|This Month's Totals and Average|
|129.09 miles||73 locks||67.92 hrs||2.98 lmph|
Long lie today as there was only short distance planned. Distinctly cooler this morning, with the sun behind trees, so decided to get an engine service done before it got too warm. Finished late morning so we stayed put for lunch.
On the move after lunch, leaving the Hartshill CRT yard behind, for the run through Nuneaton. One enters Nuneaton from the north, between the suburbs of Camp Hill and Weddington, then meander through Stockingford, Heath End, Coton, Chilvers Coton, Attleborough and Hilltop, before leaving just east of Griff. It takes about an hour, but seems to take ages. There is then a short section of countryside before reaching the outskirts of Bedworth. We passed the end of the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction - that was our first run for this year - and moored just north of Bulkington Bridge 14 (plans for church tomorrow).
|7.77 miles||0 locks||3.00 hrs||2.59 lmph|
Had been lying listening to the birdsong - blackies, robins, wrens, great tits, song thrushes, the occasional squawk of a moorhen, with a background chatter of skylarks - when the Admiral decided we should have an earlier start. On the move only half-hour earlier than usual, heading for Atherstone. Made the short section past Grendon to Atherstone bottom and started the climb. No sign of any volunteers, and we were behind three boats. Seemed to take longer than usual. Having ascended the first six, we moored for 'catering' to get a few items in town, then had lunch before moving on. Hot again today, with only a slight hint of air movement.
Once lunch was finished, we continued up the remaining five locks, a lot faster as there were volunteers on and the locks were set for us. Clearing the Top Lock, we continued out of Atherstone and back into the countryside again. Passing the outskirts of Mancetter, we moored up just north of Bridge 35, with a little shade from the trees. The breeze had increased and made the day a little more comfortable.
|4.68 miles||11 locks||4.44 hrs||3.53 lmph|
Topped up water, then disconnected and let go from our pontoon, moving to services for fuel, gas and to pay bills. Finally on the way at 10:00, and heading for the Junction. Another baking hot day, but generating a little breeze as we move. Turned right at the Junction towards Atherstone and "Sutton's". One boat going up ahead of us and one coming down on our water at Glascote. Pound between the locks quite low. Continued on through Glascote, Amington and Alvercote to Polesworth. Still quite a few boats around, but nothing like last week. Passed "Tamworth Piglet" just west of Polesworth, briefly chatting with Alan as we passed. Cleared Polesworth and moored at our usual place, north of Meadow Lane Bridge 50.
Plans adjusted for a detour visit Stoke Bruerne on our way to Northampton.
Found that excessive connections to the weather part of our site had caused us to exceed our bandwidth, and our domain had been temporarily disconnected. Hopefully the beginning of the new month will mean it comes back on line. Apologies to all our readers.
|7.26 miles||2 locks||3.44 hrs||2.69 lmph|
High pressure over UK keeping weather stable, no wind, and hot! Church at Aldergate in Tamworth on Sunday morning then a lazy afternoon.
Monday spent shopping in the morning and boiled again in the afternoon. Advised that mail was on its way.
Tuesday saw haircuts and shopping again while we waited for mail to arrive. Letter didn't get here next day by 'first class' so stuck till it arrives. Parcel did manage it before closing time, though.
Letter finally arrived mid-morning Wednesday, so prescriptions to chemist. They didn't have enough on the shelf for both of us, but would have it by late afternoon. Sailing delayed till tomorrow.
A touch of cloud Wednesday morning, but it soon cleared leaving us with the hot windless weather for the whole period.
Another busy start to the day, with boats on the move from 06:30. Not in the slightest tempted to follow their example, we lay back enjoying the birdsong. Finally on the move for a leisurely run back to base, we headed off past King's Orchard Marina and on to Huddlesford Junction where the Wyrley & Essington Canal used to connect (we had passed the other end at Ogley Junction when out on our Explorer Cruise). The canal is under restoration. Continuing on, we came to Whittington where the detached portion of the Coventry Canal meets the section of the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal that was dug on behalf of the Coventry Company, but the money for which was never repaid (the detached portion had been dug by the Trent & Mersey Company, but they got their money). Shortly thereafter, at Hademore, we noted "Dawn Run" moored up so stopped for a chat with Graham.
Moving on, we passed through the Tamhorn area, then Hopwas village (again quite busy). After a lunch on the move, we moored up again at Sutton Road Bridge and walked to Ventura Park for emergency stores and to collect a couple of parcels.
Off again on the final leg for today, we turned right at Fazeley Junction and pulled in at our marina. Another sunny day - getting hotter, with a forecast of even more sun to come over the next week.
TV aerial fixed with parts from parcels - another job off the list!
|7.93 miles||0 locks||3.48 hrs||2.28 lmph|
Wind dropped overnight - very quiet night - another lovely sunny morning. Tim & Tracey (with Oakley) moved off mid-morning, headed generally for Rugeley then eventually to Ellesmere. We had decided to stay put today. Pottered around for the whole day.
After a night bumping against an underwater obstruction, we decided to move on. Lovely sunny morning, but with quite a strong breeze. Went for a walk into the village, collecting a few stores while there, then let go and ascended Bagnall Lock and headed in the direction of base. The wind made clearing Common Lock difficult, but we still drew a paddle for the boat following us. Ascended Hunt's and Keeper's Locks - boats coming down so an easy run - then straight up through Junction Lock with assistance from a CRT Volunteer. Turned left onto the Coventry Canal and moored up for lunch.
Constant stream of boats in both directions during lunch. Once we were finished, let go again and continued towards base. Traffic slackened off. Passed a dredger working just north of Bridge 89 - the spoil was being used to backfill behind repaired banking. Our usual mooring outside King's Orchard Marina was busy, but we managed to get a spot.
Just finished tidying down when we saw "Sola Gratia" coming round the corner. They pulled in for the night and we had a very pleasant afternoon sitting out on the towpath, chatting over a cup of tea with Tim, Tracey & (Guide Dog) Oakley until dinner.
|5.08 miles||5 locks||3.11 hrs||3.24 lmph|
Wind had continued to rise and was quite strong by breakfast-time. Although the sun was out at dawn, it was clouding over. Still busy, the first boat passing us at 06:30, and six boats had passed by the time we got up (which wasn't exactly late). Such a shame that the courtesies of the Cut are slowly being eroded away - very few boats slowed down as they passed.
Let go just after 09:00 and made our way round past Kings Bromley Marina to Wood End Lock. Although now past their best, the show of rhododendrons in the wood must have been spectacular earlier in the season. Lock was with us, so a quick passage, and on to the two above Fradley Junction, Shadehouse and Middle Locks. Steady stream of boats in both directions, but not yet queueing. Passed the Junction and descended Junction Lock with the aid of a CRT Volunteer, and pulled in at the services berth.
Once clear, just moved across to the visitors' berth opposite for a bite of lunch. Sun had been in and out most of the morning, with one slight shower of fine rain as we worked the pair of locks above the Junction. Still a steady stream of boats, beginning to queue by the time we had finished lunch.
Let go and joined the other boats waiting for Keepers Lock, we were 3rd in line. Descended Keeper's and Hunt's Locks with the boat ahead drawing a paddle for us as they left, and us drawing for the boat behind. Easy run then down through Common and Bagnall Locks into Alrewas village. Had decided that we would not go to the other end of the village (our preferred mooring) as we did not intend to do the river section and the winding hole is at the west end of town. Cleared the lock and winded, then moored for the night. No more rain during the afternoon.
Dinner was a take-away from Delhi Divan (they also do a sit-in restaurant) - we concocted a 'tasting-platter' of starters and side dishes, and had our own buffet; delicious ☺.
|5.08 miles||8 locks||3.45 hrs||3.79 lmph|
Admiral awake early so whole boat up. On the move for 09:00, and descended Haywood Lock (another boat coming up). Continued southeast the ¾-hour to Colwich Lock (set for us). Headed on past the "Taft", although Peter & Julie weren't visible (didn't stop as Julie has been poorly recently and Pat didn't want to pass on her cold). Continued over Brindley's aquaduct, and passed through Rugeley - never seen it so busy, but finally managed to find a mooring at the far end by the railway bridge. Quick walk into town for a florist and small amount of stores.
On arriving back, let go again and had lunch on the move. At Armitage, negotiated the narrows (used to be a tunnel but the roof was taken off) and continued on through Handsacre. Clearing the village, we moored at Bridge 56 for the night.
Sunny throughout, but with a warm breeze which was invreasing by the time we went to bed. Canal very busy with boats going in both directions well into the evening.
|9.12 miles||2 locks||4.04 hrs||2.75 lmph|
Leisurely start, thinking we had plenty of time. Nice sunny start to the day. Ended up with a 2-hour marathon on the phone to British Gas - they feel that they have no need for 'customer loyalty', but can make massive discounts for new customers (warning them that their prices may rise in the second year, but not that the rise may be as much as 40%). Managed to get them to discount my payment but one should not have to barter for products these days. Ended up letting go considerably later than planned, but descended Hoo Mill Lock and managed to get moored outside the Canalside Farm Shop by lunch time. Lunch at their café.
Went to their shop after lunch, then moved "Paws" forward for services. Once complete, we moved on, intending to moor along the section beside Shugborough Hall, but there was a queue for Haywood Lock so decided to just moor up above it. I walked ahead to assist boats through, helping to clear the log-jam. Day had clouded over during the afternoon, and drizzle arrived late evening.
|2.61 miles||1 locks||1.36 hrs||2.65 lmph|
Dull, cool morning. Church at St John's (at the community centre) - Café-Church style, investigating 'salvation', then back to "Paws" for lunch.
Moved up for a quick top-up of water, then winded and headed back southwards. Descended Aston Lock, chatting to a lovely couple with their young daughter. Invited them for a whistle-stop tour of the boat before we continued our passage. Descended Sandon Lock and started looking for an overnight mooring, but realised we would be next to the railway unless we continued for about another 45 mins. Eventually turned away for the railway and road, but the only suitable banking was already full with boats so ended up descending Weston Lock as well, and getting a late finish ☹.
Remained dull and cool all day. A couple of periods of 'damp air' (not really drizzle or mist, but one could feel fine moisture droplets) but nothing requiring coats.
|7.01 miles||3 locks||3.38 hrs||2.96 lmph|
Friday was a day of 'shopping' - trip to Morrisons in the morning, and chandlers and other places searching for parts in the afternoon. Pat out to the dance in the evening. I got a visit from Tony on "Pedal" ahead of us and we spent the evening chatting (amazingly, his wife is Pat as well!). A sunny day throughout, but with a slightly cooler breeze making it very pleasant and fresh.
The forecast rain came in overnight, but instead of clearing, it continued most of the day. My plan for an engine service, and a trip to Stafford, were both put off. Managed to get the 2015 maps up to the end of August (slowly getting there). Cloud finally cleared after dinner, giving a beautiful evening.
The forecast heavy rain only managed moderate showers and had cleared by dawn, although the strong wind was still present. Managed to get away promptly, passing through 'the Wide' and on to Great Haywood Junction. Working in the wind wasn't overly pleasant but comes with the territory ☺. At the Junction, turned left, northwards, on the Trent & Mersey Canal, but immediately pulled in for services.
Once serviced, continued northwards, ascending Hoo Mill Lock (once again against us). The heavy dark clouds hung sullenly around most of the day, but there were numerous sunny intervals, and no rain fell. The strong wind continued all day. Ascended Weston Lock (finally the locks going with us), then lunch on the move in the long gap to Sandon Lock. Steady stream of boats going south so an easy run for the rest of the day. Ascended Sandon, then Aston Locks and started looking for a mooring (a previous boat had said there were plenty). Finally found one immediately before Star Lock. Contacted Liz and confirmed tomorrow night.
|10.52 miles||4 locks||5.10 hrs||2.85 lmph|
Beautiful sunny morning. Heard David & Sue leaving around 07:00, but didn't see them. Another leisurely start, and finally got away mid-morning. Descended Longford, Park Gate and Shutt Hill Locks (all against us) and passed through the beautiful village of Acton Trussell (for those who can remember the comedy duo "Hinge & Bracket", their village of Stacton Tressle was named after it as one of the duo lived there). Continued down Deptmore Lock (finally one with us) and had lunch on the move as we passed round the outskirts of Stafford. This is the longest clear section (just under 2 hours, in comparison to locks every 20 mins). Arrived at Tixall Lock (again set for us) and descended to the final stretch before the Junction. Moored for the night at the southwest end of Tixall Wide. The Wide was allegedly built so as not to degrade the view from Tixall House (now doesn't exist), and is a great habitat for wildlife including great crested grebes and kingfishers.
Cloud had built and dispersed on & off throughout the day making for a cooler air - very pleasant. Wind picked up during evening to strong breeze.
|8.67 miles||5 locks||4.50 hrs||3.04 lmph|
Cloud gathered again by morning, but no sign of the rain forecast for overnight. Cool, with a stronger breeze. Let go and continued northwards. Took it easy, following a hotelboat all the way. Cloud slowly dissipating and the day warming up. Large-scale building operations at the Calf Heath chemical works. Moored at the visitor moorings before Gailey Wharf for lunch.
After lunch, moved forward to the services berth for loo and water, and took the opportunity to nip round to the boatyard (Barrus agents) for oil filters (they didn't have any), and to visit the Round House shop (nothing on our list, but bought ice cream instead!)
On the move again, starting the descent towards Great Haywood. Dropped through the Gailey 3 (all against us), but met another boat before reaching Rodbaston Lock. Expected it to be full, but a very bad leak on the lower gates meant it too was empty on arrival. Otherton Lock was up so a quick descent, but caught up with the hotelboat from the morning as we approached Filance Lock, so two more locks (Filance and Penkridge) were against us. Passed through the village and moored on the northern outskirts by the school. Just about finished clearing away, when "Amethyst" hails us and moors behind. Long chat with David & Sue until dinner time - great to meet up with them again.After a mostly sunny day, the cloud started to build again late afternoon.
|7.99 miles||7 locks||4.66 hrs||3.21 lmph|
'Catering' had to make a quick trip to the shop before we could move off. Took longer than expected as a gate we had been using was found chained and padlocked. Finally on the move mid-morning, on a warm sunny day. Continued gently southwards listening to the birdsong from in the trees. A lot quieter boat-wise today than over the weekend. Noted Ken & Judy making "Flying Fox" ready to depart. Stopped at Napton Narrowboats for their 'chandlery' - didn't get what we needed, but did buy ice-cream for after lunch.
Moved off again, ascended the stop-lock and turned left onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal, heading north. Such a shame Morrisons couldn't arrange a mooring next to the grass area on the left (1 hour) - I'm sure they would get a lot of trade from passing boaters. Lunch on the move. Passed through the narrows without meeting anything, then continued north to Slade Heath, mooring at the far end of the visitor moorings at the Anchor Pub. "Flying Fox" passed us shortly after mooring up. Cloud starting to build, with a 'yellow' Met Office warning of heavy rain overnight.
The cloud cleared again after dinner giving a bright sunny evening.
|7.86 miles||1 locks||3.38 hrs||2.62 lmph|
Brewood Methodist Church again this Sunday, where during conversation we were introduced to Liz who does Scottish Country Dancing. She invited Pat to a dance on Friday, offering transport from Stone. Having looked at the charts, we can get there in the time so adjusted plans to take it in. Returned to "Paws" for lunch with the intention of moving afterwards, out to the country mooring to the south. Just about ready, and the Admiral changes her mind, deciding to stay put for the night.
Leisurely day throughout - decided there was no rush for anything (although another load of washing and a small amount of ironing was done). Cool start under the trees, but with a promise of a hot afternoon later.
Left Gnosall mid-morning and returned slowly to Wheaton Aston. Noted a kingfisher in the vicinity of Bridge 31. Lovely and cool in the cuttings. At Wheaton Aston, we stopped again at the garage in case he had received a gas delivery - he had so we got a replacement bottle. Moved across to the visitor moorings for lunch. After lunch, continued on to the services berth to top up water (after the washing).
Once all ready again, we headed up the lock and slowly onwards towards Brewood. Uneventful section, but getting quite warm. Arrived at School Bridge slightly later than expected, but not really bothered as we got a berth where we wanted. Trees again sheltering the late-afternoon sun.
|8.00 miles||1 locks||3.93 hrs||2.29 lmph|
Very slow start this morning. Heavy rain overnight had cleared leaving a misty and cool morning. Admiral eventually ready to go by mid-morning, so let go and headed back towards Norbury. Stopped for services, then moved clear for lunch - Admiral suddenly announces we are eating ashore at the tearoom. Lovely hot sandwiches with a bottle of beer/cider.
Let go and continued on slowly to Gnosall Heath where we moored in the same place as a couple of days ago. Sun had been trying to get through, but never quite making it.
|6.14 miles||0 locks||3.01 hrs||2.04 lmph|
After a beautifully quiet night, woke to another lovely sunny morning. Pottered with routine jobs for the morning, planning to moved off after lunch for the return to Norbury. Phone call from son during lunch, during which the Admiral suddenly announces she doesn't want to move. Pottered for remainder of the day. Sunny until late afternoon, but with just enough shade from the trees to make it pleasant. Cloud slowly building after that, with the threat of rain overnight. Although a reasonable signal for phones, email and occasional internet, poor for heavy-usage such as the maps.
Leisurely start as we are in no hurry. Casual walk into Gnosall Heath, mostly for the exercise, but called at the general store before completing the circle round the village. Let go and headed for Norbury.
Norbury Junction provided the connection to the Newport Branch of the Shrewsbury Canal, built between Shrewsbury and Trench on the outskirts of Telford. Surveys suggest that the whole of the canal, including the Branch, could be restored if money were available.
We moored short of the junction and had lunch, before walking along to the chandlers. Unfortunately, they had none of the items on my list, so the jobs will have to wait.
Moved on again, intending to overnight somewhere near Goldstone to continue to Market Drayton on Thursday. The Admiral suddenly says she's not bothered about going to Market Drayton so we could wind somewhere before Tyrley Locks! After a delightful run through the cuttings, in the dappled light from the leaves, we winded at the east end of Shebdon Embankbent and reversed to the mooring just west of it. A hot day throughout, so glad to get under the trees again.
|6.16 miles||0 locks||2.78 hrs||2.22 lmph|
Waking to a fine, if cool, morning, we were off the boat fairly quickly for the walk into town for stores. Went to butcher, baker, (no, not the candlestick maker) and the fish man (at the Swan Hotel - he is only there on Tuesdays). Coffee at the "Lazy Days" tea shop then back to "Paws". Surprised to be hailed by Shirley & Derek on "Dreckly" - they had been to Stourport and back, and were now on the way to Llangollen. Had a chat with them before moving off. Sun was through by now and day warming up.
Got just north of Brewood Wharf to be hailed by another boat we used to know when they moored at Fazeley, so stopped there for a chat before moving on to Wheaton Aston. Descended the lock and moored for services, then moved to the next bridge for fuel.
On the move again for the last leg to Gnosall Heath. Great to be on the southern 'Shroppie' again, with its leafy cuttings, and embankments looking out over the farmland. All the better for seeing two kingfishers on the run into Gnosall Heath where we moored for the night. Very warm afternoon so were glad to get a mooring under the trees again, even if they are making a mess of the roof!
|8.27 miles||1 locks||3.49 hrs||2.66 lmph|
Heavy rain overnight had cleared by breakfast, but it was very muggy. Slowly improved during the morning with the sun getting through. As decided yesterday, not moving today so that we can get the fish man tomorrow. Got some ropework done, and other small jobs. A generally quiet day.
The day dawned bright and sunny. We let go and steamed the short distance into the centre of Brewood. Went to the service at the Methodist church - made very welcome - a lot of interest in the BCF .
Back to "Paws" for lunch, and decided to stay put, expecting a little more shade during the hot afternoon. Just as we arrived back, Andy & Vicki on "Selwyn" passed, stopping for a quick chat (they are BCF members, and Waterways Chaplains for the Chester Canal).
'Catering' wants to visit the fish man on Tuesday morning so no move planned for tomorrow. Terrible connection on mobile phone.
|1.73 miles||0 locks||0.81 hrs||2.12 lmph|
Up promptly to get down the flight as early as possible. Bright start despite a local forecast of showers. Moved to the CRT yard for services then round to the top of the flight. With the last known boat being uphill, we expected a bad road - we got it! Met only one boat coming up, at lock 13, so expected our fortunes to change but, after having to top-up the next two due to leakage, the remainder of the flight was also against us. Finally got to the bottom (3½ hours, which still was quite acceptable) and turned right onto the Staffs & Worcs at Aldersley Junction, quickly turning left again, at Autherley Junction, onto the Shropshire Union (this section was originally built as the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal). Great to be back out in the countryside again after so long in the urban/industrial areas of Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Moored for the night between Bridges 7 and 8. Sun had been out most of the day, but not too hot for locking.
|5.55 miles||22 locks||5.58 hrs||4.94 lmph|
After heavy rain overnight, morning started dull and misty. The Admiral decided that we should move round to Wolverhampton so that we could get a quick start at the flight tomorrow. Returning to Horseley Fields Junction, we turned right for the short run to the Broad Street visitor moorings on the offside at the CRT yard. Sun came out mid-morning.
Decided we had spare time so routed ourselves up the Shroppie for a couple of days before heading generally towards the IWA Festival. Boring afternoon on e-paperwork (mostly for the Festival) and routine duties. Although mostly sunny during the afternoon, there were a couple of light showers - far less than the forecast had predicted.
|1.66 miles||0 locks||0.95 hrs||1.75 lmph|