Thursday, November 24, 2011

Longer day today

We had a quiet day yesterday. I had a few jobs to do, topping up the batteries, filling the stern tube greaser, mopping out the bilge. Just everyday maintenance tasks. Meg and I had a long walk around the fishing ponds on the other side of the canal in the morning.

It was a fine, sunny morning as we set off this morning, but alas it wasn’t to last. The cloud built up and a cool breeze started blowing soon after lunchtime. Still no rain though. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, looking at the levels in the waterways. The old gravel pits which form the basis of Branston Water Park are a good foot down.

Past the Water Park moorings.

SAM_0001 Water Park Moorings
These have been set aside by BW for winter moorings. For a fee, you can moor for 4 months, from the end of October till March. Obviously some spots are more popular than others….

First lock of the day, TattenhillSAM_0004 Tattenhill Lock
Don’t know what Meg has spotted….

In the garden of one of the cottages is a pair of plummer blocks straddling the bywash.  These would have carried a rotating shaft or axle, bridging the stream. Maybe supporting a waterwheel at some time?

Site of a small waterwheel perhaps?SAM_0005 Tattenhill Cottages
A closer look at the photo shows that they’re not bolted down. I guess just a bit of industrial garden furniture.

Mags modelling her warm hat, courtesy of Ann on NB Moore2LifeSAM_0002 Mags Hat

We pushed on, alongside the busy A38, up Barnton and Wychnor Locks and upstream on the short but pretty river section below Alrewas.

Away from the road at last, on the river towards past WychnorSAM_0006 Alrewas River Section

Wychnor is now just a couple of farms and a church, but used to be a bit larger. It was recorded in the Doomsday Book of 1087 as having 7 peasant families working the land, owned by Robert of Stafford. There was a mill and a manor house, neither of which remain, but there are indications of a large structure, presumably the manor, with adjacent fishponds, alongside the river south of the church. The outline would have been a defensive moat.
A later 18c hall was built to the north and west of the village, by the Levett family of Lichfield. Substantially “improved” in the 19c, the Grade II listed hall is now a country club.

We arrived at Alrewas Lock, to be waved into the chamber by an angler working off the lock landing. he opened the gates for us! Result! I reckon he didn’t want me pulling onto the landing and disturbing the fish….
We’d been leap-frogging a hire boat (NB Henry IV) since Barton, and there was no-one coming down, so I opened a paddle to empty the lock ready for them. We pulled onto the water point a couple of hundred yards on, and I saw the angler open up the lock for the hire boat too. Result number 2!
We pulled off the water point and followed Henry IV into Alrewas, but they pulled onto the nearest moorings while we toddled on, up Bagnall Lock on the other side of the village and moored just past the road bridge.

I’m going for a run up to Fradley and back in the morning to check out the mooring situation. If there’s space we’ll move up there, ready for getting through the repaired locks higher up, due to re-open in the afternoon.

Had a phone call at around 4 this afternoon, from George and Carol (NB Rock’n’Roll) wondering where we were and how soon we’d catch them up at Gailey. They’d Chas and Ann aboard (NB Moore2Life) and it sounded like they’d made an early start on the vino! We’ll have to get a move on if they’ve started the Christmas parties already!

Locks 5, miles 5¾


Carol said...

Just to put the record straight - neither myself, Ann or Charles had started on the vino!!! We thought we'd wait until you arrive!!

Geoff and Mags said...

I notice you didn't mention George....