Category: Boat Update

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To the Trent

Willington – Trent Lock: 14 Miles, 7 locks (over 2 days) From the Staffordshire moorlands the River Trent wends its way south and east towards Nottingham. A charming babbling affair in Staffordshire, by the time it has swung east into Nottinghamshire it has become navigable. The canal, the Trent and Mersey, follows the course of the river fairly closely. The changing views across the broad sweeping valley show signs of industry, both past and present: agriculture,     gravel extraction, brewing,...

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Forget Me Not

Great Haywood – Kings Bromley – Alrewas – Willington: 27 miles, 16 locks The Cleddau summer cruise resumed on Thursday: remarkably, there was no rain and there was little wind. Volunteer crew, the Stafford Campanologists (their most recent cruise mentioned here) reported for duty. “It would help if you could wield a pole,”     the Captain announced to Tim, anticipating the labyrinthine exit ahead. From the furthermost corner of the Great Haywood Marina back to the Trent and Mersey Canal required...

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Beached boats, bobbing boats and a beautiful bride…

To leave the boat, after so much angst about the paint job being completed – why? Well, for a wedding! (Boaters – skip further down if weddings don’t interest you…) Thunderstorms, wild winds, lashing rain – all held off on Saturday 21st April as Bristol Niece was married in the same church as her three aunts, her parents and her sister before her…     And the sun shone all day long! With the marriage ceremony south of the Cleddau Bridge...

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 It’s all in the timing…

Downhill, heading north and east along the Staffs and Worcs Canal. Spring came on Saturday – what a delightful surprise. To be cruising minus numerous additional layers of clothing was sheer joy. The whole world was happy, it seemed: lambs played chase in the fields,     anglers sat and smiled on the canal banks,    families relaxed in a canal side beer garden, church bells rang in Penkridge, a hen party was partying on a trip boat    near Teddesley...

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Where was the Wrekin?

The canal breach at Middlewich has forced Cleddau and crew to make a long detour via the Shropshire Union Canal. To go a long way west to then turn north east in order to go south – such is the start to this year’s watery wanderings…   After travelling the Shropshire Union just twice before, once in each direction, the Cleddau crew were soon reminded of its particular features. The water comes downhill all the way from Wolverhampton to Ellesmere...

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Growing older gracefully…

Cleddau has emerged from her winter hibernation.  After months of sitting out in the cold on the hard standing, followed by a period inside while her bottom was blacked, then another cold shivery spell outdoors, she was at last moved indoors, sand blasted and painted. From an early life as an ungainly, green-cabined, out of balance red-roofed vessel (here a four year old at Sawley, 1994)    she then became red with a blue roof, courtesy of an amateur paint...

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Feasting, not floating…

Cleddau is still ashore, at Aqueduct Marina,  near Nantwich. In the absence of any floating there’s been the occasional feasting… “Since you’re still without your boat,” announced the Tentatrice First Mate, “how about coming over to us? We could take the boat out, go down into Droitwich, have lunch at the pub – and then go back…” What a tempting plan – time on a boat, time on a towpath, some paddle-gear operating, some gate-pushing… The Gardeners Arms, the pub referred...

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Yearnings

The heavy darkness of winter is receding. Stirring in the morning to natural daylight gives a lift to the spirits and an incentive to be outdoors. Still boatless, Cleddau’s completion date has now been delayed to the second week In April. All the home-based boaty jobs have been completed, any enthusiasm for a pre-spring turn out of redundant items has faded, domestic duties hold no attraction – but meanwhile the lure of life afloat grows stronger… There was a very...

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Coping with withdrawal symptoms

Bereft of a boat to float in, what do would-be boaters do…? Cleddau has been away from her mooring for over three months now. She was taken on a south westerly cruise in October, to Aqueduct Marina, near Nantwich. When last seen afloat she was a slightly sad looking picture, curtains gone from the windows, poles and ladder from the roof, herb pots from the rear cabin roof.  Next seen, just after Christmas, she was out of the water, on...

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A December boat trip…

– Boating in December? In that cold week? Never! – Well yes… – But isn’t your boat out of the water up on hard standing somewhere…? – Well yes… Lacking a usable boat of one’s own, the Captain and Boatwif spent two days windlass-wielding, helping a friend navigate her boat down the Trent and Mersey Canal. From Sunday 10th December snow and ice had caused alarm and chaos across huge swathes of middle England and the Welsh Marches. Road travel...