Monthly Archive: March 2017

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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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