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.
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.
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.
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.
Monday 4th May
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.
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.