Boatwif Blog

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On the level in Leicestershire

Burton Hastings – Hinckley – Stoke Golding – Bosworth Battlefield – Shackerstone – Market Bosworth Since Burton Hastings: 25½ miles, 1 tunnel, 0 locks It’s widely known that the Ashby Canal is lock-free. Though from the water there are views of  sloping fields and gentle hills there is no ascending or descending for boats or boaters to do. The canal route makes its way along a 300 feet contour for 20 miles or so, almost to Measham, weaving and twisting,    ...

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Route report

Rugeley – Hopwas – Atherstone – Burton Hastings Some figures since two nights’ mooring in Rugeley (Staffs):  40 miles and 16 locks Counties cruised within: 3 (Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire) Canals cruised along, though not in their entirety: 4 (Trent and Mersey, Birmingham and Fazeley, Coventry, Ashby) Rugeley to Fradley Junction is a well-travelled stretch for Cleddau. Long ago, probably in about 1995, she first passed this way. Memories faded though during the mooring days on the lower Grand Union and...

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Steps, sisters, spires – and that Dictionary

While moored at Rugeley, Staffordshire… The canal route into Rugeley from the north crosses the River Trent on a fine aqueduct and then takes a sharp left turn towards the town.  In the corner steep stone steps give access to the northern suburbs.      These are The Bloody Steps, steps forever associated with the brutal murder in 1839 of one Christina Collins, who was travelling by boat from Liverpool to join her husband in London. (See story here.) Half...

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Sliding and splashing through Staffordshire

Stoke – Stone – Tixall Wide – Rugeley: 25½ miles, 20 locks ‘Thank goodness for gaiters’ has been the unspoken thought these last few days.  What was forecast to be a dry morning on Friday became a raw downpour by mid-morning. That was the Etruria (top of the six Stoke locks) to Stone day. In the event, full waterproofs were donned mid-cruise, and Friday and Saturday nights were spent at a star (pun alert…) mooring just above Star Lock and the...

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Name dropping at a Middleport mooring

Trace the history of the English canals and you’ll soon appreciate the link between industry and the transport of goods (china clay, coal and pottery). The Trent and Mersey Canal, 97 miles long, stretches between Shardlow in the East Midlands and Preston Brook in the north west.        Its very first sod was cut by Josiah Wedgewood in 1766 at the area now known as Westport Lake (besides which Cleddau was moored on Wednesday night). Ceramics enthusiasts will...

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Down the Macc and through the Harecastle…

Higher Poynton to  Westport Lake 26¼ miles, 13 locks, 1 tunnel “There’s always something to do on a boat…”  Hear that observation accompanied by a sigh and you’ll recognise that the workload on a boat can prove onerous. Often though the Captain says it with glee, briskly even – there are amendments to be made, jobs to be done, projects to be completed… And, last weekend, with the boating season about to start, there were a couple of front deck...

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Birthday walk for a four year old…

Up in Cheshire, up in Hill Country, a birthday has been celebrated… Remember The Library in the Landscape, conceived in a poet’s head, then created and installed in a sheltered hollow just below the summit at Tegg’s Nose? Each year since March 2013 Techno Son-in-Law (the Countryside Ranger in charge of Tegg’s Nose) and Ailsa Holland (Macclesfield’s very own poet) have led an anniversary walk out to a rather unconventional Library. “Some people expect a massive building,” Techno Son-in-Law remarked...

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An open roof sort of day…

Prior to the England /Wales rugby match on Saturday pundits were in a dither about whether the match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium was to be played with an open or a closed roof. A closed roof apparently favours the Welsh crowd as the atmosphere and hwyl are intensified… No matter what the decision (though pity about the outcome) the Cleddau crew were intent on an open roof sort of Saturday. Irked by weeks (nay, months) of non-boating, a gap of...

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Roses in strange places

To Stratford in January for a glut of plays and theatrical experiences… This habit of galloping off to Stratford-upon-Avon early in the year for some theatre performances seems to have become a tradition. “When are you going to Stratford this year?” folk asked. “What will you be seeing?” Months ago (at least six!) a deal was brokered, ten tickets for The Tempest to be booked for a January Saturday matinee,       a matinee so that the Cleddau and...

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Forty Seven

“So what number is it then?” asked Local Nephew. “47…” “47. Phew…” Here he took a long breath. “That’s a lot!” Is it a lot, 47 years of married life? Google a search for special anniversary names and there’s nothing between 40 (a Ruby Anniversary) 45 which in the States is referred to as a Sapphire Anniversary and 50, widely known as a Golden Anniversary. So, carry on, carry on… Down in South Pembrokeshire 47 years to the day since...

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