Well, we have. I can’t say the same for others, though. Lots of boats about, especially yesterday. I had to chuckle at one chap coming the other way. He was in such a hurry to beat us to Hademore House Bridge that he overshot the bend immediately after and went hard aground in the shallows. The irony was that I’d already backed off and was just about to wave him through anyway. And when we moored up just north of Wittington the greeting from a boater moored in front was “Welcome to Silverstone…”
Anyway, we left our mooring near the Tame aqueduct yesterday morning, and stopped after 5 minutes to take on water at Fazeley Junction.
Topping up the tank at Fazeley
There’s another tap around the corner at Peel’s Wharf, where the local CRT offices used to be. Now they’ve moved out the bins have too, although you can still empty cassette loo tanks here.
We had a steady run north out of the built up area around Tamworth, with the extensive Hopwas Hayes Wood on the horizon.
Part of it used used by the MOD as a firing range.
Hopwas is a good refreshment stop, with moorings right outside The Tame Otter…
…and opposite the Red Lion
Through Hopwas Hayes Wood
Did I mention that it’s a firing range?
From Fazeley Junction to Wittington the navigation was built by the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal Company, and, as was their preference, the bridges have names rather than numbers.
The end-to-end connection with the Coventry Canal (built by the Trent and Mersey Canal Company, but that’s another story…) occurs in Wittington, and has a marker stone at the spot.
The last bridge before Fazeley Junction is number 77, and from the Wittington marker they just picked up where they left off, Bridges 78, 79 and 80 crossing the canal in the village.
We pulled in on a pleasant spot just before Cheadles Bridge, number 81. Ha, just realised. Classic one-upmanship. Number and a name!
So yesterday was bright and warm, but clouded up later with the forecast threatening thundery showers. They didn’t materialise, but today has been overcast and sultry. We weren’t sure whether to stay or go, but I had to run the engine to put a bit of charge into the batteries so we toddled on for about 40 minutes, stopping just past Kings Orchard Marina.
We passed Huddlesford Junction on the way, where the Lichfield Canal once headed west to meet the eastern edge of the Birmingham Canal Navigations at Ogley Junction.
You’ll probably have to click on the map to enlarge it… it’s an extract from Paul Balmer’s excellent series of canal maps - https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/wr/maps.html
If there is one particular restoration project that is worthy of support, it’s got to be this one. The reopened canal would provide access to Birmingham from the east, and could be a part of several new cruising rings.
We pulled in just past the marina entrance, surprisingly on our own. It’s a pleasant spot.
Another butterfly picture, this one’s a Comma, so named because of the comma-shaped marking on the underside of the wing.
I tried to get a closer view but spooked him… Looks a bit tatty, doesn’t he, but that’s what they’re like apparently.
Fradley tomorrow, I reckon, then a day inside watching boats going past in the rain on Friday.
Locks 0, miles 7¾ (2 days)