasant so far. Wove our way between the Manchester Ship Canal and the railway and through the Trafford area, with the scenery getting increasingly old and dirty. Moored at Castlefield Junction for water and lunch. Moorings were poor at the water point in the basin, with no rings and poor holding for stakes.

Left the basin and moved round to the bottom lock of the "Rochdale Nine" (returning to CRT waters). Gates were heavy, paddles were heavy, water was flowing over the gates. Anti-vandal keys required for all paddles, although some broken ones had not been repaired. Ascended the Bottom Lock with another boat but they were only going up one so we were left to work the rest of the flight on our own. Pat and I were forced to change roles as the equipment was so stiff. There is no towpath between Locks 85 and 87 so crew need to embark at 85 or 87 and disembark to operate 86, going aboard again to get to 87 or 85. This section runs through the heart of the gay community of Manchester. Finally arrived at Ducie Street Junction. Top lock (84) upper paddles were the worst of the flight. Turned right onto the Ashton Canal (the Rochdale continues ahead over the Pennines for Sowerby Bridge on the Calder & Hebble Navigation). Moored in Piccadilly Village at Thomas Telford Basin. Pleasantly warm all day, sunny without being uncomfortable. Early night, I think, after the heavy work - back to narrow locks tomorrow, but an early start to get through the Ashton Flight.

8.90 miles 9 locks 5.73 hrs 3.12 lmph

Tuesday 21st June ~ Little Bollington to Worsley (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Awake earlier this morning, so up and got on. Bright day, sun peering through and a prospect of better to come. Let go and continued towards Manchester. Wandered through the outskirts of Dunham Massey, Altricham and Timperley, before mooring at Bridge 35 in Sale for major storing. Lunch before departure. Sun became hot during the morning.

Notice from CRT advised that the leak at Bollington on the Macclesfield Canal had appeared again and that they may have to close the canal again. At this stage, we have to be off Bridgewater Canal by Thursday night. If we go on and CRT put in a stoppage, we would be trapped until either 28 days had elapsed or the stoppage was lifted (whichever was first). If we turn round, we can clear the Bridgewater in time, but would not cruise the Rochdale, Ashton, Peak Forest or Macclesfield Canals this year. If we turn and CRT do not put a stoppage on, that would be a big waste. I rang CRT to see what the policy would be for anyone trapped through no fault of their own. Decision time tomorrow morning.

Let go and continued eastwards. Stopped at Stretford Marine for water and loo. Very helpful and friendly. Decided that tonight we would go round to Worsley on the Leigh Branch, so turned left at Stretford Waters Meeting (Junction). This route took us past Trafford Park, then over the Barton Swing Aqueduct  which carries the canal over the Manchester Ship Canal. It then passes through Patricroft and on to Worsley. The canal here seems shallower, and has more rubbish than we have seen anywhere so far on the Bridgewater. The water also grew more orange (as it does around the Harecastle Tunnel) due to the iron oxide from the mine workings . Winded at the entrance to the mines and moored for the night. After a cloudier afternoon, the sun again came through for a beautiful evening.

CRT rang back to say that they did not expect the work to take too long (we would not arrive at Bollington for another week anyway). No policy decision has been taken with regard to 'trapped' boats, but would be looking into the matter. Decision taken here - we go ahead in the hopes of little delay.

12.56 miles 0 locks 4.33 hrs 2.90 lmph

Monday 20th June ~ Little Bollington

Beautiful weather at 05:30, when woken by an owl screaming. By 07:30, cloud had returned and it was raining again. Decided to wait until lunchtime on the grounds that the forecast suggested good afternoon.

Lunchtime came and went and rain showed little signs of stopping. Wind increasing. Decided to have a dry day inside rather than get soaked again moving. Generally pottered for remainder of day, 'catering' to baking. Showers eventually died out mid-afternoon and cloud mostly clear by dinner-time. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday 19th June ~ Lymm to Little Bollington (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Walked round to church. Slightly longer walk than anticipated, but good exercise and lovely in the warm sunny weather. Turned out to be the annual congregation meeting, including details of plans for work on the building, interlaced with the service. Very interesting hearing the plans and comments. Returned to "Paws" and had lunch before a late departure.

Let go mid-afternoon and headed through the village. Earlier sunshine faded rapidly and rain came shortly after departure (steerer gets soaked again!). Made our way out the east side of Lymm (had it not been for the weather, it would have been a very pleasant run). Stopped at the water point east of Agden Bridge (26), then moved round the corner and moored for the night (enough is enough).

3.57 miles 0 locks 1.60 hrs 2.23 lmph

Saturday 18th June ~ Daresbury to Lymm (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Very quiet night, leading to a fine day. High cloud with sunny intervals. Engine service in the morning followed by clearing paperwork (including more complaints about EE's service!). Lunch before departing.

Set off mid-afternoon, with the sunny spells getting shorter and cloud building slightly. Lovely cruise through the 'back-gardens' of the villages of Keckwick, Moore, Higher Walton and Grappenhall. Manicured lawns and towpath alternated with wooded areas and more 'natural' terrain, but never overgrown sufficient to be a problem. The depth of water allows for less wake, and most boaters seem to take advantage of the extra speed they can get. Eventually moored up in the outskirts of Lymm at the (small) aqueduct over Barsbank Lane.

8.26 miles 0 locks 2.90 hrs 2.85 lmph

Friday 17th June ~ Preston Brook to Runcorn (with Freddie), thence on to Daresbury (en route to Whaley Bridge)

Up and on the move promptly. Pleasant morning although mostly cloudy. Moved the short distance to Dutton Stop Lock, descended and waited the 15 minutes for the 09:00 passage time at the Preston Brook Tunnel. Continued through the Tunnel and turned left onto the Bridgewater Canal Main Line, for Runcorn - a new stretch of water for us. Very pleasant cruise in relatively deep, wide, clear water. Stopped at the services outside Preston Brook Marina for emergency loo empty, then continued. Mostly quiet housing estates to the south and managed woodland to the north. Moored in the basin at Runcorn for lunch, and a walk to collect stores. Freddie left us here to catch the train home. Great time; come back soon (with Julie).

Totals and Average with Freddie
68.07 miles 54 locks 37.33 hrs 3.27 lmph

Original plan at this point had been to kick our heels for a couple of days, and arrive at Lymm next weekend for their Transport Festival. With the heavier enforcement of reciprocal licence arrangements , we would run out of time (and did not intend to pay extra). Revised plan is to just continue past, and through to Manchester. Left the basin and headed back towards Preston Brook. Stopped again at the services for water and to change the second loo cassette, then continued to the junction. Boat coming from Preston Brook Arm cut across our bows, made out it was our fault, then pottered. We elected to moor up slightly earlier than planned, just before Bridge 3.

12.11 miles 1 locks 4.72 hrs 2.78 lmph

Thursday 16th June ~ Anderton to Preston Brook (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Overnight heavy rain cleared quickly to a nice morning. Noted a squirrel and a jay wandering around the picnic area at the Anderton Nature Park. Walked to the Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre  for a look round. Early lunch watching the first cycle of the lift. Very interesting visit.

Returned to "Paws" and headed round to Barnton - sent a foraging party ashore for milk. Rain starting again. Timed departure (about half hour wait) to match the Saltersford Tunnel passage times, and continued through Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels. Towpath becoming more overgrown and badly maintained, permitting fewer mooring spots. Beautiful view, however, out across the Weaver Valley, with the Aston Swing Bridge and Dutton Viaduct the highlights. Eventually found a suitable mooring after Bridge 213. Rain continued unabated, with a few rolls of thunder.

5.41 miles 0 locks 2.43 hrs 2.22 lmph

Wednesday 15th June ~ Broken Cross to Anderton (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

All awake this morning, on a lovely sunny day (although still no birdsong). Let go and moved off through the chemical factories, round to the Lion Salt Works  (a restoration project possible due to grant from Heritage Lottery Fund) very interesting visit. Disappointing lunch at the museum.

On return, continued round to the services berth opposite Anderton Marina for loo and water, then moved to the visitor moorings to the east of the Boat Lift. Still sunny and hot. Freddie went for walk around Nature Park, reported very enjoyable. Dinner at the Stanley Arms . Excellent meal, friendly staff, well recommended. Rain came on as we went to bed.

3.69 miles 0 locks 1.61 hrs 2.29 lmph

Tuesday 14th June ~ Middlewich to Broken Cross (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Admiral slept in. Remaining crew ready, but kept waiting. Bright start, and improved all morning. Finally got away 10:00 and descended King's Lock, mooring at the chandlery at the tail for gas, fuel and postcards. Had a quick chat with the team on "Katie" whom we'd last seen on the Caldon Canal last year. On completion, attempted to head through Middlewich (we've been before, but new territory for "Paws"), but very heavy traffic due to Middlewich Narrowboats hire fleet changing over, and the boats starting to arrive for the Jazz & Beer Festival the coming weekend. Sun now out in full strength. Eventually descended the Middlewich Treble with the gratefully received assistance of CRT volunteers, and down through the Big Lock.

Lunch on the move as we headed through the avenue of trees on the north side of Middlewich. Pulled over for quick chat with James and Hazel on "Gabriel". Cloud starting to build as we neared Broken Cross. Hoped to moor for dinner at the pub, but nothing available so ended up on the north side of the village. Rain came on about half hour after we tied up. Noted lack of birdsong.

6.60 miles 5 locks 4.30 hrs 2.70 lmph

Monday 13th June ~ Hassall Green to Middlewich (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Up and on the move promptly as heavy day in store. Damp and drizzly start. Descended Hassall Green two locks, passed under the M6, and then attacked the Wheelock Flight (total 8), with the rain getting heavier by the minute. Good road down though, with all locks set in our favour. Moored at the services in Wheelock to top up water.

Moved off again into the long pound ('housekeeping' got on with some ironing, the apprentice was left to handle the next lock alone). Rain easing slightly to a drizzle. Descended Crow's Nest, Booth Lane Two and Rump's Locks, and moored above King's Lock. All crew needed to strip and dry out. Lunch, then a walk into the village for stores, and for our guest to visit the plaque to Maureen Shaw . Drizzle now down to occasional light showers with brighter patches of sky. Intended to have dinner at The King's Lock, but they were not serving food tonight (apparently the whole pub was closed to public due private party), so collected food from local chippy over the road (excellent meal, large portions, beautifully cooked - we'll be going there for preference in future!).

7.57 miles 14 locks 4.39 hrs 4.91 lmph

Sunday 12th June ~ Kidsgrove to Hassall Green (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

All slept in, but moved promptly once awake. Move off just after 09:00 and descended the next two of the Red Bull Flight. Pulled in at the services berth for loo and water. Drizzling. Resumed and completed the last of the Red Bull Flight, the vista opening onto the Cheshire Plain. Noted the lovely All Saints Church standing to the north of the Cut, and were serenaded by the bells for the morning service. Descended the two Church Locks, Hall's Lock and the Lawton Treble at Alsager. Moored up after Bridge 139 at Rode Heath. Raiding perty ashore for minor stores, then had lunch. Weather had brightened and drizzle ceased.

After lunch, foraging team away again, this time for wine - there seems at the moment to be a high level of evaporation which we can't explain. Let go again and descended Thurlwood Lock, noting the site of the old Thurlwood Steel Lock . Dry afternoon with sunny intervals. Continued down Lock 54 and the Pierpoint Locks (2) before mooring just above Hassall Green Top Lock. Rain returned at dinner time and sputtered on into the night.

4.46 miles 15 locks 4.07 hrs 4.78 lmph

Saturday 11th June ~ Barlaston to Kidsgrove (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

The overnight fog had cleared by morning, and the rain at 06:00 was all but stopped when we rose for breakfast. Got under way just before 09:00 and continued to and up Trentham Lock, the surroundings becoming more urban and industrial. Attacked the Stoke Flight (5 locks) - slow steady going as a convoy of three boats ascended one after the other. On clearing the Summit Lock, reversed back onto the Caldon Canal to the visitor moorings for lunch.

After lunch, Freddie and I took a walk along the towpath, for the exercise and to view the staircase pair of locks. On return, bowhauled "Paws" forward to the services berth for the usual necessaries. On departure, continued northwest out of Stoke, leaving the main town behind, then passing the many small pottery factories (most now derelict or demolished - Middleport being the largest of those remaining in production). After long periods of sun during the middle of the day, cloud building again.

Arrived at the southern portal of the Harecastle Tunnel  slightly earlier than we had expected, and decided to do the transit today instead of waiting till first thing tomorrow - passage to start in 10 minutes. Drops of rain starting by the time we moved off. Good run through in 42 minutes. By the time we came out, the rain was on heavy so dropped down through Red Bull Top Lock (41) and moored up for the night. Rain fizzled out by the time we finished dinner.

11.68 miles 7 locks 6.01 hrs 3.10 lmph

Friday 10th June ~ Meaford to Barlaston (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Rain overnight, but no-one heard it! On the move promptly, and ascended the remaining two locks in the Meaford Flight before continuing along the tree-lined avenue towards Barlaston. Sun broken through, but very muggy. Moored up south of Bridge 104 and went to visit Wedgwood Museum and factory . Clouded over and thundery. On return, decided to remain for the night.

2.37 miles 2 locks 1.35 hrs 3.23 lmph

Thursday 9th June ~ Pasturefields to Meaford (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Very quiet night, with the rain dying out. Morning broke sunny again, and it got hotter throughout the day. Kestrel noted hunting over the field opposite - appeared to get a good breakfast. Let go around 09:00 and ascended Weston Lock. Continued along the delightful stretch towards Stone, ascending Sandon Lock and passing Aston Marina. A lot of damselflies in evidence amongst the reeds. Ascended Aston Lock and moored just short of the winding hole below Star Lock. Lunch.

After lunch, took a walk into town for a look round, then ascended Star Lock and Yard Lock, mooring again at the services berth beside the chandlery. Very hot by this stage. Quite busy as well, with three boats passing us in the short time it took to do loo and water. On the move again up through the outskirts of Stone, ascending Newcastle Road and Lime Kiln Locks (Lime Kiln with its now rather shabby garden memorial to Christina Collins  at its tail). Left Stone behind, and started up the Meaford Flight (total 4 locks), but only ascending the lower two before mooring for the night - remainder for tomorrow.

9.69 miles 9 locks 5.33 hrs 3.51 lmph

Wednesday 8th June ~ Wolseley Bridge to Pasturefields (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

All report they had a good night, despite the humid conditions. All up fairly early, but chatted over relaxed breakfast until mid-morning. Left mooring around 10:30 and ascended Colwich Lock, stopping again just below Haywood Lock. Walked up to the Canalside Farm Shop  at the Junction for stores and lunch at their café (great Staffordshire oatcakes!).

Ascended Haywood Lock after lunch and stopped at the services berth at the Junction for water and loo before ascending Hoo Mill Lock (where Christina Collins  was last seen alive before her murder) as the clouds started to build (Met Office yellow alert for rain in our area). Moored just northwest of Bridge 77 mid-afternoon, just as the rain started. Large family of Canada Geese (with goslings) in the field opposite.

3.77 miles 3 locks 2.73 hrs 2.48 lmph

Tuesday 7th June ~ Handsacre to Wolseley Bridge (en route to Runcorn with Freddie)

Earlyish start to another very hot day. Finished cleaning round, then set off round to Spode Hall where we topped up again on water. Continued through the narrows at Armitage, then on to the centre of Rugeley where we moored up. Did our last-minute shopping, finishing just as Freddie's train got into the station. Got Freddie aboard and had lunch. Started the "catching-up". Once settled in, we continued out of Rugeley, past the Brindley aquaduct where Christina Collins'  dead body was dragged from the water, round to Wolseley Bridge where we moored for the night. Dinner at The Wolseley Arms . Excellent meal as usual. Heavy rain showers late evening until around midnight.

5.84 miles 0 locks 2.62 hrs 2.23 lmph

Monday 6th June ~ Alrewas to Handsacre (en route to Rugeley)

Woken at 06:30 with dogs fighting on the towpath, but dozed off again. Beautiful sunny morning. Let go by 09:00 and ascended the four locks (Bagnall, Common, Hunt's and Keeper's) to Fradley services, CRT Volunteer assisted us through Keeper's. Topped water and did loo, then continued up Junction and Middle Locks again with assistance. Slow steady traffic in both directions. Continued up Shadehouse and Woodend Locks. Noted large amounts of rhododendron in the woods on the offside. Lunch on the move. Now very hot (but better not complain as forecast is for rain over the next few days). No space at our usual mooring on the east side of Handsacre so went through the village and found a space on the west side, after the houses but before bridge 59. Short hop tomorrow to the centre of Rugeley to pick up Freddie.

6.03 miles 8 locks 3.88 hrs 3.62 lmph

Sunday 5th June ~ Alrewas

Overcast again first thing with high cloud, and again looking promising. Church in the morning, then lunch aboard. Sun out by the time we left church and remained out for remainder of day. Decided that Fradley would be busy as well, so as we had a berth in Alrewas, we decided to stay put. Baking ready for guest in coming week.

Saturday 4th June ~ Branston to Alrewas (en route to Rugeley)

Overcast start to day, although cloud was high and sun threatening to break through. warmer than of late. Pottered around for most of the morning, with routine chores.

Let go after lunch and ascended Branston Lock, then continued up through Tatenhill and Barton Turns locks. Headed back along the 'noisy' stretch, keeping an eye out for the tern, but no sign today. Ascended Wychnor Lock onto the river section, then up off the river to Alrewas. Eastern mooring full, so took water then moved through the village. Very busy with very few spaces, all of which too small for us. Eventually found space just after the winding hole. Long sunny spells through the afternoon, high cloud returning for evening.

5.95 miles 5 locks 3.50 hrs 3.13 lmph

Friday 3rd June ~ Burton to Branston (en route to Rugeley)

Slow start to day, but got away just after 09:30. Continued northeast through Burton, descending Dallow Lane Lock, to Horninglow Basin and moored up at Bridge 32. Walked to the National Brewery Centre  for a visit. Well worth the walk. Had excellent lunch before walking back to "Paws".

Moved across to the services berth for water and loo (water is exceptionally slow, and no refuse disposal). Winded at the service-point and returned to Shobnall Basin for spares ordered yesterday. Unfortunately, the sourced parts were not suitable and I was forced to leave them. Left Shobnall considerably later than planned/expected and headed out of Burton, mooring just below Branston Lock.

2.94 miles 2 locks 1.96 hrs 2.66 lmph

Thursday 2nd June ~ Alrewas to Burton

Rose expecting a lovely day from the forecast given yesterday. Found it overcast and with a distinctly cold wind (for June). Set off headed for Burton, descending Alrewas Lock onto the river section. River very benign, and looking very different from my last passage - the vegetation now thick and lush green. Descended off the river section at Wychnor Lock and continued along the 'noisy' section running parallel to the A38 dual carriageway. Was 'escorted' by a common tern which had obviously learned that passing boats stirred up fish for catching. Descended the remaining three locks (Barton Turns, Tatenhill and Branston), and moored at the entrance to Shobnall Basin. Had lunch at the "Cornerstone Caf A" , visited the chandlery, then went for a walk into town. On return, moved "Paws" to the east of the junction and moored for the night.

On checking our email after arrival, we received notices from CRT  that the Bridgewater Canal company is only allowing CRT licencees 7 consecutive days on their canal before charging for staying, and no return within 28 days. We had intended to stop at the Lymm Transport Festival, but that now seems unlikely. If the current stoppage on the Macclesfield becomes protracted, we may not be able to risk continuing through Manchester and up onto the Peak Forest Canal. Our plans for the year are now in turmoil. More as the tale unfolds.

6.83 miles 5 locks 3.48 hrs 3.40 lmph

Wednesday 1st June ~ Alrewas (en route to Burton)

Woke to rain, but it quickly cleared although the morning remained overcast and breezy with a distinct chill in the air. Walked into Alrewas village for a few stores. Admiral decided to stay here for today, to do a few other little jobs. Cushion covers stitched (just fastenings to fit). Sky brighter by dinnertime, but still overcast.

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