Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Rugeley & Cannock Chase

We get here almost every year. Seems ages because we went to East Anglia last year. Turned left on to the Trent & Mersey canal and joined a queue of 6 boats waiting just over an hour to go up the locks. Up past Fradley and Ravenshaw woods, through the 'narrows' of Armitage and eventually stopping at Rugeley. Its claim to fame, apparently, is the Donkey Jacket. Anyway a little town with all you need. Some well kept gardens to be seen on the way through. I sat on a bench with Molly after getting some lovely veg on Sunday. While Ann shopped in the supermarket I watched people and cars pass by. Seems quite affluent here with their expensive foreign cars. We are of course just north of Birmingham, the engineering capital of England, but should I be sad not to see an English car?
After our usual one night stay we continued on past more of those canal side gardens before turning to cross over the river Trent which was calmer than expected. Approached Colwich lock and joined a queue of three boats. Then stopped for lunch surrounded by trees just before Haywood lock.

Not so many boats here as in previous visits in the summer. Up through the 'gongoozled' lock at Great Haywood. People watching your every move and taking pictures of the boat. A popular place with Shugborough Hall and park nearby. "So where are all those boats?".
We turned left off the Trent and Mersey on to the Staffordshire and Worcestershire canal under the towpath bridge. Wanting to get on a bit we passed by Tixall Wide, through Tixall lock and eventually stopped past Tixall bridge 106. High hedges here to protect us from the expected wind and rain. It was not that bad next day so we moved on a few miles to near Stafford and stopped. It had been raining off and on but turned into that fine stuff that just gets you damp. Nothing like the storm we were expecting.

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