Monday, 29 April 2019

To one of our favourite places - 28th and 29th April 2019

Sunday 28th April 2019
Gailey to Penkridge
2.5 miles, 5 locks

A bit of a nothing sort of day.  The weather was chilly, but we were at least dry.  There were a few boats around, but mostly the locks were against us.

 We passed through Rodbaston Lock today which must be one of the noisiest on the canal system as it is right beside the M6.
The M6 is very close to the canal for quite a long time - definitely not a place to stop.

The other notable feature of this stretch is windmills

We made it to Penkridge just in time for lunch

and next door but one to us is a boat that the Cleddau crew will recognise

We met them a few times in 2014 - they had been trying to get onto the Nene to cross the Wash, but were foiled by flooding.  I think they gave up in the end and went the long way round to Lincoln.

After lunch we walked to the Co-op which is quite sizable, but the choice we felt was limited.

Monday 29th April 2019
Penkridge to Tixall Wide
9.25 miles, 6 locks

The day dawned bright and sunny and was, for the most part, pleasantly warm.  Having filled and emptied as required we entered the first lock of the day - note we have blue sky again.

By the time we arrived at the second lock we were behind a single-hander who I helped down the lock. He had an rather lovely dog called Meg - he said she was a 'Sprollie' - Spaniel/Collie cross

There is still no escaping the M6 along here

As we approached the third lock - Park Gate lock there was a boat coming up.  To our surprise it was Richard and Ruth with their fuel boat and butty.

It was agreed that Richard would top up our diesel tank and provide us with a bag of coal,

whilst I helped Ruth drop the lock so she could haul the butty in.

Safely up, tied to Mountbatten and they were on their way.  Jaq if you see this, Ruth said to say hello and sent her best wishes.

We then dropped down the lock to find three boats waiting to come up.  We tied up briefly for Chris to visit Midland Chandlers.

Patience is rewarded and you do eventually escape the M6 and find yourself in open country once more

We continued on managing some great timing at locks

but not such good timing at others, however this was the last of the day, so no problem with a short delay.

 I took a photo of this amazing tree house in 2016, but I don't think

the train was there then.  Some lucky youngsters to have all this to play with.

 This is a seriously large property with expansive grounds and

a swimming pool tucked away behind the hedge

 We enter the final lock - Tixall with its rather lovely lock cottage

Just the one gosling for this pair

Finally just around the bend is

Tixall Wide

This cob tried to dissuade us from mooring as

his other half is just across the other side of the wide
 but moor we did

having winded, so we had this view from the side hatch


I hope this bodes well for tomorrow

Saturday, 27 April 2019

Wild, Wet and Windy - 26th and 27th April 2019

Friday 26th April 2019
Wightwick to Cross Green 
6.25 miles, 3 locks

Our meal out last night (25th April) was okay.  Evelyn and I had a very good main course, Chris not quite so successful with his choice, but I am afraid all three desserts left something to be desired.  The panacotta would not have got anywhere near Masterchef - no sign of a wobble!  It was, I am sorry to say, solid and just like cold blancmange which I hate.  We had a great evening with Evelyn which was the main thing and I am sure Monty did not really know it was his birthday we were deserting him on!

To say there has been a change in the weather is somewhat of an understatement!  It was chilly and windy.

When we arrived at the second lock of the day (Wightwick Mill Lock) I discovered there is a nature reserve on the offside of the towpath

It might be worth exploring one day

 A view from Wightwick Mill Lock

Not far much further on are some rather lovely looking apartments

 Plus moorings!  When you go to the WEBSITE it states, "potential moorings"!

Towards the end of the trip is a section of narrow canal

  with few passing places, so Evelyn, Monty and I walked ahead to ensure a clear passage.

We were followed closely by this boat which shows just how narrow it was in places.

We were moored up by lunch time and hunkered down for a long afternoon in the warm round the fire.  Many games were played and thankfully we had TV reception.  We rarely watch the box in the afternoon, but sometimes there just is not much more to do, especially when you are only 10 and stuck in a tin tube in the rain.

Saturday 27th April 2019
Cross Green to Gailey
5 miles, 1 lock

We did this trip in August 2016 and strangely enough the title of that blog post was 'Wild, Wet and Windy'!  No change there then.  It was the full togs this morning which protected us a little bit from the biting wind and I am glad to say that we were moored before any serious rain appeared.

I noted this house in 2016 and I like it just as much now as I did then!

Two boats had passed us going south before we pulled pins around 9am today.  One boat was following us, but we saw nothing else moving.  We arrived at Gailey and pulled into the service area to empty and fill as required.  I went to check the moorings below the lock and thankfully there was one Tentatrice sized hole far enough away from the road (A5) to be relatively quiet.  Just as we were finishing and about to untie two boats appeared heading towards the lock.  Talk about bad timing!  Were they planning to stop in the hole we had earmarked?  Thankfully no, they were hoping to get to Great Hayward today - we are aiming to go through there on Tuesday!!

We helped the first one down and then another appeared coming up.

Evelyn pulling faces as we wait for the lock to refill having helped the second boat down.  Thankfully she noticed that Chris was battling with our middle rope trying to get our boat back to the tow path so he could board her to enter the lock - I had to down windlass and run as fast as my knee would allow to lend a hand.  Disaster averted, it was our turn to descend - our first downhill lock since we joined the Staffs & Worcs at Stourport.

We made it down and secured our spot - the wind is still roaring, but it is slightly more sheltered down here than it was at the top.  You cannot go through Gailey without taking a picture of the Roundhouse, even if it is not a very good one.  I took Evelyn to the shop and she came away with a book mark and a small model of a narrow boat to take to school on Monday for 'show and tell'.  She will certainly have a few tales to tell and probably fairly unique among her peers.

Her Dad arrived about 1pm on his way back home from Gatwick having flown in from a business trip to the Ukraine.  After a quick lunch they collected up her belongings and went on their way.

Chris and I settled down for a quiet cozy afternoon by the fire.  Chris and Monty have been for the necessary walk, so now it is time for a cuppa.

Evelyn is a fantastic crew member and she is welcome back any time.