We set off as planned on Tuesday 8th but as we only started going around 5 pm it was just a short evening cruise out of the marina and along the Trent and Mersey Canal just outside Willington. It was nice to be on the move again after Leo has spent the winter in the Marina.
|Backing off our mooring|
|Marina with Willington Power Station behind|
Wednesday started with a flat set of batteries. Oh dear. This should not happen particularly as we have installed a solar panel and had a charger fitted (so the boat can plug into the mains and charge its batteries) over the winter. Anyway with no fridge going it was on with the engine and we set off fairly early. We met friends, Rowan and Martin near Burton on Trent and had a lovely day with them visiting a pub with Italian food for lunch and doing a walk round the lake at Branston Water Park. There was also some boating as we ascended the five locks round Burton.
|Approaching Dallow Lock, our first of 2013|
|Helen and Rowan working the lock at Branston|
Once through Wychnor lock we were effectively on the River Trent for a short way and, as it was raining and past 6 o'clock we moored here for the night. After dinner on board we walked along the canal into Alrewas which we remembered from last Autumn. A pretty village with a couple of delightful thatched cottages. Not having brought a torch, we did not stop for a drink as we wanted to recross the muddy patches in the path while there was still some light in the sky.
On Thursday we didn't go far, just up one lock into Alrewas and then cycled to the National Memorial Arboretum. This was only created in 1997 on old gravel workings near Alrewas. It takes its inspiration from Arlington Cemetery in the US and has memorials for casualties in the armed forces as well as civilian casualties such as a memorial to lifeboatmen and policemen killed on duty. And lots of trees have been planted, most of which also commemorate individuals. One grove records children that have died. We also saw the Bevin memorial only unveiled by the Countess of Wessex only two days earlier. This commemorates the Bevin boys, the 1 in 10 conscripts to the armed forces who instead were required to go down the coal mines during the war.
|Weir on the River Trent|
|Polar Bear Memorial|
|Memorial to Railway Workers|
In the afternoon the weather turned foul with gale force winds and rain. It was notable that only the hire boats moved during the afternoon and we also sat tight.
Friday we have been cruising during the morning, climbing up the Fradley Locks and then turning onto the Coventry Canal which is a new Canal for Leo. We had a pleasant afternoon after lunch at the Plough at Huddlesford, cycling into Lichfield. Lichfield Cathedral is unique in having three spires, two on the West front as well as one above the transept. For a relatively small city the cathedral is huge.
|A lovely memorial in the Cathedral to two sisters who died young|
|Attractive old buildings in the Cathedral Close|
|West Front showing three spires|
In the next few days we'll be working our way down to Nuneaton and then enjoying a few days exploring the Ashby Canal, which goes back North towards Ashby de la Zouch.