Went through 70 fisherman fishing on way to Market Drayton missing the worst of the weather

Monday, 30 April 2018

Day 17 we are moored in Market Drayton just past bridge 65,it's a lovely sunny evening after a very chilly day but we did not get the weather from the south. Other wise just a nice days boating.

A few pictures of things we have come across on our way from Gnosall and Wharf Tavern near bridge 55 south of Market Drayton.

There are so many impressive embankments and cuttings on this part of the Shroppie which is partly why it has long straight sections.  To protect the embankments in case of a breach Telford had a very simple solution with a stop lock at each end. They would automatically close if a breach happened. Now they are slowly rotting away.

An embankment stop lock tff

The very busy Norbury Junction which is no more as the Newport Branch is no longer. We pulled in on the right for diesel more coal and kindling

The famous bridge 39 in Grub Street Cutting which is 80ft deep and has the only telegraph left of a line that used to follow the canal

He has the boat but he also still has the jumble

A boaters worst nightmare we passed an angling competition of 70 fishermen.This is only a few they went on for over a mile

Couldn't resist a picture of the Wrekin which dominates the area

Another one of the impressive cutting bridges in Woodseaves.

We went down Tyrley Locks today which actually looked like spring was coming-but the wind was chilly

The canopy was nearly as tall as the boat was long

These two fisherman were not in the competition and they looked happy

Now at Gnosall and no accidents today

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Day 15 totals to date are 39 locks and 105 miles. We have opted for a route of more miles but 100 less locks of which 80 odd are big heavy double locks on the Grand  Union main line via Birmingham. All the locks we are doing are the much lighter single narrow locks. Yes we have taken the easy option for a change.

Today has been much better weather wise with no heavy rain just light on and off showers and no accidents. My bruise has really come out now it's a bright beetroot colour.

We are now moored in Gnosall by bridge 54 a mere 10 miles and 1 lock in 4.1 hours. The S U has some impressive cuttings and embankments especially when they were built by hand and horses to move the spoil around.

The S U Society have been restoring the mile posts- this is the one tonight outside our porthole window which clearly shows where you have been and where you are going

Couldn't resist the name but not sure about the face

 Nb Prince is a 'Royalty class built for Associated Canal Carriers in 1931. They just look so large when they have no cargo on-board.
A lovely swallow stern of an inspection launch

The narrow boat was made for a local carnival - unfortunately  the lady said they didn't win.

I fell in mooring near Brewood on The Shroppie

Friday, 27 April 2018

We awoke at 08.00 to rain which was forecast for all day. We need to charge the batteries each day so -its not bad weather its wrong clothing. So with full wet weather gear on we set off at 09.30 and cruised down to Autherley Junction and turned onto The Shropshire Canal and cruised through to just before bridge 8 south of Brewood stopping at 12.30 in the rain. I have only fallen in once before just after we had the boat - I have now done it twice!!!!! As we were coming in to moor Anne had hopped of the  bow and I was going to get off to sort out the stern. Well as I went to step ashore I suddenly realised that the boat had drifted out and the gap was too big. Too late I was committed and had no way back - the only way was down and on the way down I bashed my bum on the side of the boat. A lovely bruise is now developing. Therefore the only thing that is hurt is my pride and my bum. Anne had to get the mini washing machine out to deal with all the wet clothing. Another days boating is over.

As we approached Autherley Junction we came through a series of narrows. They were built by Brindley’s navvies during the construction of the canal through solid sandstone which had come through the clay strata. Luckily we did not meet another boat although there are a couple of passing places.
The narrows

The local heron fishing -to attention - in front of the boat

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.