Joined July 2016 Message
  • Day14


    October 30, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    We split up this morning, with Ben and I departing the boat at 8am for an hour's walk to the Shugborough National Trust estate. Mum and Kev stayed behind with the boat to visit the antique shops in Wolseley and buy a rabbit of their own.

    The walk up the canalside in the early morning sunshine was lovely, and we visited the Essex Bridge at Greater Haywood, the oldest surviving packhorse bridge in the UK apparently. We took some time to play with our cameras taking photos at the bridge before walking through to the estate itself. COVID regulations meant an annoying myriad of one way or locked routes (annoying only as it seemed to serve little purpose to the prevention of spreading the disease), but we walked through and up to Hadrian's Arch under a threatening sky. Here we played some more with the cameras and then walked back down to the walled garden. The Head Gardener's house is stunning, if sadly disused, but the produce here was extensive and we took some deliciously fresh blackberries.

    A call from mum informed us not only that they had moored up near us, but also that Kev had managed to fall in to the canal (although understanding why took work given her hysterical laughter!).

    We wandered up the canal to the Canalside Farm Shop and Cafe where we had a well-deserved breakfast. The farm shop sells the most lovely looking food so I bought a few cakes for the final day before we went back to the boat to head for Stone.
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  • Day13


    October 29, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    Before we left Fradley, I cooked a full English to set us up for the day, and headed for the first lock. From here, rather than jumping back on the boat, mum and I walked canalside for about three miles, detouring through Handsacre and Armitage to a fantastic bakery.

    We pushed on to Wolseley where we popped back into the antique shops and I purchased a superb wooden jointed rabbit (and mum bought a dragonfly which would caught controversy!). At the Wolseley Arms pub, we had a few drinks and some dinner, before returning to the boat to work through the gin we had brought with us but were yet to touch!
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  • Day12

    Fradley Junction

    October 28, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    We left Kingsbury after a lazy morning, knowing we didn't need to get too far today. The morning was beautifully autumnal, albeit a little cold but at least with sunshine. We trundled back past the RSPB wetland reserve and under Drayton footbridge where I hopped off to take some photos of its towers and spiral staircases. I walked to Fazeley Junction to catch up with the boat through leaf-strewm towpaths of browns, yellows and reds.

    As we approached Hopwas for the fourth, and final, time, I changed into my running gear and started running for the third time alongside the rifle ranges to Whittington. From Bridge 80 we walked into town to the Dog Inn for a drink and some cake, before setting off for the final 90 minutes to Fradley Junction.

    Through the two western locks here as the sun set, we moored up for the night and popped into the Swan for some drinks and for dinner.
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  • Day11


    October 27, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    The weather was terrible today: at best, grey and overcast and at worst, heavy rain. Thankfully we hadn't planned to go far. A lazy start meant we could have breakfast in the Red Lion before moving just half hour down the road from where we walked to a retail park and a garden centre. A little further again brought us to Fazeley Junction where we took a right towards Birmingham for the first time, and I hopped off to do a 5km run. The weather was terrible for the first part of the run making it challenging underfoot. I slipped and fell on the bank before the weather cleared up for the final stretch, taking me to the first of the Curdworth 11 locks. A brief walk from here was the Dog and Doublet pub for a restorative first-run pint!

    In the evening, we walked along the River Tame into Kingsbury, popping into the Royal Oak for a drink and the Coop to buy tea. Darkness had descended by the time we walked back but the bright moon made the river and water park look fabulous as it reflected off the water.
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  • Day10

    Hopwas Again

    October 26, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Through Fradley and back onto the Coventry Canal was fairly uneventful. At Whittington, I jumped off the boat and did a 5km past the military ranges, which was painfully slippery underfoot. 5km took me to Hopwas where I holed up in the Red Lion waiting for Ben to catch up in the boat. We ate tea in the pub before retiring for the evening.Read more

  • Day10

    National Memorial Arboretum

    October 26, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    With the clocks going back, we were up in more than good time for the day's plan. So we breakfasted before walking out, through Alrewas and over the A38 to the National Memorial Arboretum, which none of us had visited before. We arrived rather early and so had to wait 20 minutes for it to open, wandering around the Dunkirk memorial at the front.

    Once in, we took a route past the big memorial, to the Shot at Dawn Memorial (where a plaque to James Crozier was notable), and on to the Pegasus Bridge memorial. The site was huge and well kept, whilst the sun graced us with its presence for the during of our visit; it had rained as we waited for the doors to open.

    We returned to the boat aiming for Hopwas for tea, with the spectre of an afternoon run through the military ranges looming!
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  • Day9

    Alweras Again

    October 25, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    We left Willington reasonably early, aiming for Alweras by mid-afternoon. We therefore skipped Burton once again deciding that the half hour walk to town wouldn't yield any different shops to a normal town. Instead we pushed on, and about 6km outside of Alrewas mum and I jumped off the boat and went for a run. I had to stop twice to stretch my aching knees and nearly gave up at Wychnor Lock, but stretched again and pushed on, running along the Trent and over the beautiful footbridges into Alrewas...where we continued running to the nearest pub! We had a few drinks and some starters at the George and Dragon, before Ben and I wandered off on a tour of Alweras under a beautiful sunset.Read more

  • Day8

    Willington in the Rain

    October 24, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    A breakfast of sausage sandwiches to stave off the hangover (for Ben!), before mum and Kev joined us on board at about 8am. We pushed off, aiming to reach Willington for the night.

    The day was pretty miserable: grey skies and drizzle, occasionally turning over to pouring rain, made for cold and wet driving conditions. Having stopped at Aston and Weston on the way down, and knowing there was little there, we just pushed on for most of the day, weather be damned.

    At Weston Lock, I hopped off and ran 5km to Swarkestone Lock, before rejoining the boat for the final stint. The weather held just long enough for me to complete my run then at Swarkestone the heavens opened and we got absolutely sodden. Pulling into Willington was more of a challenge due to the weather and lack of mooring points, so we land anchored in the rain before turning the boat into a massive drying room!

    A quick wardrobe change later, we visited the Green Man in Willington for some food and drink, before retiring for a relatively early night.
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  • Day7


    October 23, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 11 °C

    Shardlow to Kegworth was a pretty uneventful run, being essentially where we live. Just beyond Shardlow, we went through the Derwent Lock which was the first double-wide lock we'd been through with another boat. It was interesting to travel through some of the junctions where canals meet the River Trent and Derwent, and indeed to pilot the boat down the wide stretches of the Trent, but pretty much from Shardlow onwards we could always see the power station on the horizon as we drew nearer and nearer to home. We stopped briefly at Sawley to pick up provisions before heading through Sawley lock which is a hydraulic lock (thankfully a Canal and River Trust person was there otherwise I think I'd have been turning the windlass and wondering why nothing was happening for ages!).

    As we came down the final stretch we were greeted by a C-17 doing circuits over East Mids Airport much to Ben's delight.

    We moored up just the other side of the Kegworth flood lock, cooked curry for tea and decamped to the Anchor to meet mum and Kev for some drinks...a few too many judging by Ben's hangover the next morning!
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  • Day7


    October 23, 2020 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    It rained once again through the night and the rain stayed with us for the rest of the morning. We went through the Weston Lock and on to Aston-on-Trent for a very brief stop (being too early for pubs and little else there).

    At Shardlow, we moored up for a walk of the area and a look at a house we liked that was on the market. Shardlow is apparently the furthest inland port and the buildings in the area are often renovated warehouses, mills or workers cottages. They are beautiful even when abandoned and we spent a fanciful half hour talking about how we could renovate one before retiring to the Clock Warehouse for a pint and some lunch out of the rain.
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