The last time we moored here we were bombed by acorns from the overhanging oaks, this time it was twigs and leaves blown across the canal from the trees on the other side! I went out with Meg at not long after 11:00 last night and they were creaking and groaning as the strong wind lashed them. We’ve no wood on the roof at the moment, but I wasn’t sure if that would still be the case in the morning!
We had a bit of an unsettled night, regularly woken as a larger missile bounced off the roof. But this morning the wind had dropped a bit and it was bright and sunny.
We moved off at around 10:00, and met another boat not far around the corner. We had to deal with the wind in our faces, the steerer on NB Blue Moon had the low sun in his.
NB Blue Moon braving the wind and the sun.
We swung west into the shelter of the built up area around Handsacre and Armitage, past the “Sanitary Ware” (toilet to us plebs) factory, and through the Armitage “Tunnel”
This was originally a short tunnel, then it was opened out due to subsidence. Since then realignment and widening of the A513 crossing above has just about reinstated it’s tunnel status.
Coming out into daylight again, The Hawkesyard Estate is on the left.
Hawkesyard Hall, with St Thomas’ Priory above and behind.
The hall dates back to the 14c, but alterations and extensions in the 17c and 18c leave little of the original. The Priory was built in 1898 by Dominican monks who inherited the estate in 1894. The hall fell into disrepair when the monks left the estate, but has now been restored and is a conference and events venue, with a golf course.
We filled up the water tank at the end of the long term moorings, then motored into Rugeley, stopping on the town moorings to visit Morrison’s for provisions.
You know when you’re coming into Rugeley….
This coal-fired power station produces 1000 MW of electricity. Commissioned in 1972, it replaced the earlier, smaller Rugeley A. The fuel was supplied by conveyor directly from Lea Hall Colliery till it’s closure in 1990. Now coal comes in by rail. It gets through 1.6 million tonnes of the black stuff every year, leaving a ¼ million tonnes of ash to be disposed of.
Although we’re in the Trent valley, we’ve not seen anything of the river since Alrewas. But just out of the town the canal crosses the river at Brindley Bank, and it remains close at hand all the way to Stoke on Trent.
Trent Aqueduct at Brindley Bank.
The brick bridge in the distance carries the newish Rugeley Bypass.
Looking down on the river
We pulled over a little further on, near Taft Bridge. It’s a popular spot in the summer, but now it’s winter…..
Taft Bridge moorings, not a soul to be seen.
The wind dropped quite suddenly this afternoon, so it’s still and peaceful now. With the clear skies the temperature is dropping as well. Good chance of a frost tonight.
Locks 0, miles 6½