Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Rugeley to Fazeley

On Saturday we had a stroll into Rugeley to pick up a few bits and pieces from town, on the way back to LJ we saw Ian and Irene from FreeSpirit making their way into town, we stopped for a quick chat. When we got back to LJ they were moored immediately in front of us so a bit more catching up on their return from shopping before they continued on their journey. 

Bye Ian and Irene, hopefully have a proper get together later in the year
We set off just after lunch and were in a convoy with two boats in front and one behind us. it made it easy at the now roofless Armitage Tunnel, as it is so narrow and you cant see on coming boats you have to check it's all clear before proceeding, with two boats in front we could follow on. It's the first time I have actually been on the boat going through this section.

Spode House and Hawkesyard Hall

Armitage Tunnel

This was the boat behind - very narrow section

Spode Cottage is a pub

The Armitage loos ready for dispatch

And the factory where they're made
As we continued on the boat immediately in front of us stopped so when we got to Wood End Lock we didn't have to wait too long. We stopped just before Shadehouse Lock and managed to get a spot on the visitor moorings there.

Shadehouse Lock Moorings
We stayed there Sunday, it was fairly busy with boats coming and going so we stayed put and I got my sewing machine out and continued on with my current project. It was mid afternoon and about 30 boats had passed by during the course of the day (according the the lock keeper) James had put a springer on the rear rope and we were pretty secure,  LJ had barely moved as the many boats passed. Suddenly there was a loud clattering sound and we surged forward, there was a boat racing past us and the speed he was going ripped our piling hooks at the back through the piling, I went to the front to see us drifting about 2ft from the bank , I shouted out to the steerer if he had realised how fast he was going, his reply - sorry I was talking and got distracted - unbelievable. It was only when we went out to re-secure LJ to the bank that we realised the damage that was caused due to our sudden movement, a part of the piling stuck out and our fender being moved with the boat. So thank you nb Dawn Mist the person who has this weeks share has caused us damaged due to their incompetence, bloody selfishness and lack of ability to talk and control his boat at the same time.

In need of a bit of TLC
On Monday we headed down the two locks to Fradley Junction where we turned right onto the Coventry Canal. Dudley seems to be loving sitting watching whilst we are on the move, but at times it all gets too much for him. We continued onto Fazeley Junction and turned right popping into Fazeley Mill Marina before heading back to Fazeley and mooring outside Peels Wharf.

Dudkey got a little tired

Spring is finally here

I love these yellow fields

Fazeley Mill

Back at Peels Wharf for a few days

18.5 miles and 3 locks
TOTAL 162 miles and 157 locls

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Stafford to Rugeley

Last Friday morning we moved LJ the few hundred yards to Stafford Club, where Peter the Habourmaster saw us in. Enterprise arrived soon after we had tied up and we were on our way for a couple of days to West Wales to visit Pam and Pete.

Just arrived at Stafford Boat Club

Moored up for the weekend

Inside the marina

LJ on the canal mooring
On Saturday we headed down to Tenby and had a wander through the town ending up with a bit of lunch over looking the beach. The sun was out but there was a bit of a chilly wind but lovely in sheltered places. In the evening we went out to the local Indian restaurant and enjoyed a lovely curry.

The lovely view from Pam and Pete's

Enjoying dinner at Abduls
Sunday morning arrived and we left for a very important appointment in Tipton. Today was 'Dudley Day' and we were picking up our little 9 week old Patterdale Terrier. We then drove to Tamworth so he could have his first vaccination, this had taken some working out as the second one is due in two weeks and we needed to work out where we would be as we wouldn't have the car then. It was the a drive back to Stafford to introduce Dudley to his new home.

James and Dudley relaxing after the journey

Dudley in his man cave
On Monday I dropped the car back to a very busy Enterprise office, where I had to wait 10 or 15 minutes for a lift back to Stafford Boat Club. The manager was very apologetic, he was also on his own with phones constantly ringing and customers coming in. It was no problem waiting I'm always just grateful they offer the pick and drop back service.

Once I arrived back we said our goodbyes to Peter, the Harbourmaster and made a very short journey to the road bridge closest to town. This was Dudley's first trip and he was so tired he spent it asleep in his bed and didn't know much about it.

Tuesday was his first proper journey and although he was a little nervous was very interested in his surroundings. We stopped for a bit of lunch, which we would have normally had on the move, then continued on to Tixall Wide.

Patiently waitng, the male swan was constantly patrolling

Quick lunch stop, lovely spot just a shame it's so close to the railway

Dudley enjoying the view and sun

We stayed a couple of days at Tixall catching up with pen related work and set off on Thursday, at Great Haywood Junction we turned right onto the Trent and Mersey Canal and soon after Dudley was going through his first lock. We stopped short of Rugeley just before the aqueduct.

Spotted this at Tixall lock

In the garden at Tixall Lock

Dudley having a reassuring cuddle through his first lock

Just before the aqueduct at Rugeley

Yesterday we moved to Rugeley town visitor moorings on the doorstep of the Tesco Superstore.

Another patient swan

Rugeley visitor moorings were very quiet
Dudley is settling in really well and enjoys running up and down the boat, it will be great after he's had his second vaccination and we will be able to take him for proper walks and not just carries. 

11 miles and 3 locks
TOTAL 143.5 miles and 154 locks

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Penkridge to Stafford

What a beautiful start to the day with the sun streaming through the windows. It was up and straight off for our short trip down to Stafford. Again lots of boats on the move and we conveniently met a few at the locks coming the opposite way. I'm loving the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, lovely scenery and the locks all seem to be well maintained with paddles not too difficult to raise. It was a couple of years ago we were along here going the other way, it's amazing when things start looking familiar and memories come back.

This field of swans look quite strange

Whilst waiting for a lock to fill a CRT person passed by with iPad in her hand so guess she was out sighting and logging boats. Unfortunately we weren't included in her data gathering - again!! James obtained our sightings a couple of days ago and according to them this year, as in 2015, they have us travelling a total distance of 15 miles over a maximum range of 10 miles. So we have sent an email to them. 
Moored near Stafford

4 miles and 4 locks
132.5 miles and 151 locks

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Gailey to Penkridge

Today is tinged with a little sadness as it is the fifth anniversary of when our beloved Callum departed this world. Time is doing a fairly good job in healing but I still miss him terribly.

Callieboy enjoying the sea air
Today started bright and sunny and we continued on our journey down to Penkridge, there were many boats on the move both ways and we were lucky at the locks in not having to queue until the last one at Penkridge itself. We were third in the queue and by the time it was our turn there were about four more behind us. We stopped shortly afterwards and headed into the village and had a look around the market, stopping at Jaspers the bakery for a loaf of the best bread ever.

The Roundhouse at Gailey Lock

Looking back

The M6 is right next to this lock

Fishing competition, most were friendly and said hello, one even thanked us for taking it easy

James trying to avoid the leak in the lock wall

Moored at Penkridge

3.5 miles and 7 locks
TOTAL 128.5 miles and 147 locks

Monday, 6 April 2015

Tipton to Gailey

It was quite misty and felt a little chilly when we left Tipton at just gone 8am this morning, we had to wind at the entrance to Dudley No 1 Canal and then we were on our way, passing our mooring and waving farewell to our trading neighbours on Sparks. On reaching Factory Junction we turned left heading for Wolverhampton.

We reached Coseley Tunnel still in the mist and wrapped up in woolley hats and gloves. The work they have done to the landslide area looks great, although we understand the local kids do like to stand at the top and throw stones down at the boats, luckily we were going through to early to experience this.

Coseley Tunnel in the mist

This is where the landslide happened
And the other side

We passed this swan nesting in the reeds
Looks a nice conversion of this old building

Multi-storey car park on top of Wolverhampton Tunnel, which isn't more than a huge bridge
On reaching Horseley Fields Junction at Wolverhampton we kept left to stay on the Mainline, then a quick stop at Broad Street Basin to drop the rubbish, James also conjured up a lovely bruch to see us through the locks.

We were soon on our way down the Wolverhapton 21, we met several boats coming up but no sign of any in front or behind us going down. As we decesended the flight the weather cleared and we had brilliant blue sky and sunshine for the rest of the journey. At lock 8 we took a closer look at the area around the ground paddle and think James' incident Link in November 2013 was due to the very worn coping stone being icy. We managed the 21 in just over 3 hours this time and without incident.

Wolverhampton Top Lock

The bottom gates have seen better days

The coping stone at Lock 8 has seen a lot of use
Wouldn't fancy being on this scaffolding

Waiting at the lock for James and LJ

Noticed this fog swimming around in the bottom lock
On reaching Aldersley Junction we turned right and left the Birmingham Canal Navigations onto the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. It was a very long boating day for us, but it was very enjoyable and a fantastic Spring day. It's lovely to be back out in the countryside again.

This section of canal is cut out of the rock, we'd just been though a really narrow section

Nice to see the open countryside again, especially as it was sunny

Strange bridge name

And finally mooring in Gailey, we managed to squeeze onto the visitor mooring above the lock

15 miles and 21 locks

Total 125 miles and 140 locks