The next 2 weeks of cruising were quite the learning curve for us. It started with a 4 night stay at the top of Hillmorton locks. A very pleasant place to stop. It is a little noisy with trains and there is a school nearby. Once inside the boat you really do not hear a lot though. A short stopover was necessary as Mr had to do a couple of days work. He can write a techy post at some point as to the internet set up as I have been mega impressed with it. Have streamed tv and videos/browsed the web/done zoom meetings all with no issues.
Our stop in Hillmorton was deliberate as we wanted to pick up our new toilet. We chose a Compoost toilet. We’d seen good reviews, we liked the way they looked and it seemed more professionally made than many other brands we have seen. Nigel and Lorraine who own and run compoost are absolutely lovely and so so helpful. We were very impressed with the service every step of the way. We will no doubt update on our progress with the loo and onboard composting once we get going so to speak.
Facilities here are good, elsan and rubbish easy to find and use. The water however was rubbish, pressure was so low we gave up. There are a few shops and takeaways. The fish and chips we had were the worst I have had in a very long time. Such thick batter and very overcooked. I’ll not name and shame as maybe it was a bad night.
The next 2 weeks – one night in Brinklow
We got probably the last mooring spot on the armco and headed into the village for supplies. There is just one wee shop/post office. Not that much choice, but we got local sausages (yummy) and some really good local marmalade. So were set for tea and breakfast. Some of the walk into the village is on the road – maybe first 10 mins from canal. After this it is all paved and a pleasant walk.
The village is quite pretty and I imagine if we’d been here a bit longer we would have explored a bit more. There is the raised-earth remains of an 11thc motte-&-bailey castle, known locally as “The Tump”.
Next stop Nuneaton
Not being city/town types we headed straight past Nuneaton and moored up just past canal farm bridge (24) another good choice. It was quiet, low footfall and still only a 20 minute walk to a large Asda. Bought ourselves some new trackies and treated ourselves to some egg mcmuffins. The Asda here has a Mc d’s. The canal path was in great condition and we were able to use our granny trolley to heft the shopping back to the boat.
Onto Pooley Country Park
A night in the woods! it was another lovely spot. Quiet and only one other boat who was moored some way ahead of us. We passed this wheel. It is the pit head winding wheel. Not from this area, but donated from a closed mine in Haworth, South Yorkshire. Local kids decided how it was to be painted and it does look very jolly.
Next stop Kings Orchard Marina
Cruising through a firing range was not something we expected. Lots of signage to say strictly no mooring and the amount of concrete on the canal towpath is certainly a deterrent. It is not in use all the time and soldiers only fire blanks, signage does go up on training days and you are advised to stick to the paths. We decided to cruise on by and find a more inviting spot to stop. Our final resting point for the night was just before Kings Orchard Marina.
All aboard for Rugeley
A lovely bit of cruising, past the famous Swan (aka The Mucky Duck). Sadly too early in the morning to stop for a pint or 2 of cider. Met a fellow novice boater who we let get ahead of us. Passed through the very narrow former Armitage tunnel. Thankfully there was a boat ahead of us, so we just very gingerly followed him through.
The very next day we headed Penkridge way
I was a bit worried about this mooring, there was a pub not far away, the motorway was just the other side of the housing estate. It was easily our most ‘towny’ mooring yet. I should not have worried. It was pretty quiet, the occasional barking dog or person walking past. No significant noise though.
We had a really good takeaway here. Flames on Mill Street. This was the best Indian takeout I have had in a really long time. Great value for money, good portion sizes and so tasty. We ate every single scrap, this is unusual for us, there is usually something left. This is a definite order again if we happen to be around the area.
Through Autherley Junction to Brewood
I really need to make notes when we are cruising as many of the thoughts I have had whilst out on the cut are now lost. The wind was getting up a bit by now, nothing too bad yet. An 8 hour day made for a very tired us. Early night and up and at ’em the next morning.
Brewood to Gnosall Heath
Our cruise today was cut short, we only did a few hours, the wind, the amount of tree bits and the rain were too much. We moored up at the Gnosall visitor moorings and settled down for what was a bit of a bumpy night. We had tires down and were still getting a good battering.
And then we were off to Market Drayton
A bit of an eventful trip. Lots of debris after Arwen. Ice on the cut too. We even had to stop as a boat had come adrift and was blocking our way. Thankfully just a wee cruiser, so I pulled it in easily and re-tied it.
The last leg of our 2 weeks
Over the next few days we made our way through Nantwich, where we were able to do some laundry at long last. Can thoroughly recommend The WashBasin launderette in Nantwich Marina. Clean, not too expensive and the ladies were super friendly and helpful. After Nantwich we took it slowly only moving a couple of hours a day. We were waiting to hear back from places about mooring up for a few months. Wincham Wharf to the rescue! It is a working yard, so no fancy facilities. It has parking and shops are close by for all those DIY essentials. We will be there until at least March. Maybe longer. All hinges on the speed of selling the house and where the country is at with the dreaded covid restrictions.
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