Coven, bridge 74 Staffs and Worcs.

Yesterday we departed Acton Trussell. This was nice spot and whilst here we met the crew of Barolo No. 3 as they passed. We had not seen them since the Hudson open weekend last year. It is great having a catch up and you never know who is going to be round the next corner. Our first stop was by Park Gate Lock, where Midland Chandlers have a shop. We had walked here the previous day purchasing a pair of outdoor folding chairs, due to the fact they were offering a discount whilst the Crick Show was on. Not wanting to carry the chairs 2 1/2 miles back to the boat, they agreed to put them aside ready for collection. We also wanted a pump out at the boatyard just beyond the lock. We won’t be using them again, they charge double if you want the tank rinsed which is normally included in the price. It was then on to the village of Penkridge. Both of us needed haircuts and this village has six hairdressing establishments. Unfortunately for the crew all the lady hairdressers required a booking whereas I just sat and waited my turn. The village also boasts an excellent bakery, and a very tempting old fashioned sweet shop. Thank god we don’t live in Penkridge. Back at the boat we refilled the water tank and had lunch, then we were off again, aiming for somewhere south of Gailey. 

      

Approaching Gailey lock with its iconic round tower which was used by the toll keepers. This was to be the last of ten locks we did that day.
      
                       One of the crew peering over the edge to make sure I am doing it right.
There we lots of visitor moorings at Gailey but we pushed on and were soon passing a chemical works with warning signs of No Stopping or Mooring and guard dogs patrolling. Even without the warnings I have to say that parking next to a chemical works would not be high on my list of preferred spots. We passed Hatherton Marina and shortly after found a rural spot just prior to bridge 74.
At 11 am today we set off for a short mile and a half walk to the pub at Cross Green. Whilst taking refreshments a pair of old working boats pulled in and moored outside the pub. The boats were Nuneaton (motor) and Brighton (butty).
     

      

  

On return to the boat we had lunch and waited for the old boats to come chugging past. I have enough trouble controlling one boat sometimes, never mind two. The boats are heading back to Alvecote and expect to be there on Friday. That’s some going as it’s taken us nearly three weeks to get here from there.
      

Tomorrow we plan an early start, hopefully passing through the narrows prior to Autherley Junction and the Shropshire Union Canal without meeting any boat traffic. Either way we will then be on the home straight for Chester and a wedding at the end of June.
Totals 11 Miles 10 Locks

Acton Trussell Update

Our daily walk took us into the village of Acton Trussell. It is a very pleasant village, with a mix of older original houses and cottages that have been added to over the years. What is nice is that most of the new additions have been built in a similar style to the original buildings. As we walked through the village we spotted a  gentleman in his front garden going about his business. You can tell it is an upmarket village as he is reading the Telegraph and not some red top newspaper.

      

A bit further on it became apparent that Acton Trussell competes in the Best Kept Village competition, and also holds awards for best scarecrow and best hanging basket.
      

Here are a few more contenders for the championship.
      

      

   

During our return to the boat we met the Canal and River Trust enforcement officer travelling the towpath on his bike. The area he has to cover is vast, including 5 canals and 2 rivers logging boats. Today he was checking from Gailey on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal, to Great Haywood on the Trent and Mersey canal. He aims to cover each section once every 14 days, so this would indicate we were probably last logged at Tixall Wide.
The weather has been a bit hit and miss lately. Too warm for the solid fuel stove, but cold enough to need some heating. We have a hurricane diesel heater to run our central heating and this has been working well to take the chill off. It is however more expensive to run in both diesel cost and battery power consumption. The remainder of the day has been spent reading the freeby papers Towpath Talk and Crick Boating Times. 

Acton Trussell

Yesterday the crew returned from their weekend jaunt, so this morning we were up bright and breezy ready to move off. First we settled our bill with the Stafford Boat Club and I am sure we will visit them again on our travels. The crew went top up shopping to a large co-op store in Wildwood, whilst I filled the water tank and prepared the boat. The forecast today was for heavy showers and occasional sunny spells. We set off with a potential mooring spot 200 yards ahead through the bridge. This was only going to be used if the weather was really foul, it was not. We continued on to the lock about half a mile away and were fortunate that a boat had set it for us. Through the lock for a further half a mile and we reached our intended mooring spot. Just as we were tying up the heavens opened with a mix of rain and hail. Five minutes later, just as we finished the sun came out. We have enough supplies to last at least a week, so we will probably stay here till after the bank holiday weekend as it may get busy.

       
       

       

       

As you can see from the above pictures of our mooring spot we are once again in a picturesque rural setting, just prior to the village of Acton Trussell. The M6 motorway is about a mile and half away but is shielded by trees and not bothering us at all.
Totals 1 Mile 1 Lock

Stafford Boat Club

Today we finally left Tixall Wide to continue our journey. We only had three miles and one lock to navigate today. Our destination was Stafford Boat Club on the outskirts of Stafford. We need to be close to the trains this weekend, so the crew can go to another birthday celebration. We arrived at 11 am and had a short wait before we could access the services pontoon. We then nipped across the entrance of the marina and moored on the linear moorings. Here we could also plug into the national grid, and we have water on tap. No need for conservation for the next week. The boat club is very small and run entirely by volunteers. It has all services and a club house, renowned for the low cost of its ale. The people here are very friendly which explains why there is a long waiting list for potential moorers. By the time we had tied up the sun was out and the day ended up being very warm. We took the rest of the day easy, and will explore our surroundings over the next few days.

       

                                              Viewing from the starboard side hatch.

       

                   Viewing from the other side across the landscaped grounds of the boat club.

Totals 5 Miles 1 Lock