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