Thursday, 20 October 2016

Fazeley (farewell to the Trent & Mersey)



Moored for lunch on Wednesday


On Wednesday we set off a bit later than previous mornings this week as I had to unblock the galley sink first.  My fault, as I have been emptying my cafetiere into it rather than straight into the cut and the run off isn't as steep as it was on Chalkhill Blue.  Before anyone shouts, the sink water ends up in the cut anyway.  Even though it was lovely and sunny when I took Buddy out for his first walk, it didn’t look like it when we got back to the boat as we had moored overnight under trees.

Our Tuesday night mooring in Kings Bromley with Buddy waiting by the boat for his breakfast

There were plenty of boats on the move still even though we are nearly at the end of October.  By the time we got to our first lock, Wood End lock, we were third in the queue.

We’re next to go into Wood End lock

It won’t look so peaceful in a few years as HS2 is to be built alongside this lock.  After another mile we reached Fradley junction where we turned south off the Trent & Mersey onto the Coventry canal.

About to turn right off the Trent and Mersey and onto the Coventry canal

Fradley was full of tourists, as always seems to be the case, but we didn’t have to queue much at the locks and were soon on our way again. As you turn onto the Coventry there is a swing footbridge which is a bit annoying as you have to negotiate it either before or after a tricky manoeuvre onto or off the Trent & Mersey.  I say tricky because there are usually gongoozlers watching.  I have probably said before that when you make a fault free manoeuvre then there is no one to see it.  When something goes wrong then there are loads of people around.

The swing footbridge

Anyway, I was fault free and even managed to close the bridge behind me without getting off the boat.  No doubt I would have fallen in if I had had spectators. We are always reminded of our good friends Val & Pete Griffiths whenever we pass through here because of a plaque that is attached to the bridge.

Commemorative plaque on the swing footbridge

Even though we are now on the Coventry canal, most people refer to it as the Birmingham & Fazeley canal.  The company who built the Birmingham & Fazeley canal ran out of money when they reached Whittington a few miles short of the Trent & Mersey.  The plan had been to join Birmingham up with the Trent & Mersey via Fazeley where the Coventry canal came up from Coventry.  As the Coventry company also wanted the link through to the Trent & Mersey they took over and built the remaining few miles to Fradley junction.

Stone indicating where the Birmingham & Fazeley canal and Coventry canal meet.

So, if you cruise out of Coventry along the Coventry canal it ends at Fazeley junction where it joins the Birmingham & Fazeley canal.  Then a few miles further north it becomes the Coventry canal again – confusing isn’t it?

We stopped for lunch at a nice quiet spot called Brookhay – see picture at the top.  We then stopped at Streethay to get spare alternator belts from the boatyard.

Congestion at the service area

I have always liked the Streethay boatyard as it is so old fashioned.  I needed a few links of chain to put another fender on and they have a box of odds and sods where you can take what you want for free.  I got my belts and the short pieces of chain and we set off again.

Looking down from the chandlery

Even though rain was only forecast for the east of England the clouds were beginning to look rather ominous and I was starting to wonder if we would make it to Fazeley without getting soaked.

Clouds brewing up over Hademoor

Fortunately the rain never came but the sun never came back out either.

Lots of moored boats at Fazeley junction – we’re at the far end in front of a plastic cruiser

Poor old Buddy had had another long day on the boat without exercise so I took him for a walk before settling down for the evening to wait for Karen to come home.  We travelled 13 miles and went down three locks during the day.  From now on we will be climbing locks again until we get to Braunston on the Grand Union which we hope to reach some time over the coming weekend.  That will be good for Karen as it’s only a 30 minute drive to work – we know that’s not long but she does work long hours at the moment.

When Karen got home we went for a cheeky Wednesday drink in the Three Tuns on the other side of the canal.  A really grotty looking pub but the locals were friendly even if we found it hard to understand what they were saying.

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