Sunday, 26 June 2016

Summer Cruise Week 3


Wolverley to Tixall Wide

Monday 20th June - cruised down to Kinver today, just as beautiful as before and lovely to have the opportunity to see it going the other way.  We decided to moor up further out of the village where it is significantly quieter.  Today is the longest day and it also coincides with a full moon, a once in a lifetime occasion!






Unfortunately the moon was obscured by the cloud, but at least I saw some of it!!









Tuesday 21st June - we have spent the day in Kinver with the intention of walking Kinver Edge, taking in the Rock Houses, Cookley and Whittington on the canal.  A stunning walk, about 7 miles in all.






A school party was visiting the Rock Houses, but they were not open for the general public today.














We are sitting at the county boundary between Staffordshire and Worcestershire, both feeling pretty tired!









Wednesday 22nd June - today we cruised back to Greensforge.  We had our first experience of mooring rage today.  A boat was moored up in front of the visitor moorings taking on water and when I tried to moor up they quite rudely said it was their mooring!!  We ended up on some wild mooring past the long term moorings and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet.  We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the Ashwood Nurseries and marvelling at the stunning plants and gardens.   

Thursday 23rd June - Greensforge to Bratch Locks Visitor moorings.  







At Botterham Staircase Locks we were followed by a hire boat with people from Sweden on it.  They were fascinated by our canals!!












At the bottom of the Bratch Locks we had to wait for a boat to come through and then we began our ascent.














Our lock keepers today were Mark (lock keeper) and Trevor (volunteer).  The lock keepers work a 12 hour shift, 8am to 8pm, for three days then three days off.  Sounds quite an idyllic job!










Yes, the Bratch Locks are three separate locks with ridiculously short pounds between each lock.  At busy times they put three boats up then three boats down, people have to be patient!








We moored up above the locks in a very peaceful mooring and even managed to barbecue our tea, but eat indoors!

Friday 24th June - today we have cruised to moorings just past Cross Green.  





Just after Awbridge Lock we saw two Jule's fuel boats breasted up together.









We then stopped to put fuel on ourselves at Oxley Marina just before the junction with the Shropshire Union Canal.






Today we are carrying on along the Staffordshire and Worcester towards Great Haywood.












Soon after the junction the canal enters a very narrow cutting through a solid belt of sandstone, there is only room for one boat with a few passing places should you meet another boat.  It is over half a mile long!







Moored up for the night at Cross Green, just in time as the heavens opened and we have had one thunderstorm after another!!  The joys of the English summer!

Saturday 25th June - as we left Cross Green we passed Slade Wharf, pretty canalside cottage.






Not sure what the history behind this is but I loved the vintage mangles outside the building!












We then passed the chemical works with a clear instruction not to stop or moor - a little intimidating!!!














We put water on at Gailey Wharf with the large, round toll keeper's watch-tower which now houses a canal shop.







The canal then runs alongside the M6 for just under a mile between Rodbaston Lock and Otherton Lock, a very, very noisy stretch which I dislike intensely and just want to get through as quickly as possible. 

After an unscheduled stop due to a heavy shower, we moored up on the outskirts of Penkridge and stocked up on provisions before settling down for the evening.  








We treated ourselves to a tiller pin tassel being sold from a boat along the towpath.










Sunday 26th June - today we are going from Penkridge to Tixall Wide just outside Great Haywood.  Unusually for us we made an early start as we were sure that it would rain in the afternoon and we didn't want to be cruising in the rain.  






The canal passes over the River Sow, I still marvel at water passing over water!!





A be
autiful canalside house and garden and then through the final lock before mooring up opposite the Gatehouse on Tixall Wide.







This marks the end of our third week cruising. We are now faced with a choice - the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal ends here at the junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal, and we can either go south down towards Fradley Junction or go north towards Stoke and the Harecastle Tunnel.  I wonder......


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