Day 7 – Staying put at Fradley

Strolling up from our boat, I thought I spotted an unusual narrowboat – a steam powered one, called Tixall.


I even took a short video as they set off – mainly for the sounds!

A morning spent on chores … checking the gear box oil, checking the agglomerator (yes, we have one of those), weed hatch etc. Trying to force the mattress topper (now no longer reqd as it’s tooo hot) into a vacuum bag – such fun! Then a visit to the CRT visitor centre:

Nice, shiny, new and very clean … tried the showers (all free) – great. Lots of activity here with two cafes and the famous White Swan (or Mucky Duck) pub:

We took Toby for a decent walk along the Trent & Mersey canal … lovely wide stretch edged in magnificent rhododendrons . .

And more of those “flags”

Viv’s trying hard with her flower pix! We also saw yet another Adagio! And it was an Aqualine boat.

Quite nice – note the new trend to put the “tunnel flashes” on the stern rail

Tomorrow we head off, leaving the Coventry canal, turning left and heading up the Trent & Mersey. Aiming for bridge 72 and access to Cannock Chase and Shugborough Hall – maybe spend a few days there. Only 66 miles to the end of this section:

Day 6 – Coventry Canal End Of

Is it really only Day Six? Seems like we’ve been away and on the water road for years. Wasn’t a great place to moor (Glascote, near bridge 73) – lots of footfall. In fact we had the lot: joggers, walkers, prams, cyclists and even two motorcyclists. Plus it was very hot, again. Still up & atom, away by 0900 and thru the two locks:

Viv then took the helm as we passed over an aqueduct with the river Tame beneath:

And on past the Fazeley junction – turn left and head down the Birmingham & Fazeley canal to Brum. We continue along the scenic Coventry right to the end

The CRT offices, facilities and some long term moorings

Quite a good day for flower photos … flags or marsh irises

and rhododendrons

Through charming villages and even alongside a firing range – don’t often see signs like these

And we passed a few bridges with little lockable doors? Not sure of their use, I’m guessing they would hold the wooden sleepers to close the canal?

Most of the canal was exceptionally scenic  … even when it started to rain

This is the entrance to the Wyrley & Essington canal or Lichfield … under restoration … will make a connection to Birmingham,

And finally, in the rain, we arrive at the junction. Plans are to stay here for a few days.

Day 5 – Tamworth & Scorchio!

With a very heavy downpour last night and the forecast for sun & part cloud we set off lazily at 0930. Chugging slowly through the scenic countryside.

Past some lovely boats – I gave this one a Silver-Gilt.

We still have the scaredy dog with us but he is becoming more brave and even sits on the stern now – comfort toy in his mouth, of course.

A nice view of how lovely this stretch is – there’s the boat Victor behind us which we kept on passing.

Under the M42 and more graffiti 

Lots of daisies and other flowers …

And another Adagio, the owner said there are 33 out on the cut!

And on into Tamworth, mooring up at bridge 73. Co-op nearby plus the best access to the town. A short road walk and then into parkland and at last, the river for a cooling off – spot the happy dog!

The town looked great and the park was wonderful – well done council gardeners for a great display.

This is Tamworth castle. Formerly the capital of Mercia. We were in search of liquid refreshment … a no, no at Whetherspoons, owing to their strict no dogs policy (must write to them and complain!!), so back to the market centre and the wonderfully, old-fashioned Market Vaults … a traditional boozer with rooms that go back and back and then a garden  . .

The superb landlord, John was very ready to let us have a taster of everything (doesn’t he know that’s not wise??). They had about 8 beers on and a whole cooler of ciders. Viv had Hafod Sunrise and a Dukeries IPA. I had Oakham Akhenaten and then Jaipur. We also had lunch there – brilliant.

They had a barrel of cider into which they poured all the ends of the plastic polypins – at £2.90 a pint I had to try some – not bad! With the temp rising, we headed back to the boat – giving Toby another swim or two. Inside the boat it reached 28 degrees. I hope it just cools down …

Day 4 – Coventry Canal 8th June

Another 9-ish start to the day. This is where we leave our comfort zone of previously travelled canals and head off into the unknown. I had visions of the Coventry Canal being a bit industrial, housing estates … but we were pleasantly surprised – lots of twists and turns and lovely, rural scenery.

And some amazing properties

We went past the entrance to the Ashby Canal at Marston junction – our last trip out.

On past Nuneaton and the old British Waterways yard at Hartshill

And finally to the Atherstone flight of eleven locks – delightfully manned by CRT volunteers. The board said “Sunny & Muggy” – I asked which of them was Muggy?

John helped us through the top lock and stayed with us, working us through the first 5 locks – thanks John!

We then stopped for a re-vittling, yes only 3 days out and more supplies needed! Then on for the last 6 locks, hot & tiring work. Toby had been very good, despite his loathing of the boat that bumps.  He’s always on edge and can’t wait to jump off. He was very tired but I’d promised him a swim and one reason for getting to the end of the locks was that the river Anker comes close by – so a good cooling off for Toby! We also had a tremendous downpour.

Adagio at Atherstone bottom lock.

Day 3 – More heat & cider

A shorter day today – from All Oaks Wood to Hawkesbury Junction. It was very hot and once we’d got to the junction, we decided to stay put – have apint in the excellent Greyhound and rest in the afternoon.


A scenic drive thru the All Oaks Wood. An then under the manic M6


A strange world tis the world of canals, no one knows you’re there.


Ah, pylon city – must be approaching Coventry


Viv operates the tiny drop at the stop lock

Our final stop – just up from the water and surprisingly quiet.

I discovered that the Greyhound has a polypin of proper cider round the back, you have to ask for this – today they had Wild Dog cider by Lilley’s at 7.5%, nice.

Here’s the junction, with the Greyhound pub in the distance.  We went back for supper too!

Day Two – heatwave

0925 start again – not much planned except Viv wants to go to Idiot’s Field, sorry Elliot’s Field, in Rugby to get to an M&S, other than that we’re off on what turned out to be the hottest of day of the year so far!! Scorchio!

This was the inside temperature.

But it was a lovely day. Bit of a queue at the Hilmorten locks but then a chance to chat with the moorers. One couple from Denmark, hiring a boat for three months and the other returning their son’s reconditioned CRT work boat.

All serene at the Hilmorten Locks

And some cute young ones, probably tasty too …

Some lovely scenery, lots & lots of boaters and very, very hot!  Finally moored at the perfect site at All Oaks Wood (see blog passim) again.

The Summer Cruise – Day One

Yes, it’s Liverpool or Bust! Off we go with no real agenda or itinerary – just a date – to be at a certain bridge on the 7th July! Until then, it’s go as we please. Day One is Yelvertoft to Braunston. We had planned to get thru Braunston and moor at some nice Armco moorings just beyond the town – somewhere quiet. However our 0925 departure was a tad tardy, for when we reached the Watford filght of locks – we were in a queue & had to wait nigh on 2 hours before we even started the flight down. Viv was at the helm & Steve did all the hard work of operating the locks. We set off in fog . . couldn’t even see the top of the wind turbine

But the sun soon came out and it really did heat up, Summer at last?

Look our boat is sooooooo big it doesn’t fit in the frame . .

Viv’s at the helm – slightly apprehensive but very competent

A view looking up the flight of staircase locks

A nasty turn here but Viv did this better than me!

Finally, after a long day but a very pleasant one, we passed on thru Braunston and reached the secluded mooring.

Liverpool or bust!

Well, things are gathering momentum here. The diesel tank is topped off, water tank full, gin/wine/scotch all loaded. And so, Sunday is the day set for the Summer cruise. Two or three months out of the cosy marina and off to Liverpool. We’ve a week booked for mid-July, so a casual chug along the canals in that direction.

It’s June!

Yes, it’s the 1st of June today and the fire’s alight – only 12 degrees yesterday with gales and rain – more of the same today and tomorrow. Reminds me of a certain song . . 

Poor Toby – overdid his walk yesterday – starting to give a painful squeak when he gets up, must be his hips …  didn’t move at all this morning … woe .   got moving when it was time for grub, so that’s OK.