Polesworth

A fair bit has happened since the last post. After leaving Tixall Wide, we stopped for services at the Anglo Welsh base by Great Haywood Junction. On conclusion, we turned right onto the Trent and Mersey Canal heading south. As we cruised along the front of Shugborough Hall, we encountered nb Scythia moored, the first of a number of Hudson narrowboats we would see, heading towards Tamworth. After a brief chat with the occupants, we carried on until we reach Wolseley Bridge, at which point we called it a day. Finding a shady tree, we secured the boat, then wandered off to the pub for lunch a short distance away. After lunch we noted that two further Hudson boats, nb Neston, and nb Lydia May were also in the vicinity. The reason for the sudden congregation of Hudsons all heading the same way, was the impending owners gathering, due to take place in Glascote Basin. The next day we had a short hop to Rugeley, where we stopped briefly to visit the supermarket, then on to a mooring just prior to Kings Bromley Marina. Normally we would not consider stopping here, due to being under the trees which have a tendency to drip sap onto the boat, but with the heatwave in full flow, shade was the primary goal. The following morning we knew where we wanted to aim for. We navigated the three locks prior to Fradley Junction, then turned right onto the Coventry Canal detached section. We knew we were getting close to our intended spot, when the noise of the A38 encroached on our peaceful cruising. Fortunately it moves away from the canal after a short distance. On arrival at Kings Orchard, we initially stopped in our usual spot prior to the marina entrance, but there was no shade, and the reports were, that the next few days would be extremely hot. We were planning to stay put over the weekend to do some maintenance, and to visit the Plough P.H. for a Sunday roast. We would also want to use the marina services, before we moved off on the Monday morning. With compass in hand, I checked for some mooring under the trees beyond the marina, and found one spot, where a break in the tree line would afford a view to the satellite for the TV. We moved the boat and settled down to our maintenance tasks. On Sunday 15/7. we wandered off to the Plough for lunch, and although hot opted for the roast. What a good decision that was. It was excellent. Back at the boat chores completed, we relaxed for the remainder of the day. Monday 16/7. We nipped into Kings Orchard Marina for diesel and a pump-out. The people running the marina are extremely friendly, and always helpful. Then we were off aiming for Fazeley. On arrival we spotted nb Lydia May again, we had been playing leap frog with this boat over the past few days. We had not stopped here before, and the edge of the canal was fairly shallow, so one of our wheelbarrow tyres was put into use to assist with mooring. Tuesday 17/7. we decided to head up the two Glascote Locks, and take a mooring outside the basin, ready to enter the following day. We had pre arranged an early entry with Sarah who runs the boatyard, due to the need for a few small jobs to be sorted. That night we met the crew of Barolo No 3 who were already in the basin dry-dock, and together with a few of the workforce, we wandered off to the Gate Inn for evening refreshments. Wednesday 18/7. we winded and nipped into the basin, securing our spot for the weekend ahead. Late on Friday afternoon, the boats began to pile in, and it was not long before the basin was virtually full. The large tents had been erected during the day, and the bar installed with the ales chilling ready for the event.

Hudsons filling Glascote Basin

The weekend event went splendidly, a hog roast provided sustenance on Saturday, and Chinese Takeaway on Sunday. The ales flowed all weekend. Even the weather held fine. We had an early start on Monday morning, leaving the boat at the basin whilst we visited family in Kent. We therefore missed the exodus, but were informed the basin emptied as quickly as it filled, and returned to working mode by mid morning. Sarah has kindly agreed to allow the event to continue, so the 2019 dates are already in the diary. We finally left the basin on Wednesday 25/7. turning left under the bridge hole, and heading south towards Polesworth. Passing Alvecote we spotted Barolo No 3, so a short blast on the klaxon caused heads to pop out for a look. We carried on until arriving at our intended spot close to bridge 50. There is a large mound here, which shields the mooring from the mainline railway, a few hundred yards away. The following day Barolo arrived, and so we enjoyed a chilli one night, and a BBQ and wine on the towpath the next.

Barolo No 3 and Achernar back to back

Our plan was to head up the Atherstone Locks yesterday, but weather reports were indicating some stormy conditions, so we have stayed put. The weather reports were not wrong on this occasion, and we have certainly had some wet and windy weather.

Moments before the storm hit

The picture above was very eerie. Everything was bathed in an orange glow, and all was relatively calm. Then within five minutes, we were hit by torrential rain and wind. 

  • Totals from Tixall Wide to Polesworth 30 Miles 5 Locks
  • Running total 376 Miles 175 Locks 9 Tunnels

Tixall Wide

Well it has been a while since our last post, due in part to the author suffering from writers block aka bone idleness. To be fair though, the past couple of weeks have been decidedly unusual, as far as UK weather goes, and are reminiscent of the summer of 1976, so at the end of a day cruising, the choice between a cold drink and an ice lolly, or writing a blog is an easy choice to make. Anyway, here is the update. Friday 22/6. We headed for Marbury which was 7 miles and 9 Locks away. This included the flight and staircase locks at Grindley Brook, a known choke point. As we arrived at the top lock, the crew nimbly alighted from the boat, and went off to help work some of the boats ahead down the flight. I joined the back of the queue. The normal routine is to let three down, then three up, and we were fourth in line. This meant a long wait. The lock keeper however appreciated the crew help, and so we were allowed down immediately. The boat behind us who hadn’t helped, had to wait. After Grindley Brook, we cruised on until reaching Willeymoor lock and pub where we stopped for lunch. Following refreshments we set off again for Marbury, where finding a shady spot was the order of the day. Saturday 23/6. Our destination was to be a mooring between bridges 5 and 4. This was a trip of 5 miles and 6 locks, and also included two lift bridges in Wrenbury. One of these is a mechanical road bridge, and stopping traffic is required. It is quite funny watching cars speed up, when they see the crew walking towards the control terminal. I mean, they would only have a wait of about 3 minutes at most. Sunday 24/6. After a short cruise we arrived at the top of Hurleston Locks. We filled with water then began our descent. At the bottom of the fourth lock, which is also the very narrow one that boats sometimes get stuck in, we turned right onto the Shropshire Union Canal. The Llangollen Canal was pleasant, but I suspect it will be a few years before we are back, as we have other places to visit. We stopped in Nantwich for lunch, then carried on up the 2 Locks at Hack Green and on to Coole Pilate. This trip had been a distance of 7 miles and 6 Locks. Monday 25/6. Our destination was the bottom of Adderley Locks. First we had fifteen Locks at Audlem to navigate. The weather had been getting steadily hotter, so a decision was made. We had set the alarm clock, and by 7.30 am we were underway. The intention, was to be at the top well before midday. We were successful, we also arrived at Adderley to find the mooring spot by the solitary tree was vacant. We filled it, and then spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade. Tuesday 26/6. We had a relatively short day to Market Drayton, a distance of 4 miles and 5 Locks away. The journey was uneventful, but we did encounter a lot of boats at Tyrley Locks. It seems everyone else is moving early to avoid the midday sun. Wednesday 27/6. The plan was to aim for Norbury Junction, but as we were a bit ahead of ourselves, approaching High Offley we spotted a nice shady spot and stopped. It was also very handy for the nearby, old boatmans pub The Anchor, where we went for lunch. 

The famous Anchor Pub

Wandering along the canal, we could see the village of High Offley a distance away, up on the hill. Normally we would have walked up to have a look, but it was so hot, a photo from the canal would have to suffice.

High Offley Church

Thursday 28/6. We a very short hop of 3 miles to Norbury Junction. On arrival we stopped at the Wharf for services, and filled the diesel tank to the brim. Then it was over to the water point, before we finally found a shady spot on the 48 hour moorings. We stayed put for a couple of days. Sunday 1/7. Church Eaton was our destination for the day, just 4 miles away. We had marked in the Nicholson guide book there was a nice mooring here, but had never actually used it. One small concern we had, we normally moor away from trees in the open. This way, we maximise our solar electric generation. In the current heat though, shade wins over free solar power. As we approached the point we had marked in the book, we were pleased to see that there was a choice between full sun and partial shade. We opted for the latter. The journey had also taken us through Cowley Tunnel, which at only 81 yards, is really just a long bridge hole. Monday 2/7. Just south of Brewood was our destination today. A distance of 9 miles and 1 Lock.

Cruising towards Brewood

  Tuesday 3/7. Today we would leave the Shropshire Union behind, as we joined the Staffs and Worcestershire Canal at Autherley Junction. Prior to navigating the stop lock, we filled with water, then turned left at the junction heading for Coven. We were soon in the very narrow cutting at Pendeford, and this time, unlike previous transits, we met oncoming traffic. We managed to slot into one of the few passing places, and then just sat there, till all had passed. Shortly after emerging from the cutting, we arrived at the Fox and Anchor PH. There was a mooring spot, directly outside the outdoor seating area, and it was lunchtime. It was fate, so we stopped. After lunch, we travelled the remaining mile or so to our intended spot, once again opting for maximum shade. Wednesday 4/7. Today we had a bit of a trek, 10 miles and 10 Locks. Our destination was Acton Trussell. It was another scorching day, and not only were all the locks against us, but all the bottom gates were left wide open. This doubled to work for the crew, and we were later told by an oncoming boat, that there was a single hander ahead of us, leaving all the gates open when he exited the locks.

Approaching Acton Trussell Mooring

Thursday 5/7. This would be our last day of moving for a while. We were aiming for Tixall Wide, a distance of 6 miles and 2 Locks away. Myself and the furry crew will be staying with the boat, whilst the first mate nips home for the weekend. Due to our extended stay, the priority for the mooring spot would be, the maximum amount of shade, whilst being able to receive a satellite signal for the TV. A very important football match was pending. We found our spot after a couple tries, and secured the boat.

Side hatch view of mooring Tixall Wide

  During our stay at Tixall, the football went well and we are now in the semi finals of the World Cup. We have enjoyed eating and shopping at the deli and cafe at Great Haywood Junction just under a 1 mile walk away.

  • Totals Friday 22/6. 7 Miles 9 Locks
  •          Saturday 23/6. 5 Miles 6 Locks
  •          Sunday 24/6. 7 Miles 6 Locks
  •          Monday 25/6. 4 Miles 15 Locks
  •          Tuesday 26/6. 4 Miles 5 Locks
  •          Wednesday 27/6. 9 Miles 5 Locks
  •          Thursday 28/6. 3 Miles
  •          Sunday 1/7. 4 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  •          Monday 2/7. 9 Miles 1 Lock
  •          Tuesday 3/7. 7 Miles
  •          Wednesday 4/7. 10 Miles 10 Locks
  •          Thursday 5/7. 6 Miles 2 Locks
  •          Running Total 346 Miles 170 Locks 9 Tunnels