Into Calcutt Marina and end of trip

Monday, 24 June 2013

We finished our trip last Friday as we had seen the weather forecast for the weekend that did not look good again- high wind and rain. We therefore decided to go into our new mooring at Calcutt Marina a bit earlier than planned. Totals to day 51 are 170 locks and 346 miles which gives an average of 2.73 lock miles per hour for our trip. The staff in the marina office were very welcoming and sorted out our cars dead battery without any problem- an excellent start.
On looking back its again  the people you meet that makes the trip so memorable although there were a few occasions when we have been going through locks and the crews of other boats (not always hire boats) have just waited for you to finish before they come along to do their bit- I was tempted to shut the gates as we left!- luckily they are in the minority and hopefully will stay that way.
In a field near Lower Shuckburgh- we saw several of these scary kites tethered presumably to keep birds away

Near bridge 84 as you approach Braunston is the ghost of a signal post which has lasted for at least 50 years since it last saw a train on the old Great Central Railway

And finally a few more boat names to finish with

Now moored at Rugby

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

We have had a couple of busy days (covered 24 miles and 1 lock!) in great boating weather. We met Stowe boaters Sue and Barry on nb James Henry yesterday afternoon at Hawkesbury Junction and had a great time catching up during which time along came another couple Barry and Linda on nb Southern Cross who joined us.
We are now on the northern part of the Oxford Canal which although having been straightened  in the early 1800's still winds its way through the countryside. There are only a few moorings between Hawkesbury and Rugby and tonight we are moored just past bridge 66 near the golf course.
Our mooring near Rugby tonight the golf course is on the right

This old viaduct is near our mooring tonight. Its the old Rugby to Stamford line of the LNWR built in 1850 and closed in 1966.

When we arrived at Hawkesbury Junction yesterday afternoon we saw 6 working boats making their way to Wolverhampton to collect coal for sale next winter- this is Southern Cross a Star class built in 1935.

nb Stanton a Town class built in 1936 next to the old pumping station

nb Towcester a Town class built in 1937 towing butty Bideford a Town class built in 1936

Another fine garden at Bedworth

We saw this hire boat which has a bit of style

There used to be telegraph poles like this all along the canals, now replaced by fibre optic cables buried under the towpath

Another one of those names

We just managed to pass this sunken narrowboat close to bridge 18 near Nuneaton

Hartshill Yard used to be a lovely working yard for British Waterways, its now up for sale -hopefully whatever happens to it will take into account its heritage

As we came up the Atherstone flight this group of ponies were next to the lock with two foals one of which is sound asleep by the fence

Between Atherstone and Hartshill

Monday, 17 June 2013

We have had a busy few days between dodging the rain and drizzle. Since leaving Acton Trussell last Friday we have done 20 locks and travelled 41 miles and for us that's going fast. The totals so far for the trip are 163 locks and 308 miles. We are now on the Coventry Canal moored just before bridge 34 which is near Hartshill. Our views are over the Trent Valley and tonight the sky cleared and we managed prawns and lamb on the BBQ. Last Saturday as we were approaching Fradley Junction voices called out and we met John and Barbara from nb Barnaby two +, we moored up for the day and had a very pleasant catch up with them.
The impressive bridge and club house of the Stafford Boat Club

It really is nice when homes of all types face the canal as you get a chance to see what people can do to their gardens

Another impressive garden

As you approach Tixall Wide and Great Hayward on the Staffs & Worcs Canal you see some very impressive buildings. This is the old gatehouse of  Tixall Hall now demolished

This is Tixall Wide which for us "ditch crawlers" is a bit like the ocean. Its thought that it may have been created for the owners of Tixall Hall so that it looked like a lake not a canal.

Another interesting building but not sure what- some form of gatehouse and a very large barn type building

We turned south at Great Hayward junction onto the Trent & Mersey Canal and moored up below Haywood Lock and this is the view from the side hatch towards Shugborough Hall

In the grounds of the Hall are several follies like this.

And another folly

As we approached Fradley Junction we went through Ravenshaw Woods which is a profusion of  rhododendrons this time of year

Home sweet Gnome!

The tunnel tug Sharpness

As we came up the Atherstone Locks this morning there is this lovely field where the solid yellow of the rape field has been broken up by red poppies

There are some lovely views as the Trent & Mersey Canal made its way towards Fradley along the Trent Valley even if its only the distant view of Rugeley Power Station

This was the approach to Great Hayward Junction on the Staffs & Worcs where you have to weave through the Anglo Welsh hire boats before we can turn right onto the Trent & Mersey to head south

Moored just past Acton Trussell Staffs & Worcs Canal

Thursday, 13 June 2013

We have managed to avoid most of the heavy showers over the last two days. Todays forecast was heavy rain and strong winds but it was only cloudy at 8am. So we set off through Penkridge and stopped for a few bits at Midland Chandlers by bridge 90 and as no rain, continued. The sky started to darken so we decided to stop just past Acton Trussell and before bridge 94 at 12.05. The rain came at 13.00 and we are now having heavy showers at regular intervals- result!
A Heron on its "Perch"

BB coming out of Stop Lock at Autherley Junction under the bridge and onto the Staffs & Worcester Canal

Looking back to the bridge we have just come under,straight down is  Stourport.

We are now on a Brindley canal which was built earlier than the Shroppie and it has a completely different feel about it. We are going through the Pendleford Rockin (old boaters term) narrows which has been cut through an area of solid sandstone and has passing places
Another fine lock building, this time its an old toll clerks office, the "round house" at Gailey Lock which is now a canal craft shop

Another boat name of interest

Another old junction this time with the Hatherton Branch ( goes off to the left) abandoned in the early 1950's when coal traffic finished.

Just after we had stopped we had this sudden heavy rain shower.

Through Norbury Junction and Brewood

I wrote this a few days ago but have only been able to post it today Thursday 13 June as I now have an excellent signal at Acton Trussell which may have something to do with the M6  junction 13 nearby.
The weather has changed with a day of  cloud and showers with more forecast to come. The Shropshire Union Canal was one of the last to be built 1830-1835 and Telford used very impressive building techniques ie bold embankments and deep cuttings. The amount of material the navvies moved using only hand tools and horse and carts is just mind blowing.
We walked into Brewood (pronounced Brood) the other day and had lunch and very good coffee in The Mess Bistro in the Market Place which was excellent. 
We have now nearly completed our journey down the Shroppie which has been a delight despite the shelf which has made mooring a bit of a problem. We are moored just past bridge 8(Tuesday11th)  and tomorrow weather permitting should see us turn left at Autherley Junction and head north up the Staffs & Worcester Canal towards Great Haywood.

A sign as you enter the 80ft deep Woodseaves Cutting

In a very atmospheric cutting

I thought these were strange bushes but we think they are some sort of thistle

Going towards the first of the Tyrley Locks in another cutting

I think this could be the equivalent of a Thames River launch on the Canal

The unlined Cowley Tunnel near Gnosall only 81 yards (pronounced No-zull) cut through solid sandstone
A view of busy Norbury Junction although a junction no more as the branch down to Newport closed a long time ago.
With so many embankments on the Shroppie, Brindley had these stops locks at each end, if there was a breach they would automatically close

Another stop lock but a different style

Another of the fine bridges in a Shroppie cutting Avenue Bridge 10

A strange place to moor a boat at Stretton Wharf

There really are some strange boats on the canals!

This is more like a river cruiser in need of some tlc at Stretton Wharf