A late summer cruise

Well, it’s been a funny old week. There we were settling back at our mooring for winter, getting our ‘new’ car sorted out (but that’s another story) and catching up with the local news, when last Wednesday we had a tip-off about the possibility of a mooring which might suit us.

So, what to do, we need to go and see it of course and as it was a nice day we decided to untie the boat that afternoon and set off to go and see it straight away!

It turned out to be a good decision as we had a glorious few days travelling, making it as far as The Anchor at Coven the first night, a four-hour journey.

Thursday morning we departed bright and early and got through Autherley Narrows before many boats were about.
It’s single-width working here with passing places where the canal squeezes through a sandstone outcrop.

Autherley Junction where the Shropshire Union joins and  Aldersley Junction followed in short order.

At Compton, today’s locks began but before we could moor up a lady came running up saying their boat was stuck in the lock.
It transpired that a log had wedged between the lock ladder and their boat, her husband managed to free it by skilful bashing with the boat pole, but how to get the log out of the lock?

I suggested he reverse the boat out and refill the lock so the log could be removed more safely, this was successfully accomplished and we could all be on our way again.

Six more locks today and we made it to The Bratch Locks by 5 pm just in time to see the lock-keepers going home, so we moored there for the night next to nb Hakuna Matata (“no problems” in Swahili, but you all knew that!) who we know from Kings Bromley.

Friday morning we left before 9 and with the help of the lock-keepers we were down the three locks and passing another familiar boat, Fruit of the Vine but there was no signs of life, well it was early!

Through the curiously named Bumblehole Lock on on to the Botterham Staircase of two locks. All the locks here have tail bridges which makes for easy working.

We made it as far as Wolverley where we moored near The Lock Inn, we thought about going there for a meal, but as their website wasn’t working and they didn’t reply to a Facebook message we ate on board.

Nearly five hours travelling and a total of 12 locks today.

Saturday saw a 10 am start, five locks today, just the two Wolverley locks and we were soon at Kidderminster, then through to Falling Sands Viaduct, I don’t envy the guys using those cradles!

Just over another couple of miles and we were in Stourport, moored up outside The Black Star Inn before 2 pm where we enjoyed a drink and a a bowl of chips.

Being the weekend we couldn’t visit the mooring, but on Monday morning the call came and we dropped down York Street Lock and into Stouport Basin and onto our new mooring.

It’s nice here with all the services at hand, it’s a working boatyard too with a chandlery. There’s even a funfair here, oh and seagulls!

There’s plenty to see with traffic coming in and out to go down the locks to the river or visiting the wharf.

We have retreived our car from the garage at Cannock where it had been to have the injector seals replaced, it runs much better now and doesn’t smell of diesel!

Summer Cruise – Day 88

Friday 4th September – Day 88

So… We were away from Wolseley Bridge by 9 o’clock, through Colwich & Great Haywood locks. We planned to get water at Great Haywood but it was chock-a-block there so we turned onto the Staffs and Worcs canal and headed through Tixall Wide and on to Radford Bridge (Stafford) where we had a lunch appointment with Joy’s cousin Darrell who lives nearby.

The gatehouse of Tixall Hall is the top picture, that, and Tixall Farm Kennels are all that remain to see of the Tixall Estate from the canal.

The Hall itself was demolished in 1927, leaving only the Gatehouse standing, and the estate was broken up when sold off piecemeal in 1960. In 1968 the Landmark Trust bought the Gatehouse which, following restoration, is now available for holiday lets. According to Wikipedia

We all had carveries at The Radford Bank Inn which we enjoyed and half-price deserts to follow, marred only by a dodgy pint of St Austell Tribute which had a strange smell and taste, but they put things right with a complimentary bottle of Newcastle Brown.

After a two-hour lunch break, we said goodbye and set off for home. Six miles and six locks, but most locks were in our favour.

I was amused by the Illegal fishing signs which imply you mustn’t tuck fish under your arm, barbeque them and maybe fish mustn’t steal fishing rods or is it no spearfishing?

We arrived back at our mooring around 7:00pm, in time to meet our new neighbour, Parker who was born just a week ago and naturally his proud mum & dad too.

So, we’ve been away for just under three months, and I’m not going to even think about how many miles and locks!

Summer Cruise – Day 87

Thursday 3rd September – Day 87

A series of short hops today, from Handsacre to the Ash Tree Inn took just about an hour and we were able to tag along behind two other boats through The Armitage Tunnel saving Joy from walking ahead to make sure it was clear.

We had booked lunch at the Ash Tree to meet up with our friends Linda and Cookie, who moor their boat nearby, to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary. We were able to moor right alongside the pub and had a decent enough meal with them and enjoyed hearing their news.

We bade them goodbye at 1:30, the sun came out and we travelled on to Rugeley and found a mooring which couldn’t be nearer the town centre. Joy settled down to her on-line art class while I trekked off to do some shopping.

We set off again just after 4:00 and found ourselves a nice mooring for the night at Wolseley Bridge with the River Trent just through the trees.

Only 6 miles & no locks

Summer Cruise – Day 86

Wednesday 1st September – Day 86

Peel’s Wharf

We had a great time with Peter last night with a Chinese takeaway and lots of chat with stories being swapped back and forth.
This is a view, from our boat, towards Peter’s home.

This morning we were up and off before 9:00 am, by 10:00 am we were at Hopwas and there were moorings available by The Tame Otter & The Red Lion, too bad we didn’t want to stop yet.

Huddlesford Junction

The water beyond here was really shallow and it was like ploughing through mud, however things improved and we were soon at Huddleford Junction (home to the Lichfield Cruising Club) and The Plough Inn.

Past  Kings Orchard Marina Entrance and Streethay Wharf. Half-past one and we were at Fradley and a few drops of rain started to fall, our original plan was to moor here, but everybody else had the same idea, so there was nothing for it but to turn left and ascend the locks. Fortunately, the volunteer lock-keepers were on duty and soon had us up the first two.

Joy retreated into the boat until the next lock then returned inside while I donned the Big Yellow Coat and with a waterproof picnic blanket over my knees travelled the next hour and a half thus!

No more photos for this afternoon, I wonder why?

Passing Kings Bromley Marina on the way we tied up at Handsacre, the stove is on, toasty warm and damp clothes drying out so I doubt we’ll be visiting The Crown tonight.

Today’s Route – :14.76 miles -6½hrs -3 Locks


Summer Cruise – Day 85

Monday 31st August – Day 84

A quiet morning, doing housework, although not so quiet for anyone passing as we had our generator running to power the washing machine and vacuum cleaner!

We lit the fire (not for the first time this week) about lunchtime & put up a line to dry the washing on as we were invited out to lunch.

David came and picked us up by car and took us to their place where we were given lunch and spent an enjoyable afternoon with him & Pam. This is the first time we have been in a house since February!

Tuesday 1st September – Day 85

Goodness! September already and summer seems to have made an appearance again.

After a cooked breakfast we pushed over to the water-point to fill up again and retrieved a sack of coal from the locker on that side, hopefully, that will ensure we don’t need to light the fire again for a week or two!


We pootled off through Polesworth and at Pooley Hall Park where we saw Penny on her boat, we had a brief shouted conversation then Joy rang her to see if she & Ray could join us for a swift half at The Samuel Barlow, sadly they couldn’t so we pressed on into Ammington and moored at The Gate where we had a drink and a bowl of scrummy chips.

Somehow our GPS tracker got turned off here but assuredly we made it to Glascote where I popped into the Co-op before dropping down the two locks, helping a single-hander too.

We passed Tamworth Cruising Club and crossed the River Tame aqueduct, and then took a right at Fazeley Junction and just before 4pm we were mooring at Peel’s Wharf and chatting to our friend Peter who lives across the canal with his wife Chris.

We planned to meet them for a Chinese tonight but (his) Chris wasn’t feeling too good so it will be just Peter.

Today’s Journey (with the gap joined up!)