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Friday, 13 September 2013

Boats Everywhere.

I'm still finding it difficult to adjust the the large numbers of boats moving after the lovely quiet time we had in and around Birmingham. I suppose it will again the usual until the weather really turns and numbers thin everywhere.

Before we left our overnight mooring I went and striped some stands of wild hops from the hedgerows. The plan is the we will dry them off and use them to make wreaths etc for Christmas. The hedges are over run with the stuff here abouts.

Last nights mooring. The canal width is reduced in width a fair bit by reeds but there are passing places spaced well.

The canal runs alongside the railway here but we didn't seem to be woken by them at all. It has plenty of Virgin Trains and lots of freight trains too. Just over the Sow Aqueduct we passed the Narrow Boat Trust Co Ltd Motor Boat 'Nuneaton' and Butty 'Brighton'. They are worked as a pair when ever possible and members can experience working a pair like in working days. 'Nuneaton' was built in Northwich and launched in August 1936 and 'Brighton' was built by Harland and Wolff in Woolwich and launched in December 1935. They both looked in very good nick.

Motor Boat 'Brighton'.

Butty 'Brighton'.

Tixall Lock is very scenic with the white painted cottage and the white rimmed bridge too. There is also an old canal crane on what must have been an old wharf. This was to be the first of five to be done today. At every one we had a boat in front of us, but also boats coming down too and that makes things easier as there is help with the paddles and the gates can be left open too.

Tixall Gatehouse.

After the lock comes the wide. The canal widens out to a small lake and on the off side is the Tixall Gatehouse. This is all that is left of the Hall that was built in the 16th Century. It is a Grade 1 listed building. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here. There is a stable near by. The Hall itself was demolished in 1927. There are extensive moorings along the Wide and even at 1130 there were lots moored up there as it is very popular.

We passed four boats  moving in the Wide and each seemed to come close to the tow path where I was hoping to go right out to the other side and 'experience' the feeling of space. Next time! I was hoping to be able to carry out a round turn, just for fun.

The sun had been trying all the time but was dull as we came up to Great Haywood Junction. There was the usual scrum at the Junction with four boats taking or waiting for water. As I remember it is quite a slow tap there too. We now left the Staffs. and Worcester Canal and were back on the Trent and Mersey Canal and heading North. The locks came well spaced out but we still seemed to meet folks at the locks and the boats kept coming past. The obligatory meeting at bridges and bends occasional happened too. The day had got dull now and as we approached Stone it was spotting with rain. We moored up below the lock on pins and as we got inside it started to rain in earnest, so our timing was good for a change.

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