Tuesday, December 13, 2016

An interrupted trip to Stone

We had the weekend at Great Haywood, there’re some pleasant walks around here although the weather wasn’t exactly co-operative.

Essex Bridge over the Trent at Great Haywood.

Just here OK, Dad?
This bridge pre-dates Shugborough Hall, built towards the end of the 16th century, it’s believed by Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex (hence the name). The Devereux family were favourites of the Tudors, Robert’s great-grandfather had fought and died at Bosworth for Henry VII, and his grandfather fought in France for Henry VIII. Based in Herefordshire, they gained estates in Staffordshire by marriage, including the ruined Chartley Castle and the much more recent Chartley Manor. Robert’s hunting grounds extended out onto Cannock Chase, and the rumour is that the bridge was built to allow Elizabeth I to cross the Trent without having to use the adjacent ford during a visit to the manor.
His career didn’t end well, however. He led an unsuccessful campaign in Ireland, which displeased the Queen, and on his return was punished by being deprived of public office. Angry and desperate he led a party of armed men to force an audience with Elizabeth which failed, and he was convicted of treason and deprived of his head on Tower Green in 1601. The earldom was forfeited after the trial and conviction, but was restored by James I when he succeeded to the crown. The 3rd Earl, another Robert, was also a bit of a rebel, fighting with Parliamentary forces against Charles I. He died in 1645, and the title died with him.
The Elizabeth I connection doesn’t end there, however. Mary Queen of Scots, the thorn in the side of the English Queen, was interred at Tixall and then Chartley, before being transferred to Fotheringay Castle and her own appointment with the executioner’s axe.

Just above Essex Bridge, the Trent on the right, the Sow in the middle and the artificial channel, running from higher up the Sow and flanking ornamental gardens behind Shugborough Hall, returning on the left.IMG_2925

A fine sunset on Saturday

We set off yesterday intending to head most of the way to Stone. Up Haywood Lock (Mags’ “funny little lock”) and topped up with water at the service wharf next to the junction with the Staffs and Worcs Canal.

Haywood Lock

Great Haywood Junction, with the service wharf just beyond.IMG_2934

We left the wharf, passed under the road bridge, and there on the left was moored NB Maple Knot home to Scooby and Rita who we’ve not seen for some time.
(photo from a couple of years ago)

Of course, we had to pull in for a quick chat – which took all afternoon and ended up with us going no further! Anyway, it started to rain…

So this morning we were geared up for going to Stone- after the rain stopped of course. Rita came around to see us off, which started another marathon reminiscing session which I had to curtail else we’d never have got anywhere!

Leaving Maple Knot behind at Great Haywood

Hoo Mill, our first lock of the day.

It seems to take ages to get clear of the moorings above Great Haywood. There’s a long line from the road bridge to Great Haywood Marina, then more either side of Hoo Mill Lock. But we got there in the end.

Canal and River Services boats need mopping out, I think…IMG_2940

Hi-tech poo-bin at Weston. It’s even got instructions!

Not much to see across the Trent valley on such a gloomy dayIMG_2947

But clear enough to spot this cut-down tree below Sandon Lock!IMG_2946
I left some for any other passing boaters… It’s only willow, but it all burns.

So Plan B turned into Plan C. We’ll be mooring in busy spots in Stone and afterwards for a bit, and I wanted to get the logs cut up. So we pulled in near Burston so I could get the chainsaw out.
Of course, as soon as we’d got tied up it started raining again, and electrical appliances and rainwater don’t mix.
We stayed put, but unfortunately so did the logs on the roof. It should be fine in the morning so I’ll get them done before we go. We should get to Stone tomorrow…

Locks 4, miles 7 (2 days)


nb Chuffed said...

The chap who delivered us a load of logs at home said that if you keep willow till it is fully seasoned (which you probably won't!) it gets very hard so always split it before stacking if you will be keeping it for a while!

Geoff and Mags said...

Thanks Debby. I wondered why that stump I'd kept for the last couple of years wouldn't split!