Monday, 4 May 2015

Stafford River Link & the M6 - Sunday 3rd and Monday 4th May

Sunday 3rd May

The over night rain stopped about 9.30am so we decided we would move off and travel down the Staffs and Worcester. Suddenly out of no where several boats appeared and we ended up 4th in a queue to go through Haywood Lock. Whilst we were waiting our turn I was chatting to a Kiwi who had come over for 10 weeks and had hired a boat for 8 of those to go up to Llangollen and then down to Tewksbury to be able to come back via the River Severn. They had just lost their first windlass and popped into Anglo Welsh to get a map so lets hope they make it safely.

Whilst I was chatting Ecco sneaked off the boat and was stopped by a gentleman who it turned out was a Puppy Walker from Scotland and who knew our first Supervisor, David McKay so we had a good chat about puppy walking and our pups.

We filled with water at the junction and headed up passed Tixall Wide where again there was plenty of mooring despite it being a Bank holiday. Soon we were passing over the River Sow aqueduct and as you would expect on and S bend we met a boat coming the other way a couple of seconds after I took this photo.IMG_6016

The Staffs and Worcester is a lovely gently winding canal which in parts looks more like a river with its reed covered banks.IMG_6021

Approaching Baswich we passed this lovely mobile home site. All the units and their gardens look very well cared for and they have lovely views over the canal and valley beyond.IMG_6022

At bridge 101 where the River Penk meets the River Sow is the old Junction of the Stafford River Link. Here boats could leave the S & W and enter a lock with a nominal fall of 6ft 6in onto the River Sow and then about 1 mile upstream through a channel into the centre of Stafford. Hopefully this link will be restored in the not too distant future.IMG_6023

This is the sign post at the old Junction but now it shows the direction to River Canal Rescue’s unit which was burnt down last year when a fireworks unit next door caught fire. They were soon up and running again however.IMG_6025

The next stretch of the canal over looks the wetlands which separate the canal from the outskirts of Stafford and which are now a nature reserve.IMG_6026

We stopped for a late lunch opposite the impressive Stafford Boat Club with its super maintenance facilities in lovely sunshine but no sooner had we moored up than the heavens opened up so we decided to stay the night. Then the sun came out again and I took Ecco a walk up the hill to the new housing estate where it is possible to catch a bus every half hour into Stafford Town centre.IMG_6030

Monday 4th May

Awoke to a lovely sunny morning so headed off to the Deptmore Lock just around the corner and decided to make some distance today as the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday is not at all good,IMG_6034

A little further on we entered the village of Acton Trussel with its new houses fronting onto the canal. But across the valley is the noisy M6 and beyond that can be seen Dunston Church. IMG_6035

At Park Gate Lock we passed by Midland Chandlers Penkridge shop which was open and Teddesley Boat Company which was closed up.IMG_6036

The canal then passes under the M6 and enters the outskirts of Penkridge where we moored up for lunch and went into the village to get some provisions form Sainsburys. The village was a buzz with people and cars all because they had a Bank Holiday Market and Car Boot. We ventured into it but soon left as it was so busy and were worried Ecco would get trodden on. We of course could not resist dropping into Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe on the way back to the boat.IMG_6039

We negotiated Penkridge Lock and filled with water before motoring on to Otherton Lock where we ran side by side with the M6. We could even read the motorway signs we were that close.IMG_6043

At Rodbaston Lock we spotted this Labrador sitting in the passenger seat as proud as punch. Fortunately Ecco did not see him.IMG_6044

We found a nice sheltered spot just before Gailey Lock and Round House which used to be a Toll Keepers Watch Tower but which is now used as a canal shop selling books and nick nacks.IMG_6045

I went up to the lock to have a look around and found Phil and his wife on Nb. Lady Hester waiting to come down. They moor in our marina and were out with friends on another boat and on their way back. I helped them through the lock whilst having a good chat and then waved them on their way.


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