Through Penkridge and Gailey now day 13

Thursday, 26 April 2018


It's now Day 13 (Thurs 26/4)  Yesterday we had sun and showers so only did a short day and stopped in Penkridge at 11.30. We walked into the village and had coffee and lunch in a small but excellent cafe called Kaffeine in Market Street.

Today Anne’s sister Sue and her husband Graham together with friends Denise and Jim came to give us a hand up the 7 locks in return for coffee, doughnuts and lunch - it seemed a fair exchange. It made for a very pleasant day with added warm sunshine when  we stopped for lunch below Gailey Lock.

Our helpers Jim, Graham, Anne and Denise- Sue was helping on the boat

The bridge holes on the Staff & Worcs are very tight,this is the entrance to Gailey Lock with the  very distinctive round house which was originally a canal toll house.

Our mooring tonight is out in the countryside just before bridge 74 on the way towards Coven.

Staffs & Worcs Canal near Acton Trussell

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Today is now day 11 and we are moored up in heavy rain just before bridge 94 near Acton Trussell with the fire glowing nicely.

We have spent a few days at Great Haywood as we wanted to see my old mate Jeff. He lives at Uttoxeter which is just a quick bus ride from G H as he is recovering from a recent op.

We left this morning with a forecast of April showers and turned at Haywood Junction onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal finished in 1772. - well it's been raining hard so we gave up after just 2.9hrs, 2 locks and 7 miles. 
I wonder what the origin of this name is

Making the turn onto the Staffs & Worcs Canal, opened in 1772

Tixall Wide built for the gentry who lived in Tixall House so that it appeared that they didn't live next to a canal.

The gate house to the big house viewed from Tixall Wide

A children's play house

The same  children's play train

Says it all

At Great Haywood and met a man walking to John O'Groats

Sunday, 22 April 2018

One of the most enjoyable elements of canal boating is the lovely,fantastic,quirky,amusing,surprising,frustrating at times or just down right weird things that you come across as you slowly move through/around the country on our waterways. Which is why they are such a quintessential part of our Island.

Day 7 (Fri 20/4) was a day in particular.

We had just moored up past bridge 68 north of Rugeley over looking the River Trent when a man stopped to chat - kitted out for serious walking. He was retired military who was doing something that he had always wanted to do - Walk from Lands End to John O’Groats. He showed me his series of maps which showed his route each day and where he would be stopping-either camping,B&B or on some occasions people he has met have offered free rooms or even the odd barn. We provided water,cake and took his rubbish for disposal. Having then rested he set of along the Staffordshire Way and then the Pennine Way leading him to Scotland.

A few pictures of other things that we have come across to illustrate the point:-





This is our mooring last Ffriday just north of Rugeley

Day 8 (Sat 21/4) After our rural mooring yesterday we headed into Great Haywood, It took just over an hour arriving at 10.30 to get an excellent spot looking towards Shugborough Hall. The coffee shop at the Canalside farm shop by bridge 74 provided good coffee and cake. It turned into another glorious spring afternoon so a visit round the hall was in order along with a lot of other visitors. The National Trust has only recently taken it fully over from Staffordshire Council and there is a lot to be done.
Shugborou10th Hall from BB

BB from Shugborough Hall

A Showmans caravan in someone's garden



Through Fazeley Junction and Hopwas Day 6

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Day 6 (19/4 Thur)  It was a lovely spring day for cruising with the temp upto 25c. We are now moored north of Hopwas on the Coventry Canal just before Tamhorn House Bridge. The problem for the day was to try and find out why I cannot down load  the pictures from my camera memory card onto the tablet. There are two cables connecting the card reader to the tablet. I swopped one of the cables for another but still nothing. Anne suggested to swop the order around and success it connected- hey ho!!!!

I can never resist a picture of the CRT building with its distinctive clock tower.



Our mooring just after bridge 50 just before Polesworth.

Our mooring tonight near Hopwas

Hillmorton and Brownsover canal changes- Now day 5

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Day 3 (Mon 16/4) the scenery around the bottom of Hillmorton locks is in the process of being changed forever. We came through here about 18 months ago and there was a lot of civil engineering works going on. I spoke to a lady walking past the boat who said it was a new road from the M1/A5 into Rugby and they had started on a new bridge as you approach bridge 66 on the canal. All the lovely long gardens have gone to make way for it.

           The civil engineering works near bridge 66
The new mooring at Brownsover Park


Our other surprise was the changes to moorings at Brownsover Park important for the closeness of the Tesco to bridge 58, for the heavy essentials. Last time we were here we had to put pins into the soft towpath grass - one of which was ripped out by a passing boat. This will no longer happen as a considerable number of rings have now been installed.The only down side is that there is no longer mooring allowed past the bridge as you head towards Newbold, CRT have rebuilt the towpath which really needed to be done.

We moored up in Ansty and had luckily just finished cooking when the gas ran out. No problem just swop the bottle over but to no avail.Thought the auto switch over valve not working therefore first priority is to get this sorted out in the morning as we have no other means of cooking except for the bbq.

Day 4(Tue 17/4) I was up at 06.00 to a very chilly morning with a strong breeze. First stop was Star Line Cruisers in Nuneaton who were very helpful and it was simple to fix. The gas had leaked  out of the connection to the spare bottle over the winter, so after the purchase of 2 new gas bottles calm was restored with coffee. We are now moored up just past bridge 27 and the Atherstone lock flight beckons tomorrow.

I am writing this off line on my tablet using Microsoft docs and will then cut and paste it into the blog when we have a good 4g signal on Anne’s phone.

Spring is on its way swan nesting at the bottom of a garden at Ansty


Day 5 (Wed 18/4) glorious sunny warm day went down the 11 locks of the Atherstone flight in lovely warm sunshine. Not many boats about and had the flight mostly to our selves.

I now have a problem with downloading the pictures from the camera memory card into the tablet. It doesn’t want to recognise the card reader for some reason. In fact it was playing up a bit the other evening and on pushing the connection in a bit harder it connected. Tried all that tonight and nothing happened. I may be only able to use pictures taken on the tablet.
Hopefully all this will post ok!!!!

Llangollen here we come Day 2

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Two final things to sort out before we started on our trip to the Llangollen and they were-

Our pre trip into the butchers  at Braunston for his great meat,pork pies and sausages - no trip would be complete without something of his in the freezer.
Change the  domestic water  supply pump which had decided to spring a leak.

It's now day two and we have moored up on the armco below Hillmorton locks. It's now raining hard the fire is alight and the tv is set up. What a change from yesterday afternoon when we left the marina in t shirts and a lovely warm spring afternoon. Its the joys of boating and only another 81 locks and 166 miles to go!!

 Spring is here and the lamb was enjoying the warm spring sunshine.

The spring dafs make Braunston Turn junction look so lovely

The tug Zulu awaiting to tow it's butty out of the Hillmorton bottom lock

Another tug this time a Stewart's & Lloyds
I am on the hunt for original boat names again

70ft Cowburn & Cowper narrowboat in 7mm scale and getting ready for our trip to Llangollen

Thursday, 5 April 2018



 We decided to go up to the boat over Easter  to get her ready for our first long trip in 2 years - we are off to Llangollen in a few weeks. We only managed one job and that was to wash the roof and as the weather was so bad no trip out. Therefore no proper boat pictures so just one of a 7mm model of a 72ft Star class motor boat. The picture is taken in the wharf area of my 7mm narrow gauge layout called Shrewsbury Wharf. The loco is on a siding of standard gauge track feeding  the wharf.

W H Cowburn & Cowpar started trading in the 1870s as chemical manfacturers. Swallow was built in 1934 and used to carry carbon disulphide for Courtaulds in the manufacture of artificial fibres.This traffic declined after the 2nd world war and boats were converted to carry coal and I have assumed general cargo. C & C stopped canal transport in 1956.

I have created this entry through notes on the tablet and then cut and pasted it into the blog entry. Its then been posted via Anne's phone using it as a wifi hotspot via tethering- success.




Beta 38 engine service in a trad stern boat

Saturday, 31 March 2018

We went up to the boat before Easter primarily to be around when the engine was serviced. Whilst I am no engineer and find it very hard to get in and around the engine nowadays, I do like to be at the boat when it is being done We have a Beta 38 which sits under the boards as you come inside at the back of the boat. Our boat is a trad design which in effect maximises the internal space but does make the area available for the steerer  very tight. It usually makes the access on trad stern narrow boats very low and difficult to get in and out. When we had the boat built I was very concerned about this aspect of the build and of the three final boat builders we had short listed Stowe Hill was the only one that said they could make sure that there was enough space and head room for me to get in and out , I am 6ft 2 with back trouble! We also have a wider than normal rear hatch space.

Stowe used an engine with a lower domestic alternator fixing which therefore let's the cover over the engine sit lower which provides more space.This together with an offset corridor into the bedroom gives  much easier access. The only downside is that it takes sometime to get all the covers off the engine so that there is easy access for servicing.

Lòoking in from the stern with all top covers removed

 Looking from the bedroom the eberspacher diesel heater is the black box at the back of the engine. The panels on the left are also removable so that there is complete access to the engine if required.The large domestic alternator on the top of the engine has a modified fixing which lets it sit lower.

Whilst the service was being carried out the local resident hit squad decided to make a visit.  He waddled right up to the boat and then started to hiss at us- after a while  he the went off to find somebody else to harass. When out of the water you do really appreciate their size.

Tethering,wifi hotspots and fishing boat on the Isle of Skye

Thursday, 22 March 2018

I am still trying to get my brain around a new method of posting the blog whilst we are out cruising. I was given a Samsung Galaxy S2 recently and decided to connect it to the internet via a tethering link to Anne's smartphone. This makes the phone a wifi hot spot which then enables the  tablet to connect to the internet. I had started to use the Android app for blogger but found it impossible to load a picture and not very easy to use. On looking at comments it would appear that I am not the only one and the recommendation is use blogger through the browser. Which 
is how I am doing this entry.

The photo below is a cross stitch Anne has been doing on BB for some time. Although not a narrow boat it is a boat and we purchased the kit on Skye a few years ago,in fact on leaving Portree there were some fishing boats by the side of the road in the same state of decay.