Sun 14th June
Stenson to Willington
After more than 24 hours of persistent rain, it was good to wake up to sunshine this morning. We had planned for the Webasto to come on to heat some water, but the battery levels were evidently too low. We had to start the engine to enable the water heater to work so we could both have showers.
We cruised the short distance to Willington, and found a good mooring spot with rings, just past the winding hole. This was as close as we could get to the church we planned to visit, Willington Baptist Church.
Moored in Willington
Today was very different to the usual as it was a Sunday School special, and we sang children’s songs, and were entertained by a magic man who did tricks with a gospel message. It was good to see so many children in a small church, and they were very enthusiastic. We were given a warm welcome.
Enthusiastic kids at Willington Baptist Church
We went to the Co-op for some milk, but found that it had apparently closed down. Looking at the website later, there was nothing to indicate that it had closed, so perhaps it was just a temporary staffing problem.
Thankfully the little post office opposite was open and they also sold milk, so we were soon back at the boat.
The facilities block was not being used, so we reversed the short distance to fill up with water and empty cassettes and rubbish. A Canal Club hire boat was confused as to which side of us to pass. They ended up mooring on the winding hole, using mooring pins, despite there being several mooring rings available on the adjacent visitor moorings.
When our chores were complete, we moved on again, and moored up before bridge 25, a little further away from the railway, but also within the sound from the busy A38 road nearby.
The ground was very soft so we hoped the mooring pins would hold. A number of boats went past, but the spikes stayed put. On one boat was the lady who was a volunteer at Stenson when we gave them coffee.
Our mooring near bridge 25
Sadly we never saw the barn owl that we were told was somewhere near here. However we did spot an oyster catcher flying overhead. There was also one of the Trent and Mersey mileage markers that tells you how far you have travelled and how far there is still to go.
0 locks, 3 miles
Mon 15th June
Willington to Burton upon Trent
We had a leisurely departure this morning, after seeing Eric and Sue go past on Remus.
We crossed seven aqueducts in just over a mile, the most important one being that of the River Dove, just before it joins the River Trent.
Crossing the River Dove
Our first pause was at Horninglow where we emptied a cassette. We moved on to Dallow Lock, the first narrow lock for us since Foxton. It lies under a railway bridge, and it seems it no longer requires a C&RT key.
We moored at Shobnall Fields, where we noticed that instead of closely mown grass, there is now a band of wild flowers and plants between the moorings and the playing fields.
We walked to Shobnall Road where we hoped to catch a number 5 bus. There was no timetable displayed, so we took the first bus that came along which was a 310. It took us to Sainsburys, and we walked from there to the launderette in Uxbridge Street. We needed to wash our carpet runners, which are too big for our washing machine.
While the washing was going round we found a pub for a drink and a kebab outlet for a meal.
Walking back to the centre of town we passed another launderette which would have been more convenient if we had known about it. We caught a number 3 bus back to Shobnal Street, and walked back over the footbridge. A couple on the same bus were moored immediately behind us: John and Jeanette on Wellander.
We laid the carpets on the roof of the boat to dry. Andrew and Gail Spolton went past on Emmaus, heading for Sawley and Redhill. They paused briefly for a chat.
Andrew and Gail going by on Emmaus
The carpets weren’t quite dry, so we rolled them up and took them in again.
1 lock, 4 miles
Tue 16th June
Burton to Alrewas
A fairly early start to travel just over a mile to Branston, where we moored on the visitor mooring rings, and walked through the business park to get to Morrison’s. We first had a cooked breakfast in their café, and then filled a trolley with goodies. It may be a while before we have access again to a large supermarket.
It was blazing hot, so when we returned to the boat we put the damp carpets back on the roof, and set off again, past Branston Water Park and Barton Turn, alongside the noisy A38.
At the picturesque Tatenhill Lock there was an historic boat, and in the garden we spotted some boundary markers with MR on. People of Facebook think it meant Midland Region. Many canals were bought or taken over by railway companies.
MR boundary marker
We were following a single guy, and we were followed by Repose, a boat with a couple with two Dalmatians aboard. After Wychnor Lock we spotted Ultreya moored up. We were tempted to join them, but the road was a bit too noisy for us, so we decided to moor as planned in Alrewas.
St Leonard’s Church at Wychnor
We continued on through the section which crosses the River Trent, pleased to note that it had not been affected by the torrential rain on Saturday.
Boating across the Trent at Alrewas
On arrival at Alrewas Lock, we were beckoned in by the single guy so we did as we were told and jumped the queue.
We would have liked a shady mooring, but the only place available was in the sun, on a bend, so that’s where we went.
Hugo for some reason was very pleased with the place, and rolled around on the grass in delight.
Our hot mooring on a bend in Alrewas
Hugo having a wriggle in the sun
There was a beautiful garden opposite with an unusual purplish shrub with pink flowers. Does anyone know what this is?
The mysterious shrub. What is it please?
5 locks, 7 miles
Tomorrow: into the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction, aiming for Hopwas by Thursday for the folk club, the day before the mission starts.