Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Noah Strikes Back.

Yesterday was Kilby Bridge to Smeeton Aquaduct and a totally rural mooring. As far as the boys were concerned

Saddington Tunnel was the highlight of the day, they are sure they saw a bat in there. After mooring it was out fishing gear and off we went, result,

Noah, two roach.
Grampy and Jonah tied on nothing each so over the weekend Jonah caught the most but Noah caught the heaviest so I declare it a draw with Grampy nowhere.
Today was on to the mayhem that is Foxton Locks and eventually a mooring on the Market Harborough Arm.Cairstine arrived to collect her offspring and after a stroll up the locks we lunched in the Navigation, most pleasant,

especially as Cairstine paid.
Tomorrow an exploration of the boat lift looks to be in order.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Leicester farewell and a mighty fish.

On our way by 0800. In company with Mike and Chris on narrowboat Isis we crept through the southern environs of Leicester, escaping without having been robbed, beaten or ravished what a let down!

South of Aylestone Mill Lock the river narrowed and started to wind, the foliage closed in until I started to think I had taken a wrong turning and was heading up some long lost tributary to who knows where, but at last Kings Lock hove into view and we emerged unscathed.
Above Bush Lock the local humorists had slipped the mooring lines of a widebeam B.W. dredger and tug which had drifted diagonally across the cut. With a little careful towing by Isis and a lot of poleing, rope hauling and immoderate language we got them secured and we could get the boats past, needless to say it chose that time to chuck it down, such fun. Jill now has a large bruise and lump on her forehead thanks to some careless pole waving by myself, popularity rating currently zero.
Now at Kilby Bridge, at last the boys got some fishing: Jonah four gudgeon, Grampy one roach and two gudgeon and poor old Noah one gudgeon.

Jonah proudly displays the first fish of the day.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Approaching Leicester this over inflated bouncy castle comes into view actually it is the National Space Centre and I shouldn't be rude about it as I have never visited it, but it still looks like the Michelin man writ large.
Once you get into Leicester,

and it is not an unpleasant approach, there is much to see. The indoor market is amazing, claimed to be the largest in Europe, but the Corn Exchange

is now a Wetherspoons, but then what isn't?

The Cathedral is next door to

the Guildhall, Jill, Noah and Jonah fail to pose properly, amateurs.

Inside the Guildhall is quite impressive

and the striking clock in the courtyard is rather twee.

Castle House

and what appears to be the last bit of the old castle walls, just up from the pontoon mooring at Castle Park Gardens. At the moment there are four boats on the pontoon and another two breasted up to them, quite snug really. Tomorrow there is a fete, or something of that ilk, in the park so we all have to be gone by 0900 as they want the pontoon for boat trips, oh well.
Oh, and so far we have not been subject to any form of criminal abuse.

Friday, 27 August 2010

The flood recedes.

Well the grandsons were delivered to us today, still at Hope and Anchor but the levels are dropping quite nicely so tomorrow we intend moving down to Castle Park in Leicester and having a look at the city and seeing if all the horror stories are true, hoping that like most of the "Oh you can't moor there you will get ..............."(Space to fit whichever violent crime springs to mind) the alleged dangers rely more on a heated imagination than on reality. In the past we have even been told it's not safe to moor in Gas Street, oh well, I suppose if the rumours persist it means less trouble finding a mooring. Kids now tucked up in OUR bed and we are relegated to the dinette, damn silly idea, in my young day we..................

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Rising Water

Still at the Hope and Anchor, after twenty four hours of continuous summer weather (the rain is slightly warmer) the river is now hurtling past, not the slightest chance of moving. It has risen a good foot in the last twelve hours, luckily the bank here is fairly high and we are tied to bollards, still got eighteen inches to go before it goes over the bank.
We really picked the wrong week to venture onto the Soar.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Loughborough to Hope and Anchor.

What a day, we set off in a strong breeze and by the time we cleared Loughborough it had become a howling gale with the occasional burst of horizontal rain. At Pillings Flood Lock they had shut the gates even though the level indicator was well in the green, by Sileby the levels were bordering on the red and we were really butting against the stream, above Sileby Lock they had just pulled a hire boat off the weir, most reassuring. Undeterred by others misfortunes we pushed on and eventually we made it to the Hope and Anchor where we are currently moored, tomorrows weather forecast looks diabolical so here we stay until the river settles back to something near normal. The E.A. now have a river levels page on their website, if your river travelling it's worth a look.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Loughborough, day 2

After the rain last night it rained most of the day today, topped up at Tescos, ten minutes from the Albion, so are Sainsburys, just so I don't get accused of bias. The latest buzz down the towpath is that the river is coming up and we will be stuck here but the E.A. website says that the levels are normal, who to believe? Anyway, up at the wharf, unnoticed by Nicholsons, there is a complete sanitary station, water, rubbish, elsan etc. The wharf is quite high but shouldn't be a problem, they've even provided ladders, whether they will line up with a boat is a moot point.
A walk into town proved that every town in Britain is exactly the same, same shops, same sad malls, Land of Hope and Glory? Mind you, the Swan in the Rushes is well worth a visit, another real pub, can't remember how many real ales but the Castle Rock Skylark was superb.
Overall Loughborough does not impress but does have at least two good pubs, so not bad.
Move on tomorrow? Depends on the weather I guess.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Loughborough, day 1.

Loughborough and the Albion Inn, not as flamboyant as its namesake in Chester but a thoroughly likeable pub, they even have Sharps Doombar from Rock in Cornwall, and yes, that is Jill with a half of bitter, a first.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Onto the River Soar.

After leaving Burton on Trent we headed off past Willington and moored by Coach and Horses bridge, A38 one way and the railway the other, at least we are not in a rush like those travellers, as the old saying goes, "Those who try to save time usually end up having to kill it."

Top gates of a Trent and Mersey wide lock, viewed from below.

Splendid old wharf crane at Swarkestone, the place that, in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie wrapped his hand in and turned around and headed back to Scotland, another piece of useless information.

A strange stowaway, it's a Vapourer Moth caterpillar, I restored it to it's natural habitat 'cause I'm a nice guy.

Straight through Shardlow this morning, compulsory photo' of the Clock Warehouse.

Down the Trent, it ain't half big after the canals,

to Trent Lock, Cranfleet Cut straight ahead, the Erewash Canal off to the left and the River Soar to the right

and the Trent goes off over a huge weir.

On the Soar at last, Kegworth Deep Lock

and above the lock in idyllic sylvan surroundings we are moored, shame it's right under East Midlands Airport's flight path.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Seasons Turn.

The first signs of autumn are on the canal bank,

We have picked our first blackberries,

the haws are ripening

and the berries are there to fatten up the birds for the winter.

The thistles that only a few days ago stood proud with their purple flowers are now brown and blowing their seeds down the wind.

Basil and Jenny of Wandering Star, hadn't seen them for nigh on two years and today there they were wandering up the towpath at Burton, it's a small world on the cut. Please note this bit has nothing to do with autumn (years).

I now have a new camera, a Canon Power Shot SX210IS, whooee, all I've got to do now is learn how to use it, my camera is digital but my brain is still Box Brownie.

Monday, 16 August 2010


Alrewas (OllrooUS) and lunch in the George and Dragon, their Light Bite lunch (£5 inc. sweet) has got to be one of the best bargains anywhere. Dread to think what the full wack is like, observing the size of their baguettes was enough to give me indigestion. After the crush at Fradley it was a pleasant surprise to find plenty of mooring space here. Weather not looking good tomorrow, to move or not to move? That is the question.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Murphys Law.

Stayed at Fradley and once the boat traffic had slowed down it was out rod and a couple of hours fishing, five chub, the smallest must have gone nearly four pound and the biggest closer to six and of course, no camera! No one is going to believe it, it will be just another fishermans story, typical!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Fradley Junction.

Still cameraless, the best Rugeley had to offer was Argos, loads of compact cameras in the book but don't bother asking anyone about them, a blank look is the best you can expect. Burton has a couple of camera shops so will see if I can find a decent compact until we can get the DSLR fixed.
Another first today, managed to find a mooring at Fradley Junction and had a beer in the Mucky Duck, boats are still coming through and expecting to find a mooring, there is nothing like optimism is there. No TV though, blooming great tree 'twixt us and the satellite.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Well it was good to see Chris and Debbie on The Meaning of Ubique at Tixall yesterday, if only while they winded, from their blog they seem to have had an interesting year so far.
Made it to Rugeley through the rain and no, they don't have a camera shop so I will have to fall back on my literary skills then, oh well.
Currently chucking it down, don't fancy a day here tomorrow so hoping it will improve by the morning, if not I guess we'll get wet, can't complain though, well I could but no one would listen so I'll just carry on, this boating life is so tough at times!!
At least the Morrisons here is right next to the cut, not too far to carry the food, theoretically dieting at the moment, how many calories in a class of Merlot? Can't be many.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Death of.........

Well ain't life wonderful, set off this morning to walk up through the Shugborough estate, take a few photties and get a nice bit ready for the blog, took one photo, lined up for the next, nothing, camera totally dead, recharged the batteries, still dead, camera appears to be kaput. Have now poked every button, whacked it, sworn at it and even threatened to hurl it in the cut, the camera is still not playing, I fear a big bill is on its way, oh alas, alack. Hope there is a camera shop in Rugeley as that is the next town, or else Burton, oh bother!!!!

Monday, 9 August 2010

An atmospheric mooring.

Yesterday I had a days fishing at Penkridge, bite a chuck, small perch, roach and loads of gudgeon, big ones too, the biggest must have gone nigh on two ounces.
Today it was down to Tixall and unbelievably we have managed to moor on the Wide!

Just across from us is the old gatehouse to Tixall Hall, looks like a set for a Hammer film, just needs Christopher Lee peering from a window.

There was quite a moody sunset as well, I suspect we will have a day or two here, make the most of really nice moorings.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Return to Penkridge.

Well we had a meal at the Fox and Anchor and it was superb, not too expensive either, recommended.
A gentle cruise down to Penkridge.

This is obviously an old boundary stone but I wonder what bounds it marks.

and who was Long Moll?
Today we did a bit of shopping and decided to have lunch at the famous Cross Keys, only keg beer and when we asked the possibility of lunch the staff appeared to lose all interest so we adjourned to the Boat, a good pint of Bombardier and a steak sarnie, spot on. Cross Keys? 3 out of 10.
Also found the local fishing tackle shop, good grief, so much kit I don't know what most of it does, or doesn't do. I get the impression that most of it is designed to catch more anglers than fish.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010


Not a witch in sight but we did walk up to the village, butchers, bakers, small co-op(Sorry, no candlestick makers) and a post office, virtually all new build housing so didn't bother with the camera. A couple of beers in the Fox and Anchor (Ouch! second mortgage time) and as the Menu looks quite good we are bracing ourselves to part with shillings numerous and have a meal there tonight, well we have just had a small legacy.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Wow, what a fish!

A days fishing at bridge 8, these are just two of the lovely roach I caught, then the lad off the boat moored behind us caught chub that would have had mine as a snack, well I wasn't trying. Now the local farmer has started harvesting the field next to the moorings and everybody is covered in dust, c'est la vie.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Ducks, the family and some interesting pictures of a lost branch.

After a most pleasant two day stay at Little Onn we have continued south through Brewood only stopping for a quick shop and yet another superb curry at the Curry Inn. Now moored by bridge 8 on the S.U.C.S. moorings, a couple of days here and we intend heading for the River Soar, (Please note I only say intend).
Having not put any pictures on of late.............

This is the Gnosall Complimentary Hull De Weeding Service, not so good when they start at 4:30am.

Needless to say I took photties of the family visit.

Bubbles on the Towpath at Market Drayton.

The damp and ill fated birthday BBQ at Coole Pilates.

The birthday boy.

And now for something completely different, a discovery we made whilst out for a gentle stroll.
If you go down off the embankment at Norbury and follow the back lanes to Oulton you come across this little bridge,

if you climb down the bank and battle through the stingers it becomes clear what it is going over and if you walk under the bridge you find

one of the lock chambers on the Newport branch.

It all appears to be in remarkably good condition. To me it seems that if ever restoration goes ahead keeping the locks is a more sensible answer than the idea of an inclined plane which has been put forward.
As we will be leaving the Shroppie shortly we would just like to put on record our thanks to Simon and Dave at Norbury Wharf for all the help and the quality of the work they have done on Armadillo.