Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Gnosall to Market Drayton/BW New Technology

We're currently moored at Market Drayton in the warm sunshine having arrived at 10:30 yesterday
(having had no decent internet connections in days!).
After I'd updated my blog on Thursday at Gnosall and taken a Tesco delivery, who should we meet on the towpath but Ann and Chas from Moore2Life, they'd moored up just the other side of the bridge from us and had just stopped for lunch and shopping.  They called in for a cuppa and a catch-up with us before setting off again to catch up with No Problem.  It was so good to see you both again, enjoy your summer travels and keep in touch!

 We eventually left Gnosall at about 2pm and cruised on to moor for a couple of nights at Norbury Junction to catch up with washing and housework, to use the boat services there and of course to eat at the pub.

On Sunday we left Norbury; we haven't been on this stretch up to Barbridge for for over 30 years and we're looking forward to doing it again. 
The weather was warm but cloudy when we left ...
... and as we passed under this iconic bridge, it started to rain, hail for a few minutes and then a heavy downpour.  We were planning to moor at bridge 47 but by bridge 44 at the Wharf Inn aquaduct we gave up and put in the pins and of course the sun then came out again!!
these were taken at 20:30, the days are so much longer now - great!!

Upped sticks on Monday morning; we're heading for Tyrley Locks, we'll stay there for one night and then move on.
chicks emerging from Mum's feathers
working boats at the old Cadbury's wharf at Knighton
very quiet today
a forest planted in straight rows in rather strange!
approaching the first high arched bridge at Woodseaves Cutting - the Nicholson's Guide states 'there is not always room to pass another craft'  We passed three but I was too anxious about getting past the first one to get the camera for a picture!!
this was the second one - the boater commented on our boat name and pointing to his cap informed us that he had been having a drink with Elvis Presley's lead guitarist over the weekend ??
oh noooooo...  another one! and he didn't see us till he came out of the bridge hole!
cooo.... that was close!
and then we were at Market Drayton.
we took a walk down the locks to see what we were in for tomorrow -
I really like this picture of the top lock through the bridge
Up bright and early on Monday  (taken at 07:15) it looks to be the start of a good days cruising
Tyrley Locks are rather pretty .....
...... with the trees meeting overhead
BW's new technology - looking for a water leak!!  I wonder if this job is well paid?

it must be!!
This morning we walked into town for Market Day with the camera - some very old buildings
built in 1653 - in the alley you can see, was a small sign which read -
Back entrance to Sandbrook Vaults - Adults Only - wonder what went on in there then!!

No. 27 opposite the Vaults
I think it reads 'Da veli vesk erkon est - but I can't find a translation - anyone help?
St Mary's Church
Lady Chapel
a very imposing monument.
We'll be upping sticks tomorrow and heading for Adderley Locks.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

It's been a while since my last update - been going over old ground from Great Haywood through Penkridge, Cross Green, Autherley Junction and onto the Shropie up to Wheaton Aston and are currently moored at Gnosall and the internet connections along the way have not been good.

These are a few pictures I've taken along the way -

The days are getting warmer but the mornings have been very cold Saturday 17th April
was minus 1 at 06:45 ...
... when I took these at our mooring between bridges 7 and 8 near Brewood.
We picked up our daughter-in-law and grandchildren at Brewood and took them up to Wheaton Aston.  There we met up with friends of theirs and continued on the High Onn and back.  It was a wonderfully warm and most enjoyable day.

We were moored by the Hartley Arms on Tuesday 20th when I saw these 11 gorgeous chicks,
they couldn't have been more than a day or so old

sorry there are so many, but they are adorable!!
 ... and the sunset was spectacular when the it was cooling down very quickly in the late afternoon
(taken on George's phone camera)
Wednesday 21st saw us heading off again after taking on board fuel (59.9p)
from the new wharf at bridge 19
it was another sunny day but the wind on our faces was really cold
herons are usually very territorial so we were surprised to see these two together
after the Easter holidays the canal was so much quieter
older chicks take a walk along the towpath with mum
.. and whose that we spy?  None other than Sue and Vic taking in the sun's rays on No Problem - it was great to meet up again - hopefully one day we will meet whilst moored up and and can exchange more than a few words in passing!  Have a great summer on the Severn and in London.  We won't forget to visit that chippy in Skipton!!
looking back down the very narrow cutting just before entering Cowley Tunnel.
Due to very shallow sides three times we were unsuccessful in mooring during the last half mile or so and we eventually put in the pins in Gnosall just before bridge 34.
Today (Thursday 22nd) was another very cold morning so we stayed under the duvet a bit longer and when we did surface we walked into the village. Like Wheaton Aston the locals are so friendly, always greeting us with a smile and hello or good morning.
 We spent a very interesting hour looking around St Lawrence Church Gnosall - well worth a visit.
(taken on George's phone camera)
sorry, sorry I know, another duckling, but isn't he/she just loverly???????

Friday, 9 April 2010

Our 2010 Summer Cruising

Our plan is to go to York.

Bearing in mind that Rock n Roll is 62' the route we'll take is :-

continue down the Staffs and Worcester to Autherley Junction and north on the Shropshire Union to Barbridge where we'll cross country on the Middlewich to join the Trent and Mersey to Preston Brook

From there we access the Bridgewater Canal Main Line to Stretford Waters Meeting and the Leigh Branch to the Leeds and Liverpool (Leigh Branch) to Wigan and the 20 locks north, joining the Main Line and cruising through Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Skipton, Keighley, Bingly 5 Rise on to Leeds.

The Aire and Calder Navigation (main line) will come next up to Selby and from there onto the tidal River Ouse to Naburn and the non-tidal into York.

We love to cruise slowly - we hate having to stick to deadlines and will probably take several months to reach the beautiful city of York, on what we describe as our first epic journey - especially as we have not done rivers before!

So if there are any boaters out there who have done all or parts of this journey in the past and can give us any advice on moorings, services, places to visit and others that we should not stop at, or tips on cruising the 17 miles of commercial waterways, we would be very glad to hear them. If anyone is doing this, or part of this journey this year we would love to hear from you too!

First Times

Saturday 27th March - Friday 9th April 2010
This has been the first time since cruising on RnR that we have really had a bad case of 'Cabin Fever'! We've been in the Great Haywood area since mid-December and we are dying to get away.  Don't get me wrong we have nothing against this area but we have never stayed anywhere for more than a few days before!
During the above dates we've walked around Shugborough grounds on numerous occassions, had our son and his family on board for dinner, George has caught up with some jobs on the boat, and we've had a trip to Rugeley and back.  We used to live in Rugeley some 35 years ago and for the first time since leaving we took a walk 'down our road' and up to Etching Hill which used to be our dog walking area at that time.  We were very disappointed as the top of the hill was covered in broken glass bottles, we were lucky to get Molly down without her cutting her pads.
this was the first time we've seen ducklings this year!
There have been quite a few first times over the last week or so - the first blackthorn blossom, the first butterflies, celandine, dandilion, first sight of fabulous kingfishers and hopefully only the first of the warm sunshine!
George had his last dental appointment on Wednesday afternoon so we finally set off on the start of our summer journey yesterday.  First we had to fill up with water and guess who we met there - for the first time to speak to properly - Dot and Derek on Gypsy Rover - we had only waved and said hello in passing
before today - it was great spending that leisurely hour or so it took to take on water, fuel etc., swapping mooring places to make it all happen.  Hope you are feeling much better today Dot and have a bit more of an appetite - enjoy your trip back home and hope to see you again in the not too distant future.
this this morning was certainly not the first time we'd seen an early morning frost ...
... but it was a lovely sight at 07:15 just above Tixall Lock and the day soon warmed up beautifully
and the first time that we've seen a ferret on the towpath!
We are currently moored below Shutt Hill Lock (41) on the Staffs and Worc.