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Monday, March 30, 2009

Through Gailey & onto the Shroppie

Away from Penkridge cruiseing to Gailey and in the picture below the lock is through the bridge and the fine looking tall round structure is the old Toll collecters office and from those high windows he could see boats approaching so the old working boats had no chance of slipping through the lock without paying their dues.
Leaving the lock i notice some of the Viking Afloat hire fleet sit waiting to be craned in after some winter maintenance, won`t be long now before hire boats are all over the canal system are once again conjesting the waterways i and other liveaboards have had to ourselves all winter.

Autherley Jct. is where i turn right onto the Shropshire Union Canal after passing through a stop lock the difference in water levels being inches not feet. (sod the EU it`s feet&inches)
I love the Shroppie with it`s high bidges and narrow cuttings and a distinct absence of sharp bends in fact i think it must be the straightest canal i`ve travelled.
I cruised as far as Brewood and in fact moored away from the visitor moorings as they are enclosed by trees on both banks so a mile walk back to access the village was worth it.
The following morning was sunny so a good chance to chop some logs and looking up i saw a familar boat approaching, Chas & Ann were coming through the bridge on Moore2Life so the kettle went on and a nice hour was passed chatting on board NB Valerie.

Don`t know what Chas is doing at the stern but Ann has the bow into the bank. Chas &Ann have been cruising with Sue&Vic on No Problem but No Problem is having some work done inside and will be moored for a while. I know many of you follow Sue`s blog but at the moment it has a bug that is causing a few problems so be patient and i`m sure Sue will fix it soon.
New link to the NO PROBLEM blog is HERE.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Just to let the many many followers of the blog "NO PROBLEM" the site has been infected by some bug and Sue has for now a new address.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


Passing through Acton Trussell below the next overnight stop will be Penkridge and from past experience i know the market is not only large with 200 stalls it also has an indoor auction of well just about everything and an outside auction of eggs & small livestock.
The following pictures show some of the outside auction items, thought these might be better than pictures of the general stalls as we all know what they look like.

Education as well a female ferret is called a gill........I didn`t know.

Eggs of all kinds for sale including Goose, Duck, Quail etc and some labelled for hatching, now me being a townie well ok so now i`m a water gypsy, i thought eggs had to be kept warm to hatch so something else to read up on, where i`m gonna find time to do all this studying beats me as i seem to have a full time job as a roving canal reporter.

Right that's caught up a little bit more and talking of catching up Mike Perham on his round world solo trip is near Australia. Check him out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The stolen boat Que Sera Sera is still missing and more details can be found here.


Quite amazing what there is to see ambling along at 3mph. Unlike speeding through the countryside in a car the slowness of a boat gives so much time to take in what`s around you. A Kingfisher in the 1st pic (click&enlarge) with his golden brown breast reflecting in the water.

The second pic i believe is a Sparrowhawk but being no twitcher i wait to be corrected.

The 3rd needs no description except "sweet"

Now our 4th pic shows the good old reliable Heron, nothing strange spotting him but just after i
took the pic i decided to moor up and sitting on the front deck with my cuppa the following morning i noticed a lot of activity in the trees back along the towpath. It turned out to be a Heronry spread over several trees. If you click the pics i have circled some but take my word for it there were 10/12 flights in and out of the nests but i`m no David Bailey so you can see the best of 8 pics i took.
I was pleased to moor here for the night as this is the first Heronry i have seen. Any other boaters passing the location is towpath side Hazelstrine Bridge96 on the Staffs&Worc canal but take a good zoom camera as the trees lay back from the canal.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Not had a very good Internet signal lately so will try and catch up with the journey.
After the saga of the leaking tank i`m glad to report all is well and the woodwork is drying out nicely even below the floor the paper i`ve been putting down the inspection hatch is not absorbing any water.
So after being imprisoned at the boatyard, and i know it was only 24 hrs but not having the freedom to move at will is not pleasant, a short cruise brings me to Fradley Jct. where i turn left onto the Trent & Mersey canal and up through 2 locks i decide enough for today and moore up in Fradley wood away from the hustle and bustle of the junction.
Setting off again passing through Handsacre & Armitage and below what used to be Armitage

tunnel just a road bridge remains and the next view are the towers of Rugely Power Station which tells me that the canal side Morrison's supermarket will be waiting to re-stock the galley.
After an overnight stop in Rugely i decide to move on and find a nice country mooring for a few days and looking at the map i decide to stop at Little Haywood which is on the northern side of Cannock Chase. Walking across the Chase is wonderfully peaceful with miles of woodlands to wander through, just look at the tree below shaped by nature and time.

Back on the boat the kettle on and just noticed the Hot air balloon passing directly overhead.
Time to get the chainsaw out and cut up some of the wood that seems to be plentiful around here
so much so this narrow boat was fully loaded perhaps being shipped off for sale somewhere.

Moving on through the lock at Gt. Haywood brings me to Gt. Haywood Jct. and a change to my original plan to carry on up the Trent & Mersey before cutting across to the Shroppie at

Middlewich a route perhaps i will use on the way back from the Llangollen and who knows where. I do intend to cruise the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals but as they are north of Stoke off the Trent & Mersey my thoughts are it would be better to branch off west go into Wales and come across eastwards to Middlewich and south onto the Maccie & Peak.
So after taking on water and dumping the rubbish at the services by the building to the right of
the bridge i reversed and turned under the bridge onto the Staffordshire & Worcestershire canal. Just a short way along and the canal widens at Tixall where there is enough water to do a figure of 8 if you so wished.

Moored up i spy John & Fiona on EPIPHANY. We have been passing each other for some time now.

Moving on across Tixall Wide stands the Gatehouse now used as holiday flats.
Further along the magnificent tunnel mouth that takes the railway line across Shugborough Park.
Well that's caught up a little on my journey but i am in fact a lot further on than the blog but i will try and bring the blog more up to date soon.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009


The 5 senses are Sight,Hearing,Smell,Taste and Touch but the one that played a part in the title of this blog was Touch. At my usual bedtime of 1am ish i toddled off to bed and as i kicked off one slipper it was my foot touching the carpet that gave the game away because it shouldn`t have felt cold and wet. On with all the lights out come the drawers below the bed and water every where. The hot water tank had sprung a leak, and that`s what i will call it as califier or califerer or whatever the stupid name they call it at the end of the day it`s a hot water tank.
As luck would have it a boat yard was just an hours cruise so the only thing to do was turn off the main feed and the water pump and go to bed, at least the bed being high meant i had somewhere dry to kip.

The hot water tank (above) had split on the seam that joins the rounded bottom to the tank, you can see the black marks and further up just out of picture the seam had split open.
The boatyard had to go and collect a tank from a wholesaler but at least the job was started and finished the same day. In day`s gone by i would have done the job myself but do you know what i just couldn`t be bothered so i let them do all the labouring.
The only thing i did was to strip off the bed down to the frame and in the pic below you can see where the tank was located with the 2 white metal straps to hold it in place.

the worst area of water damage was to the left of picture and below shows the water stained end panel of the wardrobe at the foot of the bed.
The water under the floor was quite considerable and an industrial wet vac was used to remove it but still water is finding its way to the back of the boat and days later i`m still using newspapers to soak it up. Movement of the boat causes the water to find its way around the tons of concrete slabs used as ballast and end up below the rear hatch under the stairs eventually the paper will do its job and just now have taken a look and the last batch of paper i put in yesterday is just damp so good news.

This is the yard that done the work Streethay Wharf near Litchfield on the Coventry canal and i do recommend them for good service providing me with a berth for the night and and electric hook up.

Hope you are like me still following youngster Mike Perham as he sails solo around the world.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The boat Que Sera Sera is still missing.

Details HERE

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Decided as i was near to Lichfield and not ever visited a trip on the bus from Hopwas would be a good idea. I had a walk around the Cathedral admiring the stonework both outside and inside. You really must appreciate the skill that it took to carve it all.

While in Lichfield i was hoping to see something of the canal restoration that is going on here and on the way in the bus passed some locks that were under restoration along the Tamworth road.
The work is being carried out by the Lichfield&Hatherton canal trust
Above is the filled in canal now a footpath and the bridge in the distance is just behind the Shell garage on Tamworth road if you are in the area and fancy a walk to see the work.

Giving up any more on this particular blog as the signal is so weak it has taken for ever to get this far
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Coventry Canal - Birm & Faz.-Coventry Canal. Where`s the map!

The Coventry Canal has been the water beneath my boat since leaving the Oxford at Hawkesbury Jct. now in the pic below it becomes the Birmingham & Fazely Canal. I have come in on the Coventry from the left and the B&F comes under the bridge and off to the right.
All sounds fine like leaving the M1 and onto M25, but the difference here is that without another junction the canal suddenly once again becomes the Coventry as Tommy Cooper would say "just like that".
Hope the map helps, as you see the white of the Coventry joins the blue B&F at Fazely then reverts to white Cov untill it reaches the Trent & Mersey at Fradley Jct.

I borrowed the map from Jim Sheads Waterways.
What happened was that in 1768 the Coventry canal co. started digging their canal with Fradley jct. their destination but by 1771 they had reached Atherstone and had run out of cash and when funds allowed the canal reached Fazely in 1790. But because of the slowness of the Cov. Co. the Birmingham & Fazely canal had long since reached Fazely from Birmingham and in fact carried on following the route the Coventry canal co. had obtained under an Act of Parliament as far as Whittington some 5 miles on.
The Trent & Mersey co. cut the canal from Fradley Jct. down to meet the B&F at Whittington. In 1788ish the Coventry Canal co. bought the section they hadn`t built for £10.500

The picture shows the spot that the Birmingham&Fazely meets the Coventry detached as it`s known.
A difference between the canal companies is the way that The Coventry number their bridges whilst the B&F name them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Got this from Canal world forum apparently last seen on the Coventry Canal. will give some more pictures







Can`t seem to get the link to work but select Trent & Mersey on the site and Que sera sera will come up.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Off the Ashby and back on the Coventry canal past the Hartshill yard of BW I am enjoying not

having to do any locks for quite a while except the Hawkesbury Jct. one that drops just a few inches but don`t speak to soon Les because here comes the Atherstone flight of 11 taking the canal down 80`. Still i don`t mind these as they are single locks and the 2 small exit gates can

stepped across and can be closed as i exit with the boat pole so no getting off to shut them. Sods law says it will rain as i descend the flight and it did not continuous but stop start so when i decided to moor up it stopped and when i kept going it started again.
Above the first example i have seen of the controversial wooden square bollards that BW have installed at great expense. Boaters don`t like them because of the fact ropes will not freely slide around the square edges so the boat will not get caught up as the water drops but i suspect that most boaters like myself never use bollards of any shape in a single lock. In a double lock the bollards are needed to restrain the boat but in these singles its got no where to go.
All along the Coventry are signs of the industrial past and this is an old wharf probably used to serve the mining industry that was so prevalent in these parts.
Nice to see this little business is still trading selling painted pots and other canal memorabilia mostly i suspect to the holiday boats that pass by seeking a souvenir of their canal boat hols.
Shame that business was not brisk enough to keep this hostelry open, sadly like in towns and villages this is becoming a common site.

Skirting around the town of Tamworth an Aqueduct takes the canal across the River Tame that wasn`t tame when i last passed as the summer rain had caused it to burst its banks flooding the fields on the left.
Now we are at Fazely Jct. and the Coventry now becomes the Birmingham & Fazely canal before shortly after changing back to the Coventry, more next time on that as i want to get a picture of the changeover spot.
Above is the un-missable pink cruiser "Thursdays Child" belonging if i`m not mistaken to Brian Holmes who writes a column for Narrowboat World under the heading `In the Pink`

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs