Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Per Chance. A Riverside escape!

Today we arrived at Willington on the Trent and Mersey Canal. We have arranged to meet friends here this weekend, but in the meantime need to complete a few jobs and sit out the awful weather forecast for Friday especially.

With this in mind, we are popping into Mercia marina for two days, time we hope to give the boat exterior a clean prior to the deluge to come. She has not done bad considering the miles and locks we have covered this year thus far. So fingers crossed that the weather is kind tomorrow.

Since the last post and spending a day in Penkridge, whilst Ali went on a shop fest to Birmingham, we have covered a few miles. Not too many locks on these sections and on the whole, the weather has been kind. Not always, but mostly!

Our mooring in Penkridge was in a pound containing the services. These are opposite the lock landing. As we were in sight of them, we waited for a clear spell before setting off on the short hop onto them, in order to water up. No sooner had we landed and even before we were fast, a chap who had spent the night moored on the lock landing bollards, wandered up and asked how long we were going to be! As long as it takes to fill, obviously... Then he asked if he could breast up to us. What that would achieve other than blocking us in after we had completed, gawd knows, so we declined his request and I pointed out that as he had moored on the landing, getting himself onto the services should not have posed a problem for him! Needles to say, he went off in a huff. Idiot.

Anyway, we soon progressed and bimbled our way towards Great Heywood. This is a lovely stretch of canal and hard to believe that you are so near to some large conurbations. At Tixall lock, we had to queue for a while, but were soon on our way across the wide and then to the junction. As we had completed a wash load en-route, a swift reverse as we exited onto the T&M allowed us to replenish the tank. We set off for Haywood lock when whom should we spy moored up, but Doug and James on N.B. Chance. They were in the company of Steve and Denise on N.B. Riverside Escape, who we have also met previously. No sooner we spotted when Doug lept into action, requesting a moored boat to shuffle up to let us in! So we were set for a cracking weekend and so it proved. Out for a meal that night, then a wander around a classic car show at Shugborough Hall on Sunday, followed by a barbeque late afternoon and into the evening. Thank you all for your company, as ever, a laugh, though our livers are now in recovery!  Even if you did shame us about our mucky boat. My turn with the talking stick Doug!

All good things come to an end and it was sad to say farewell to both couples. Hope our paths cross again soon.

That day we made good time and stopped for a mega shop in Rugeley, (to replenish the alcohol) then for fishing bait in Handsacre. At this point, just as we got on the move, the heavens opened. It really was monsoon like for a time, but it was warm rain. This soon passed and by the time we were approaching Fradley locks, the sky was clear again. The visitor moorings above Shade house lock looked full, so as a boat was exiting the lock upon our approach, we decided to try our luck further down, but before we could enter, the top gate was closed and the lock emptied. Bad form, as we were in plain sight only a 100 yds or so from the lock. But, this worked in our favour, as we then spied a vacant mooring just prior to the lock landing and just long enough for us to tuck in. Poetic justice, as the lock stealers ascended looking for a mooring.

The next day, we descended the locks with ease as all the traffic was coming up. Even the service moorings were free. It was a pleasant run through Alrewas and the river section was delightful. We called it a day near to Branston water park. Whilst I got my tackle out (fishing!), Ali began rubbing down and then painting the battle damage to the starboard side. Sods law strikes, after navigating all year without any contact from another boat, we were struck by a rather posh boat whilst we were moored up and I was fishing. The excuse was that me landing a fish distracted him!

That night we popped into The Bridge, a pub owned and run by Italians, with a food menu reflecting their heritage. Very nice it was to.

So today, the final leg into Willington. Watered at the services, then winded to allow Ali to complete remedial work on the port side. I again got my tackle out! There is a theme developing here methinks... A beautiful day, possibly the warmest thus far.

37 miles.
22 locks.


  1. Well on behalf of the 'Welcome to South Derbyshire' glee club, and in the absence of Bruce (nb Sanity Again), enjoy your time in Mercia :) LOL

    BTW if you look skywards towards Derby at around 4:25pm today (Thursday) you might just see several Spitfires flying over Rolls Royce to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

  2. Thank you Kevin. Moored up and boat washed. Will keep an eye out for the Spit's. Just us and the interior to fettle now. Hope we meet Bruce's standards!


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