Friday 28 May 2021

Barton Marina

 Today's Canal - Trent and Mersey

Although the day began somewhat overcast, it was a thin cloud layer and otherwise we were very warm. We set off in good time as we wanted to arrive at the marina before the office shuts at 3.

Opposite our overnight mooring we could see work on planting new trees to offset those cut down to make way for the HS2 route across the canal near to the next lock.

The bridge at the tail of the lock has recesses where the shortened balance beams could fit when the gates are opened. However, the beams have now been cranked and the recesses not used. However, one of them has been taken over by a revival of the custom of leaving teapots around locks. The name boards for the locks on the Trent and Mersey all have bright new, shiny blue versions, replacing the former black and white ones. However, the new ones have the grid reference rather than the CaRT telephone number!

A short distance and we arrived at the Fradley Locks - two above the junction and two below frequently haver volunteer lock keepers on hand to assist boaters. They were all very friendly and helpful, giving just the right amount of help - unlike in the early days of the scheme when some opted to interfere too much whilst others just stood away.

Fradley Junction, with the well-known Swan Inn, can become very busy, even congested, in the summer time but even today, with far more boats on the move than we have seen so far on this trip, it was pleasantly busy. The cafe at Fradley Wharf, just below the next lock, seemed to have a reasonable number of customers, all sitting outside under giant umbrellas.

Beside Common Lock a new marina is under construction. It seems to be a long term project for local boatbuilders, taming some time to come to fruition. Nothing seemed to be happening today! When complete it looks as if it will be a very pleasant base for around 60 long term leisure boats.

By the time we arrived at Bagnall Lock the clouds were gradually clearing and we had good glimpses of blue sky. It was definitely warm and fewer layers of clothing were needed.

Below Alrewas Lock the canal crosses the River Trent. When the river is in flood then the navigation has to be closed but there was no such difficulty today - unlike most of the other rivers that from part of the canal and river network which have had flood closures for much of the past week. The towpath continues over a series of  bridges across the various streams that branch out from the river on a flood plain.

By lunch time we were just a very short distance  away from the marina but we pulled in to moor leaving plenty of time t check in afterwards. Sadly, this part of the canal is right beside the very, very busy A38 trunk road which is exceptionally noisy across quite a wide area.

Later we entered the marina and found a space on their visitor moorings before checking in at the Office and paying our dues.

5.9 Miles - 10 Locks

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