Our blog this week comes to you from A beautiful,if a bit damp,mooring at Tixall Wide on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.We’ve been here since Friday and I’m not sure yet when we will be leaving ‘cos it is lovely and peaceful here and there’s plenty of room for me to play at my new hobby of fishing.I’ve recently bought a small whip and a rig and,together with a bit of bread,I can now sit and watch a float bob up and down all day.I’m not after a huge fish or anything to shout about,though we have had quite a bit of success over the last few days,some nice Rudd and Perch have given themselves up to my amateurish attempts.
We left Wombourne a week ago Wednesday to make our way up the S&W,through the 3 Bratch Locks,to Dimmingsdale.Above is Chyandour entering the Bratch bottom Lock and almost up the second of the three locks,with the old octagonal Toll House in the background.The Bratch Locks are three individual locks and not a staircase as they first appear to be.There are side pounds hidden to one side of the flight so that the space between the top gates of one lock and the bottom gates of the next is only a few feet.The locks raise the canal by just over 30 feet.
Above you can see the pound between the top gates of the middle lock and the bottom gates of the top lock,a dozen feet maybe? The Toll House at the top lock.We carried on through another three locks after the Bratch locks till we got to just above Dimmingsdale Lock and the 5 day moorings on the off side.It was not the best decision to stop on those moorings as later events were to show.
Just after half twelve last Thursday morning a tree came down onto Tadpole 2,our friends boat,while we were on the moorings above Dimmingsdale Lock.The sound woke us all and,as the first photo’s show,it looked a bit scary.A couple of the pic’s the next day showing quite a substantial tree across the roof and between the Stern doors and the Tiller.It all looked as though some serious damage could have been done but after contractors from Fountains arrived and set about the tree,there turned out to be no damage at all,very very lucky.As soon as the tree was removed we set off for our next stop,Oxley, between Aldersley and Autherley Junctions.There’s a boatyard at Oxley where we could empty the loo and top up with diesel and water.Lisa and I have moored opposite the boat yard before but this time we all went to the bar in the boatyard itself and received a very welcoming reception.They were happy to order a takeaway from one of the local restaurants and provide cutlery etc.for us to eat in the bar.
Top left is something I was quite surprised to see as we approached the Lock Landing at Compton Lock.This young Fox just stood watching us after calmly walking along the towpath in broad daylight.I barely had time to get the camera and take a pic’ before it walked through a gap in the hedge and disappeared.6 bridges all in a row,these are between the two junctions at Oxley and between the arches of the railway bridges are these paintings.After a great night at Oxley we moved on the next day to Cross Green and the Fox & Anchor,where Lisa and I have also stopped a couple of times before.This time we were expecting visitors for the weekend and,though the food in the pub was not as good as we had experienced before,we still had an enjoyable time.I had the additional pleasure of meeting Andrew Denny,the Helmsman of NB Granny Buttons who’s blog I used to read and also one of the people I follow on Twitter.Sadly he’s a worse blogger than me,not having posted for quite a while now and I did happen to mention this too him as we chatted.
Leaving the Fox & Anchor last Monday,with some of our guests,we made our way the five lock free miles to Gailey where we stopped for just one night before moving on to Penkridge.Some of the guests who joined us at Cross Green were leaving us there and we also wanted to get some fishing gear and visit the Wednesday Market.
Our Granddaughter Evelyn and Grandson Jack with the first fish they had ever caught,they both caught one within a very short time at their first attempt.A big thank you to Pete off Tadpole 2 who is a keen fisherman and who gave us all instruction on what to do.
My first catch,not much to write home about is it?,and Evelyn with another of hers.Not quite the biggest fish of the day,that honour went to Pete who you see here holding Evelyn’s catch.
We left Penkridge last Thursday morning and gently cruised to our next port of call which turned out to be Stafford Boat Club.We had heard from other boaters that they are a friendly lot at this club and so it turned out.They have a lovely set up at the side of the S&W just South of Stafford at Hazelstrine and the whole place is beautifully looked after by the members.If you ever want to stay for the night it’s free as long as you partake of a little refreshment in the bar.This we did and had a very enjoyable time,in fact we stayed for two nights,getting out our trusty Bus Passes on Friday for the short journey into Stafford to have a look round.
We left there on Saturday morning to make our way here at Tixall Wide.we stopped off at Radford Bank on our way because there’s a handy pub just off the canal at bridge 98 that does an all you can eat breakfast for £3.99.
The view from Chyandour over Tixall Wide after our arrival on Saturday.A swan being weighed at Great Haywood Junction of the S&W with the T&M.The Warden was checking it over and ringing it as we walked past on our way to the nearby Farm Shop yesterday.
The 16th Century Gatehouse that overlooks where we are moored at Tixall Wide and Val.Pete and I enjoying the fishing yesterday.
Well,that’s all again for this week folks.Since our last blog we have done 22 Locks and 27 Miles,that gives us a Grand Total of 954 Locks and 1,538 Miles since we set off in October 2012.Take care everyone.