Wednesday 26 May 2021


 Today's Canals - Staffs and Worcs, Trent and Mersey

After the splendid sunshine yesterday afternoon, the night sky was very clear and we had a great view of the supermoon as it rose just after 9 o'clock.

We had thought that there was a lunar eclipse due at this time but, alas, it is not until tonight (Wednesday) It does not look as if there will a chance of such a clear view. The picture is the best that our phone camera could manage.

As soon as we set off we entered the main part of Tixall Wide. The first picture shows where the Gatehouse is - the zoomed photo is again the best that our mobile can manage. 

Note that we took to using a redundant mobile phone as a camera - in many situations is does a better job than our last compact camera. However, we were in need of a replacement for that but could not find one with the spec we were after. Taking photos whilst steering the boat or operating a lock needs something that can be tethered safely or kept in a deep pocket whilst at the same time able to be deployed quickly. It used to be helpful to have the images GPS marked but it seems that the compact cameras no longer have that feature. Zoom, however, is not a great feature on this older mobile. However, it is not often that there is time to use that anyway.

A short distance before Haywood Junction we crossed the River Trent on a stone aqueduct. Along with almost all the English rivers at the moment, it was  rather full and fast flowing.

At the junction the service block is immediately to the north so, after emerging from the Staffs and Worcs, we backed up a couple of boat lengths to the water point.

After recommencing our journey, now on the Trent and Mersey going south, we arrived at Haywood Lock sooner than we had expected. However, there was a three boat queue here and at the next lock - something we have not experienced since 2019! Sadfly the normally very busy tea room is currently all closed up. Let's hope that it will not be long before it can resume business.

Below the lock we moored up for lunch - we also found that the temperature was dropping quickly. Later we continued southwards as we wanted to moor close to Rugeley tonight. Mike has another video meeting tomorrow morning and so needs to have a better signal than we had last night at Tixall!

It was only about half an hour before we could see the cooling towers of Rugeley Power Station, some of the very few left on the Trent.  They will soon disappear as it is planned to blow them up on June 6th. As we approached the town we again passed over the river, somewhat larger than at Haywood.

One of the houses alongside the canal as it continues into the town  seems to have become home to an outpost of Charity Dock on the Coventry Canal! However, this seems to be more specifically themed than the randomness of the figures at Charity Dock and inspired by the work of NHS staff during the pandemic.

In the past we have found mooring near the shops in Rugeley to be a bit tricky, especially for just a quick larder top up, Although there is plenty of space, much of the bank is shallow and the last couple of times we discovered to our cost that the known mooring north of Bridge 66 was unusable for much of its length. We would arrive and think that we were lucky to find a space until we tried to fill it! We were  therefore very pleased to see that the worst section, about three boats length, has very recently been re-piled and, in the middle, there was just enough room for us to squeeze in! Hopefully, we will also have a mobile signal but it may be a bit much to ask for a tv signal as well!

6.0 Miles - 2 Locks

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