Yesterday we came up the last of the Fradley Locks, and Woodend too, taking us up onto the ten-mile long lock-free pound to Colwich. There are two other long pounds on the Trent and Mersey, the summit pound from Etruria to the top of the Red Bull flight is just over 5½ miles, with nearly 1¾ of those spent in the dark under Harecastle Hill, and at the northern end of the canal there’s 17 miles of lock-free cruising from Middlewich to Dutton Stop Lock, taking in two more tunnels.
A bit dull, but very mild as we come up the Fradley Locks
I got a bit warm, maybe I should have got my shorts back out of hibernation!
No point doing the lottery any more; Shade House, at the top of the locks, has finally sold. Mags always fancied living here.
Woodend Lock takes you up onto the long pound. I wonder how many boats have been through the brick arch of the tail-gate bridge?
The recesses in the brickwork were for the ends of the balance beams, but now there are ugly but long-lasting steel gates fitted, with cranked beams.
Moored above Woodend, and the sun has come out, raising the temperature to a balmy 14°. Wow!
We had a band of rain move through overnight, but it had cleared up by the time we got going this morning.
Leaves were always going to be a problem as we passed through Ravenshaw Wood. They seem to form a ball around the prop, slowing progress.
Rhododendrons are taking over in the woods. All very nice when they flower in the spring, but they take light and nutrients from native species.
It’s going to take a major operation to clear this lot out! Brought over from Asia in the 18th century as a decorative shrub, it’s fine when cultivated but a nuisance when left to grow unchecked.
Kings Bromley Mill and wharf…
…and Kings Bromley Marina
Acorn moorings and Bridge 55
Some years ago, on a blustery autumn evening, we moored here and were kept awake by the bombardment of acorns falling from the overhanging oak trees!
Good moorings at Handsacre, handy for two pubs…
Not a wisp of smoke or steam from Rugeley Power Station, it closed 6 months ago.
The latest casualty of the Government’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, this coal-fired plant had been generating electricity for 40 years. Remaining coal burning facilities are reliant on imported fuel, as we’ve closed the pits too! And the shortfall in power on the National Grid is made up from France, produced using nuclear power, potentially the worst polluting source of them all. After all, we’ve had three major accidents on three continents –Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and most recently Fukushima.
One thing I find frustrating is that while we’re attempting to meet our goals to reduce the impact of Climate Change (and putting lots of skilled workers on the dole…), the United States has just elected a President who believes global warming is a Chinese hoax! "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." And the Chinese come to international summits on the issue, bow and smile politely and then go home and do just what they want. I despair…
Narrow section near Bridge 59.
You can’t go through Armitage without taking a photo of the factory…
…and it’s production!
Well I can’t, anyway!
There’s an awkward, unsighted bend alongside the railway, then a little further on is Armitage Tunnel-that-was, then wasn’t, and now is (almost) again.
It was built as a tunnel, but instability caused it to be opened up into a shallow cutting. Now, with the widening of the Rugeley Road, it’s almost back to being a tunnel again.
We were heading into Rugeley, planning to stop near Tesco to do a substantial shop to top up the cupboards. But Mags said “Haven’t we had a Tesco delivery along here?” as we came past the moored boats at Spode House. What a good idea, so we pulled in and arranged another for tomorrow morning. Anyway, it’s better here than in town. There’s less foot traffic, although you can hear the road. And it’s sunny!
We’ll push across to the water point in time to meet Tescoman in the morning.
Since last post – Locks 4, miles 6