We now reckon that we shall be meeting our sister ship, Pas Mèche, with David and Victoria tomorrow evening. We have been converging on each other along the Trent and Mersey Canal with us travelling North and them travelling South. We are both going uphill as Stoke on Trent is at the summit of this canal.
After our lazy day on Sunday we climbed the five locks at Fradley Junction on Monday and moored just before Handsacre, close to Rugeley.
Here we are coming up in the first lock with the second one visible through the narrow bridge ahead.
This is the very famous White Swan Pub at Fradley, known as the 'Mucky Duck'. Part way up the flight of 5 locks the Coventry Canal turns off left and the pub sits right by the junction. Fradley is a major junction on the canal system but is virtually unknown outside canal circles.
On Tuesday we carried on to the next junction at Great Hayward.
This narrow section cut through solid rock was once the Armitage Tunnel. The roof was taken off in 1971 as part of moves to combat mining subsidence. Helen got off Leo here and ran ahead to make sure no boats were coming.
We stopped to do some shopping in Rugeley which boasts a Morrisons, Tesco and Aldi as well as an excellent DIY supplies shop. Just North of the town the canal crosses the River Trent on an aqueduct. Here we are approaching it.
Poor Christina Collins was murdered near here in 1839 when using a canal boat to travel from Preston Brook near Runcorn to London. Some of the crew were executed and some transported.
Here is the view from the aqueduct looking down to a much smaller River Trent than we had last cruised on at Alrewas.
This was our first family of goslings seen this year. We reckon these were just a day or two old.
Colwich Lock breaks a run of nine miles without a lock. Locks now become more frequent as the canal climbs into the upper Trent Valley.
This is Leo moored on Tixall Wide. There was plenty of bird life here and we thought we would be woken early by geese, but we managed to sleep through the dawn chorus.
A surprise yesterday evening was a hot air balloon coming up from the grounds of Shugborough Hall to the South of the Canal. The evening was dead still so it didn't move far.
This morning we were all ready to leave our mooring when a fuel boat, Auriga, came past. We hailed her and took the opportunity to fill with diesel. The fuel boat came alongside and then it is just like filling the car. Just over 100 litres, not bad for nearly three weeks cruising.
|Filling with Diesel|
Today we returned to Great Haywood junction and turned North back on the Trent and Mersey.
A Grey Heron seen beside the canal.
Helen is adding to the milepost which marks the half way point on the Trent and Mersey with Shardlow and Preston Brook both 46 miles from this point. These characteristic mileposts are a feature of this canal.
There are four deep locks in Stone which lift the canal a total of 40 feet in half a mile. Here we are in the second one. The fine building behind was a workhouse but was later turned into a hospital.
This is the third lock in Stone and to the right you can see a tunnel under the road. This was for the use of the canal horses in crossing under the road.
We are moored tonight just above the four locks in Stone. Having spoken to David this evening it looks likely that we shall meet at the Westport Lake just above Stoke on Trent tomorrow evening. We will then pair up first to explore the Caldon Canal which we cruised in 2012 but David and Victoria have yet to enjoy.