Friday, 31 July 2015

The bike.... remember the bike ?

We did not make Colditz sadly, ill health (not mine) and ill health of family saw fit to kill that trip.

Time was spent as detailed in other blogs in getting Percy ready for the pain cruise and paint job.

So my bike was calling one Wednesday evening  in July after getting back from down south. Just a short post to remind myself I did ride a little in 2015.....

It was all around the beautiful Derbyshire/Staffordshire moorlands....

Yes the road did indeed get narrower....

Wetton Mill to Hulme End.... normally done on a cycle and sometime a large group come through on motorbikes.... my good friend SteveA brought us through here a couple of years ago on a 'sweep the roads clean' ride. 

The A53 between Leek and Buxton. It gets higher here than on the A66 across the Pennines according to my sat nav that has a creen that giveds height above sea level.... over 500 meters . At my back is the Cat and Fiddle road that goes off to Macclesfield, a real danger road for all users. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The painting cruise .... Fradley to Dadford's Wharf on the Stourbridge

... but first the before and after for my gas locker....

I quite enjoyed it, it is a nice place to be now it is clean dry and rust free.

So on Sunday 28th June I drove up the 220 miles from Chichester (I drove past the boat to Derby, sorted the house out and drove back to Fradley) while John my crew drove the 300 miles from the west coast of Scotland to Fradley !

By the time I have shopped for supplies, made up the two beds (I was using the comfy drop down boatman's bed) cleaned the boat John arrived with beer-a-plenty to start the cruise. We popped up Hunts (he actually met me as I was bringing Percy up for Water) through Keepers then took on the water and emptied the cassette. We stopped for the evening just above Woodend  - a favourite mooring and put the world to rights as we had a beery pasta fuelled catch up.

Monday saw us pootle up to Tixall wide (first time I have ever moored here.) No boats below Great Haywood at all ! Swapped a gas cylinder at the pig farm for £22 I think that is quite cheap unless you know better? We took a stroll to the Clifford arms for food and a few beers then back to the boat, quite tired, I think the driving and the heat was getting to us.

I like passing 'The Taft' they always wave. Nice comparison of progress on the boat names ....

Wow Tuesday was hot ! I think we had both drunk 4 pints of water before 11am !

We had Gailey as our destination on Tuesday and we made it. Lovely cruising but we were lathering on the factor 25 and mixing the beer with water (I know a beer crime but it really was necessary) A noisy walk to the local chain pub for beer and steak ended the evening !

Early start on Wednesday to get to the top of the Brach locks before the heat of the afternoon so we slipped off at just after 7am up the Gailey lock then a good few hours cruising before we hit the locks for the day. Not a lot moving and what was we met around Coven... I guess the boats coming off the Shroppie.

Beer was getting low ! The fridge was playing up.... working while the engine was running, not overnight. I suspect the cables need sorting as I am getting a voltage drop.... something to investigate.

We got to the Bratch 1'sh so mission accomplished. Had food and a siesta then went to the pub !!

Thursday our target was Stourton junction. The weather had given rain later but this was a welcome prospect. The day was perfect, cooler but still bright. We were away just after 8 and by some degree of pre planning were ahead of the other three boats on their way down. The lockies  - now volunteers, last time we came this way was with Waterlily and they were employed then were good and had three boats on their way down as soon as the first boat of the day came up. 

Then onto the Bottersham staircase locks  - no one about so we had them all to ourselves. Then on through some of the finest and quietest canal we have travelled so far.... we we did it on Waterlily a few years ago.

Destination was Stourton junction. Only problems  - no pubs so we took the decision to hike to kinver for supplies and walked back in the fine but welcome rain to finish off the last full day cruising with a fine curry and beer/wine.

Friday morning we were up early ready to hop up the Stourbridge locks to deposit Percy with John Sanderson at Dadford wharf  This is new canal to me and we were pleasantly surprised by the rural nature of the early part. Lots of building as we got closer to Johns wharf which is a good sign for the economy I guess.

We met this lovely pair on the way down the locks. I would have liked to have watched them bring the motor and butty through a lock but we met them in one of the pounds.

Before we knew it we were tight on the outside of a few boats at Johns Wharf. Rachel met us and we off loaded and took John back to Fradley. As it was mid afternoon by the time we got back we ended up with fine Chinese meal and John headed back to Scotland early Saturday morning. 

Mission accomplished  

Now..... what colours !!