Friday, May 04, 2018

Heading up the Trent valley

Yesterday we left the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and joined the Trent and Mersey, turning left at Great Haywood Junction.

Leaving Tixall Wide

Across the Trent at Great Haywood…

Great Haywood Mill was once powered by a water wheel, the water taken from the Trent by a mill-stream a little further upstream.

…and approaching the junction.

The junction is always busy, boats queue to get onto the service wharf from three directions. But we’d filled up the previous day so could cruise serenely past. We were also lucky to turn out onto the T&M a couple of minutes before a boat coming up, so had first dibs at Hoo Mill Lock.DSCF3195
Amazingly the lock was empty! Usually this and Colwich Lock to the south, being the first encountered after leaving the popular moorings at the junction, tend to have queues. But not today…

Had we been a little later, however, it would have been a different story. By the time we had risen up the chamber there were 2 boats below and another 2 above.

Sunny but cool as we head up the Trent valley.DSCF3198

Weston Lock was the next one, and fortune was still smiling on us as a boat was just leaving the lock empty as we arrived. DSCF3199

Weston Wharf, situated just to the south of the village, used to have an enviable position in the countryside. But now the urban sprawl of the expanding settlement has got it encircled.DSCF3201
Still a lovely spot, though.

The lambs are starting to get plump…

Decorative brickwork at Salt Bridge

Our last lock of the day was Sandon, and we had a short wait while a boat came down. But two out of three ain’t bad…DSCF3215
I did get to leave the top gate open for an approaching boat, though.

We moved on another half hour or so, mooring near Burston.

It was a fine afternoon, apart from a brief shower around tea-time.

After a mild night we woke to cloudy skies, but dry at any rate. We were in no rush to get off, with less than 2 hours cruising to get to Stone and planning to arrive about noon.

We’d moored opposite this group of substantial ladies…DSCF3217

…with impressive headgear!

A very pleasant stretch of canal.

We only had the one lock today, Aston Lock just past the extensive Aston Marina

Aston Marina

We dropped lucky again, a boat was just coming down as we arrived… DSCF3223

…and another was waiting for us to leave.DSCF3225

We intended to arrive at Stone at midday to ensure we got a mooring, in fact there was plenty of space at that time. We dropped into the space being vacated by Graham and Gill’s Armadillo.

I made the first grocery run up to Morrison’s when we’d got established, there’ll be another before we leave tomorrow morning.

We’d passed NB Klara, moored near Aston Marina having just set off for their summer cruise. Coincidentally we met Roland and Bev in much the same situation back in 2013. Have a good summer, guys.

Locks 4, miles 10, two days.

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