|This Month's Totals and Average|
|120.88 miles||94 locks||59.46 hrs||3.61 lmph|
Fhi stayed with us for the remainder of the month. Booster jab for Covid, and winter flu vaccination, as soon as I was home. Celebrated birthdays of our two grand-daughters. Visits from friends and family.
Up early. Final closing up for the winter, then packing the car. Got away about 09:45. Reasonable drive north, although there was some heavy rain around the borders area. Arrived at the house late afternoon.
Spent the day cleaning, and preparing "Paws" for the winter on her own. A generally bright day until mid-afternoon when a light drizzle set in.
|Totals and Average with Fhi|
|113.34 miles||92 locks||55.93 hrs||2.76 lmph|
Last working day of the trip, unfortunately - we've had a good time. Sun was out for most of the day, making it a very pleasant last day.
Let go promptly and continued northwards past Burton Hastings and through Hinckley, then on past Stoke Golding, Dadlington, Sutton Cheney and Shenton. A very busy day, with more moving boats than the whole of the trip together! Lunch on the move, before turning into the marina just after 14:00. Moored up, connected up, and got settled in.
|12.22 miles||0 locks||5.14 hrs||3.67 lmph|
Another lovely start to the day (this time it stayed that way ). Let go and passed through Grendon and Bradley Green to the bottom of the Atherstone Flight. First 2 locks against us, but we then met a boat coming down so the remainder as far as Lock 6 were with us. Moored in the King's Head Pound and walked into town. Spent more in the sweet shop than planned, then dropped in at the wool shop, follwed by the Co-op for stores to tide over to arrival. Had lunch when we got back aboard.
After lunch, set off again up the remaining 5 locks. We had to reset 2 but seemed to go up quite fast, doing the five locks in 40 mins. Pulled in at the services berth to empty a loo cassette before moving on.
Having completed all the locks for the trip, we headed out of Atherstone for Mancetter, but it was such a lovely afternoon that we continued on past our planned stop. Noted "Slow Gin" alongside at the mooring at what used to be Harvey's Boatbuilders, and were hailed by Jane. Stopped for a chat and catch-up since seeing them at Worcester.
After a brief stop at Mancetter for Fhi to read the info-board about the possible site of Boudica's last battle, we eventually moored for the night southeast of the Anchor Pub with the sun setting on what had been a beautiful day.
|6.17 miles||11 locks||3.88 hrs||4.42 lmph|
A lovely sunny morning to start. Prompt departure, heading past Huddlesford Junction and through Whittington and Hopwas, into Fazeley. Turned right at the Junction for Fazeley Mill Marina. Took fuel, then dealt with loo, water and rubbish whilst there. Had a long chat with Jackie, catching up with gossip.
Headed off again and, with lunch on the move, turned right back onto the Coventry Canal. Ascended the two locks at Glascote, then continued through Amington to Alvecote. Spotted "Timewarp" so stopped briefly to buy fudge. Running a bit behind our proposed schedule by this time, we continued on through Polesworth, and moored before Meadow Lane Bridge 50 as twilight was setting in. Just as we were mooring, the rain, which had threatened several times between the sunny spells, finally got a hold, so glad to be battening down for the night.
|15.19 miles||2 locks||6.19 hrs||2.78 lmph|
We remember the loss of life in the armed, merchant and civilian services, and civilians on both sides, in all conflicts round the world, and pray for peace.
Off the boat promptly, on a misty/drizzly morning, to go to the shops for stores. Once back aboard, let go and headed out of Rugeley. A couple of hours steaming brought us to the locks above Fradley - Wood End, Shadehouse and Middle - which we descended ('bad road' yet again today). Turned right at Fradley Junction onto the Coventry Canal, and continued towards Streethay. Spotted yet another kingfisher (seen more in these last 4 days than we have all summer). Had a brief chat with a 'gardening workparty' from IWA Lichfield Branch, cutting back vegetation around the Bearshay area. After a good day's run, we moored earlier than expected outside Kings Orchard Marina.
The weather today couldn't make up its mind, oscillating between hazy sunshine and heavy drizzle.
|10.88 miles||3 locks||4.68 hrs||2.97 lmph|
A cool drizzly morning greeted us today. On the go promptly, continuing north for Great Haywood, with the intention of mooring at Shugborough Hall. Descended the spaced-out locks at Longford, Park Gate, Shutt Hill and Deptmore, noting new owners had opened a chandlery at Park Gate where Midland Chandlers used to be. Had a chat at Longford Lock with Steve & Fiona on "Lutra Lutra". Once again all the locks were against us. Continued on through the outskirts of Stafford to Tixall Lock and onto The Wide. Very surprised at how few boats were moored - never seen it so quiet. Arriving at Great Haywood Junction after lunch on the move, we reversed onto the services berth and purchased coal for "Paws" and mementos for Fhi and Marisa. The day had brightened by this time, with the sun attempting (but not quite managing) to break through.
Onwards again, but we were ahead of our expected speed so decided to continue to Wolseley Bridge. Descended Haywood and Colwich Locks. At Wolseley Bridge, it was still a nice afternoon with a good hour of daylight to spare, so again continued on to Rugeley, mooring at the new pilings just north of Leathermill Lane Bridge 66.
|14.97 miles||7 locks||6.96 hrs||3.16 lmph|
Had a long lie this morning after the heavier days locking. Sun streaming in through the porthole as we got up. Finally got on the move mid-morning and continued north towards Gailey. Had another two kingfisher sightings during the morning. Arrived at Gailey just on midday and stopped for services.
Once ready again, started down the locks from Gailey - Gailey, Brick Kiln, Bogg's and Rodbaston. Moored just below Rodbaston for a late lunch.
On the move again, heading for Penkridge. Descended the spaced out locks at Otherton, Filance and Penkridge, and moored on the visitor mooring to the north of the town late afternoon.
The inital sunshine eventually clouded over during lunch and a breeze blew up making it cooler and less pleasant.
|7.92 miles||7 locks||4.04 hrs||3.70 lmph|
The second of our 'heavy locking' days. Up and on the move promptly as it could be a long day if things go wrong. I had been worried about reversing out of the arm due to the weed possibly clogging the prop - taken slowly, "Paws" came out beautifully and turned to head for Wolverhampton again (quick blast just to clear the prop). Returning to Horsleyfields Junction, we turned right for Broad Street Basin, where we emptied the loo (other services not needed today).
On the move again, round the corner to Top Lock on "The 21". Noted that a paddle was up, suggesting a lockie was running water down - either good or bad news. As it turned out, the levels were up, and we headed down the hill, passing under the spider's web of interconnecting railway lines overhead. The industry is set back sufficiently from the canalside to leave a decent green swathe down through the flight, meaning there is a slight feeling of countryside. Made excellent time down the flight (3 hrs 9 mins) despite not seeing another boat. Had company along the way with a group of "Community Payback" workers doing gardening work - very friendly, and interested in the canal life.
Clearing Bottom Lock, we turned right, heading north up the Staffs & Worcs Canal. Passed through the narrows, and on to Slade Heath where we stopped for the night having done what we set out to do in a shorter than expected time. Spotted a kingfisher just before arrival.
After a dull start, the sun broke through during the morning. It dulled over again after lunch and the tail end of the day had drizzle.
|7.17 miles||21 locks||5.32 hrs||5.29 lmph|
Yesterday's wind had dropped by morning, but it was still cold and overcast. Up and on the move promptly again. I reversed out from Brindley Place while Fhi nipped across to Costa for coffee/chocolate, then we headed west. Bypassed all the loops today, and headed straight along the New Main Line. Arrived at Factory Locks and ascended without incident. Continued on again in the direction of Wolverhampton. As with yesterday, we shared the driving and locking. Turned right at Horsleyfields Junction onto the Wyrley & Essington Canal, turning off again at Bentley Bridge and mooring next to the pub in the short arm.
Took a walk to Sainsbury for stores, then tucked in for the night in the warm. The wind had increased slightly again by evening. A generally dull day throughout, although remaining dry.
|13.96 miles||3 locks||5.42 hrs||3.13 lmph|
Up promptly again this morning as it was to be a long day. Let go and headed through Curdworth and on to Minworth. Ascended the three spaced-out locks and continued into the industrial suburbs of Tyburn and Erdington. Turned second-left at Salford Junction, continuing on the B&F towards the centre of Birmingham. Started up the Aston Flight (11 Locks). All locks against us (except for one, empty due to a leak!). Made good time, even with the 'bad road', so confirmed our decision to continue up Farmer's Bridge (13 Locks). Still all locks against, but still making good time. Took a brief time-out at Lock 6 for a chat with some towpath walkers. A snapshot of the two flights gave an astounding 9.5 lmph, the fastest ever ascent for us. Moored at Cambrian Wharf for services, then headed across to Brindley Place where there was one space left (hooray ). Moored for the day, tired but not shattered.
The wind had increased over the day, and was causing slight difficulties coming alongside.
|9.26 miles||27 locks||6.50 hrs||5.58 lmph|
Up and on the move promptly this morning (no more long lie-ins). Started up the Curdworth Flight (11 locks). Locks 11 & 10 were against us, but the litter-picking crew opened Lock 9 for us, and we had a good road from there up through Bodymoor Heath. A lovely bright day once the initial dampness cleared. Arrived at the top of the flight in surprisingly good time - we didn't think we had been rushing, but were up in 2½ hours. Moored above Top Lock for the day.
Listened in to an online lecture on the British borders of the Roman Empire (part of Fhi's study course) - found it fascinating. I then got to my e-paperwork while Fhi worked on her current assignment essay.
|2.77 miles||11 locks||2.66 hrs||5.18 lmph|
Long lie after Fhi's journey south yesterday. Eventually, after a brief chat with John & Jane, moved off towards Fazeley Junction, turning left onto the Coventry Canal. Headed out as far as Sutton Road Bridge and moored. Walked to Ventura Park for major storing, returning with coffee. Had lunch before moving on again.
After a lazy lunch, we reversed back to Bonehill Winding Hole (too far to the next one ahead at Tamhorn), turned "Paws" and returned to Fazeley Junction. Turned again onto the B&F and headed out through Drayton Bassett to Kingsbury, mooring for the night next to the winding hole.
|4.90 miles||0 locks||2.12 hrs||2.31 lmph|
Overnight showers had turned to drizzle by morning. Phonecall from Fhi finalising her travel arrangements. She asked me to move my mooring to a better place for a taxi - will move this afternoon. Spent the morning on "housework".
After lunch, let go and moved to the Junction, turning left onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, and heading as far as Fazeley Marina where I winded, then serviced at the outside mooring. Once finished, returned towards the Junction and moored right at the bottom of the access ramp at Tolson's Bridge (and opposite John & Jane on "Ichthus").
Fhi arrived on board at 19:45, and we spent the evening chatting.
|0.91 miles||0 locks||0.48 hrs||1.09 lmph|
Beautiful sunny morning without a breeze, although the outside temperature was 3°C with a ground frost. On the move promptly, through the suburb of St Helena and the village of Polesworth, and past Pooley Country Park (ex-Pooley Hall mine). Continued through Alvecote and Amington to Glascote. Moored at the Co-op bridge for emergency milk, then a bite of lunch.
After a relaxed lunch, moved on down the two locks, through the suburb of Kettlebrook, and moored for the night opposite the CRT depot before Fazeley Junction - this was the agreed meeting point with Fhi (although I'm here early). The sun has been warm as it was on my back, but wicked trying to steer towards it (mixed blessings ).
Another report sent to CRT concerning motorcycles on the towpath - this is the second report from Fazeley.
|6.63 miles||2 locks||3.07 hrs||2.81 lmph|
Lovely sunny morning but the wind, although less strong than last night, was pretty chilly (but it is the start of November). Generally pottered around with small jobs, computer work and reading - a quiet day. The wind died out mid-afternoon.