Author: Boatwif

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Familiar places, familiar faces – and two Cheshire cats

Hardings Wood Junction to Higher Poynton: 23¼ miles, 13 locks Wednesday June 7th: Does the Macclesfield Canal start at Hardings Wood Junction    – or a mile further on at Hall Green Stop Lock?  Strictly speaking the junction leads to the mile long Hall Green branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal, before becoming the Macclesfield Canal at the stop lock which, with a water depth of I foot, was constructed to prevent water being stolen by the Trent and Mersey...

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Torrential times on the T and M

Tixall Wide to Hardings Wood Junction: 25½ miles, 18 locks, 1 tunnel Cleddau had been moored at Tixall Wide on Saturday, bow towards Stafford, stern towards Great Haywood – this meant the glorious watery vista would be visible from the side hatch window.    Obviously if moored here you’d want the best possible view! Come Sunday morning bow and stern needed to be in the opposite directions. All was cleared for a lengthy reverse followed by a winding (turning round)....

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Up – along – and down

The Bratch – Laches Bridge – Penkridge – Tixall Wide: 26 miles, 18 locks From The Bratch moorings at Wombourne to the Great Haywood Junction at the northern end of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal is about 27 miles. Back on board on Thursday after a night away the cruise resumed: there was a lock queue at Awbridge Lock,    distinctive for the vertical slots on the bridge brickwork over the lock tail. Then there were five further locks spread...

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Brief shore leave from The Bratch

Moored above Bratch Locks, Womborne On Tuesday Cleddau had climbed the three Bratch Locks and been moored on the delightful visitor moorings above. What does The Bratch mean?  Boatwif had wondered the other day… Wikipedia, the internet user’s useful friend, explains it as a familiar Staffordshire word referring to new clearings near the edges of ancient forests. There are no roads nearby and the towpath, though frequently used by local running groups, does not seem to attract cyclists in the same...

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Shuffling along on the Staffs and Worcs Canal

Stourport, Wolverley, Stewponey, Swindon to Bratch: 13 miles, 18 locks If covering distance fast is a priority then cruising the Staffs and Worcestershire Canal is not for you! It’s a narrow canal extending 46 miles from Stourport-on-Severn (out west in Worcestershire) to Great Haywood, near Stafford. Though Cleddau and crew have travelled this way often – they haven’t! Memories are of only once before (during the marathon first ever trip in 1994) cruising from the Stourport end, yet on various...

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Worcester and the Upper Severn

Worcester to Stourport: 12 miles, 8 locks Unladen and fully laden boats had passed the Upton moorings repeatedly on Tuesday and Wednesday morning;     this then   was where the loading was taking place, just a couple of miles upstream… There were soon signs of ‘the Birmingham Navy’, lines of white moored craft   (“This must be the southern task force,” the Captain remarked wryly. “The main fleet is usually up at Stourport.” And so it transpired…) Amongst the...

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The trouble with water

Saul Junction – Gloucester Docks – Upton-upon-Severn – Worcester: 36½ miles, 3 locks Why does water, the elixir of life, give so much trouble… Boaters need a decent depth of the stuff below their hulls and not a lot at all of the vertical stuff that presents as rain. Since starting out on the 2017 cruise Cleddau has been beset by water troubles, most minor, some more problematic… It was last Autumn when it was noticed that the bathroom washbasin...

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A long way to go just for a walk…

Tewkesbury – Gloucester- Saul Junction – Sharpness – Saul Junction: 36¼ miles, 3 locks It was an offhand remark in the winter – one of those “I wouldn’t mind going to…” thoughts that get spoken aloud – that sparked a plan and became a project.  It was to be Destination Sharpness to view the Purton hulks for the 2017 Cleddau cruise. So, on Tuesday there was just the matter of getting down the River Severn from Tewkesbury to Gloucester before the rain...

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Never make assumptions

To Tewkesbury – a two-umbrella day Pershore to Tewkesbury14½ miles, 3 locks. You’d think that a 14½ mile, 3 lock trip would be a straightforward sort of journey.  Sometimes though unexpected factors cause delays – and even consternation… After two nights at Pershore Cleddau needed to move on down to Tewkesbury. Just as the Captain prepared to pull away from Pershore Recreation Ground on Monday morning voices from behind were heard. There was activity outside the Canoe Club – and...

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The Avon continued…

Evesham to Pershore: 12 miles and 4 locks Back to Evesham Marina to resume the floating life… A week ashore had been packed with volunteer duties, meetings and social gatherings but by Saturday morning marina bills had been paid (for a Webasto servicing and a fruitless attempt to solve a bathroom problem, more on that another time). To resume the cruise required re-joining the river, no easy matter when the Captain discovered a dire situation. It was never going to be easy...