Sunday, 17 December 2017

Overwinter Cruise - Week 10

Sunday 10th December - Fradley Junction

Well, as I said at the end of last week, we were keen to experience colder weather and we have certainly got it.  Heavy snow fell over night turning our view into a winter wonderland!

Monday 11th December - Fradley Junction

Fradley Lake looks stunning in the snow and ice, the ducks are sliding over the ice and swimming in any small patch of water!

In the afternoon we walked through the snow to South Fradley where there is a new Coop to serve the new housing estates that have cropped up.

Tuesday 12th December - Fradley Junction

This morning we woke again to sub zero temperatures with the canal frozen around the boat - note the perfect reflection in the ice.

We had a lovely surprise, as Laura phoned to say that they were only 40 minutes away and could come and see us.

We were delighted to see Laura, Amy, Jen and Ade and we enjoyed a smashing lunch together in the Swan Inn.

Wednesday 13th December - Fradley Junction to Armitage

Today we decided to try and move the boat on towards Great Haywood.  The canal was still frozen in places but we thought we could do it.  Having cracked our way up through 2 locks we abandoned the trip and moored up again above Shade House Lock.

Here we met a hire boat that was going our way and needed to be back in Great Haywood by tomorrow. We let them go first and followed in the path they cut through the ice.   This all worked beautifully until they broke down having picked up a tyre around their propeller!

We carried on until Armitage and The Plum Pudding moorings and decided to call it a day and moored up for the night. 

The canal is above a road which was incredibly noisy, so we planned to stay as short a time as possible.

Thursday 14th December - Armitage to Great Haywood

We stopped on our way to put on water, then continued on to Great Haywood.

We moored up for the night at our favourite spot just before the junction and visited the farm shop to stock up on supplies.  

Christmas decorations on the roof.

Friday 15th December - Great Haywood

Today we have made the decision to abandon all attempts to get to Market Drayton for Christmas.  Instead we have arranged for the boat to be moored in Penkridge, with our boatbuilders who have relocated there, over the Christmas period and Laura and Amy are going to collect us by car and return us to Market Drayton.

We spent a lovely afternoon walking across the Essex Bridge, through the Shugborough Estate, along the River Trent and back along the canal from Little Haywood.

The river Trent has officially gone into flood, meaning that the River section at Alrewas is now closed to all navigation.

We spotted this lone duck on the canal and I think I have identified it as a female Red Breasted Merganser.  Not long after this shot it dived under the water and disappeared!

Its a hard life living on the boat and Toby was exhausted by the time we got back and he put himself to bed!

Saturday 16th December - Great Haywood

A very cold night and woke to once again being frozen in on the canal.  Good job we are staying here today.  We spent a quiet day on the boat, keeping warm with the woodburner and catching up with paperwork.

On Monday we shall move on to Teddesley Boatyard where our boatbuilders, Bourne Boatbuilders, have moved to.  We are going to moor the boat with them over the Christmas period and return to the house with Laura and Amy.

How did we cope with the cold weather?  Well, being iced in meant you had to sit it out and wait for the canal to defrost and that can be deceptive, moving through ice no matter how thin is very noisy and will damage the blacking on the boat, it is very beautiful and a delight to walk in, the woodburner combined with the diesel central heating keeps the boat nicely warm and none of this has put us off, we would definitely do it again!

Map Key   Week 1 - Brown   Week 2 -  Purple   Week 3 - Dark Blue   Week 4 - Light Blue
                   Week 5 - Green    Week 6 Olive Green   Week 7 - Yellow  Week 8 - Orange  

                   Week 9 - Pink      Week 10 - Dark Pink


  1. I hope Toby enjoyed the snow as much as Poppy! The scenery looks incredible!

  2. Hi Sally, thank you for your comments. Toby eventually enjoyed the snow but initially he was bemused by this stuff falling around him and was not particularly impressed with it. Then he took to rubbing his face and rolling around in it, which meant the snow froze onto his fur and he then did look very strange!! Yes it was a real winter wonderland, very pretty. Have a good Christmas and New Year, xxx