Since the first day of Spring we seem to have gone back to winter! Cold wind, sleet and hail, frosts at night.
We set off yesterday with the intention of getting to the Trent and Mersey at Fradley Junction, but after an hour of the cold wind, and my right cheek going numb under the onslaught of sleet and hail, I called it a day just short of the new Kings Orchard Marina.
Leaving Whittington, quite pleasant for a start…
Huddlesford Junction, the sun has gone, the clouds are building and we’ve had one squally shower.
I nearly stopped on the moorings near The Plough, but decided to push on, hoping for an improvement that never materialised, and we were moored up less than a mile further on.
As it turned out the weather did improve through the afternoon, but we decided to stay put anyway.
We had a sharp frost last night, but it left us with a bright, sunny day, cold in the wind but dry. We got away just before 11:00, past Kings Orchard Marina and then Streethay Wharf.
Kings Orchard Marina, taken from the towpath bridge over the access channel
There’s a couple of dozen boats in there, it looks like there’s still some work to do to finish off the rest of the finger pontoons.
The moorings on the wide next to Streethay look pleasant in the morning sun.
Not seen much of Andrew Denny recently…
Streethay Wharf, always busy
Leaving Streethay the canal runs alongside the busy A38 for a while, before looping away and then ducking under it at Bell Bridge.
Bell Bridge, with limited headroom.
The traffic didn’t seem to be bothering this dozing mum-to-be.
Heading towards Fradley we spotted our first brood of ducklings.
We isolated two panicky youngsters on the other side of the boat, plaintive cries answered by their mum…
They can certainly shift, even at this age.
We were surprised to see very few boats moored just before the junction, it’s usually fairly busy along here.
Approaching Fradley Junction
We filled the water tank here, while that was going on I took the rubbish and a loo tank around to the services, then, all done, Mags took Seyella through the swing bridge and around onto the Trent and Mersey.
Mags brings Seyella around at Fradley Junction with aplomb
Middle Lock was almost full, so I topped it off for a boat coming down before we went up ourselves.
The plan was to moor above Shadehouse Lock, but it looks like all those that weren’t moored below the junction have moved up to here…
Coming up Shadehouse Lock, full moorings above
These are popular moorings anyway, better than the “goldfish bowl” moorings between the locks further down.
So Plan B was to go up Woodend Lock and moor on another pleasant spot just above the lock landing, but that was occupied too, but we did squeeze into a bit of bank a little bit further on.
Moored above Woodend Lock, NB Medoc (behind) has pinched our favourite spot
We’ve got to make this most of the peace and quiet up here, come HS2 it’ll be a tad noisier…
I took Meg for a walk towards Kings Bromley, and got talking to another boater for a while opposite Ravenshaw Wood. Coming back I saw that another boat had managed to get in a little bit ahead of us; closer and I thought it looked familiar…
It was, Mo and Ness (NB Balmaha) had turned up, and were having a brew with Mags. They’re coming round again this evening for an odd drink or two…
Locks 2, miles 6