Sunday, 21 January 2018

Overwinter Cruise - Week 12

Sunday 14th January - Great Haywood

Today we stayed at Great Haywood and did the Bluebell Walk the other way round - along the towpath to Little Haywood, through the Bluebell Wood and back through the Shugborough Estate.  The river was back to normal levels and we were able to follow the path completely without deviating because of flooding.  We walked around the house which is looking a little sad from the outside, but has recently been taken over by the National Trust and there is lots of evidence of work being done on the parkland.

Monday 15th January - Great Haywood

A very wet and dreary day enhanced by beautiful rainbows over the junction.

I walked Toby along the canal towpath and managed to slip over in the mud on the way back - everything in the washing machine including Toby's coat!

Tuesday 16th January - Great Haywood to Handsacre

We have made a move today, as the weather has improved and we fancied a change of scene.  We took the boat to Rugeley and moored up beside the Tesco and did an essentials shop before putting on water at the Ash Tree and then carrying on to Handsacre.  We winded the boat and moored up by the winding hole.  

We treated ourselves to a meal in the Olde Peculiar as it is one of our favourite pubs and very good it was too!  The night was disturbed by heavy rain and hail so didn't sleep very well.

Wednesday 17th January - Handsacre to Wolseley Bridge

We are beginning our journey back to Great Haywood, but in the village of Handsacre 
is a very pleasant looking bungalow for sale with canalside mooring for your boat.  How handy would that be?

We moored up at Wolseley Bridge so we could visit the craft centre and the Wolseley Centre.  I found some lovely chunky wool to make a throw out of and then we walked around the Wolseley Centre, run by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.  Lovely walks through 26 acres of land beside the River Trent.

We spotted our first snowdrops of the season...

paddled through the splash bridge...

and wobbled along the play trail, clutching my wool!

Another disturbed night with very strong winds that sounded very scary, but fortunately didn't do us any damage, although it did bring trees down across the canal in other areas.

Thursday 18th January - Wolseley Bridge

We are staying another day here, and decided to explore the Wolseley Estate and Cannock Chase.  In the end we opted against Cannock Chase because of the Alabama Rot which affects dogs and has killed several dogs in the last few weeks.

Wolseley Estate was very pleasant, wide open spaces and lovely views especially with the blue skies...

but not the most friendly of places!  Fortunately for us Toby is as good on the lead as he is off it so he enjoyed his walk as much as we did!

A beautiful oak tree standing proud in the middle of the field!

After a hot drink in the local pub we returned to the boat, washed Toby's paws, a precaution against Alabama Rot, and spent the rest of the day quietly on the boat.

Friday 19th January - Wolseley Bridge to Great Haywood

Today we made the short journey, 2 miles and 2 locks, back to Great Haywood.  The farm at Colwich was bringing the cows in, they cross the bridge over the canal but we just missed them.

We were lucky enough to moor up back in our favourite spot with good TV signals and we spent the afternoon exploring the National Trust walks in the area.

Saturday 20th January - Great Haywood 

The weather today has deteriorated, cold and wet sleet and snow.  We decided to go out for a walk and set off along the Staffs and Worc canal as far as Tixall Lock. 

Then we turned right and headed for the village of Tixall.  This obelisk stands at the crossroads and we turned right again and headed for the Gatehouse.

The Gatehouse is all that remains of the 400 year old Tixall Estate.   It is now owned by Landmark Trust and you can rent the property and stay in it, friends of ours have done this and enjoyed a glass of champagne on the rooftop!

When the canal was being built, permission was granted for the canal to pass through the owners land so long as it was made wide enough to look like a lake from the house.  Hence Tixall Wide today!

Ella moored up by the junction, photo taken from the road bridge.

This is the end of our second week back on the boat, mixed weather and not much cruising, but next week we continue back towards Penkridge and explore the whole of the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal.

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     Week 11 - Dark Brown  Week 12 - Light Purple

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