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Whittington, Hopwas, Fazeley Junction and return to Whittington!

The last few weeks, I have neglected to update the blog as I have had not a deal to share with everyone.  Work type things and lazyness, truth be told, have prevented it's revision....

Moored safely at Whittington for the night

However, today, I was given the unenviable task to steer the big boat towing the butty (steered by Martin, my eldest) over a few miles for the first time all on my own.  Richard has been at work, so the responsibility of moving the pair fell to me.

Narrow bits all the way on the Coventry and usually with a bridge thrown in the mix!

About time, I hear you cry!  Only been living aboard for the past 5 years!  Ok, short distances with Richard on the boat, yes, I have partook in this task, but never on my own.

Not many outside the Tame Otter in Hopwas today

So off Martin and I set from Fazeley Junction this morning.  An hour later we were weaving through the narrow little village of Hopwas, where we had moored on the way down to the junction.

Martin, already quite an expert on the butty, never quite gets excited at the prospect of steering

Hopwas was busy with moored boats and I was dreading getting the boats through before an oncoming boat would halt my progress.

The beautiful willow on the way through Hopwas

But, we were lucky, no boats moved until we came out the other side.  I started to breathe again!

Approaching Whittington and ooh it's tight!

Before we arrived on the outskirts of Whittington, an emergency stop was needed as an oncoming boat came around a blind bend into the same bridge hole I was nearly in.  I didn't panic, which surprised me, as I put her in reverse and came to a stop without any paintwork being touched on either boat!

Scooby loving his position on the flight deck with me

The butty didn't jack knife, so Martin jumped off and pulled the boats back with the centre line, allowing me to jump off and bring the motor into the side out the way.  We let everyone go past, just like buses, so nobody was being held up by us and we carried on to Whittington.

Lovely Whittington

Nearing our destination, we gently tiptoed through Whittington, so we didn't disturb the neighbours, but then...

And the award for the most sensible mooring spot goes to....

We rounded the final bend for the final bridge on our maiden voyage, to be greeted by Mr Stupid and his insanely moored boat leaving exactly one boat width passage between him and the offside privately moored boats.  But hey, we passed between, where cigarette paper would have struggled!

A mooring space greeted us before the long bend and we grabbed it.  Our voyage will continue tomorrow, in our attempt to get to Fradley village......

Alvecote, Alrewas and return (18.5 miles, 10 locks)

Misty morning at Alrewas

Since the Alvecote Gathering, we have made our way steadily to Alrewas, on the Trent and Mersey Canal, and as a result of promises of work, we turned around and have started back onto the Coventry Canal.

Weaving our way through Tamworth and some gorgeous gardens on view

Setting off early in the morning, we dealt with the 2 locks on the outskirts of Tamworth, in order to miss the usual congestion which occurs there.

Fab plethora of gnomes (there must be a collective term for this phenomena?)  on this raised part of someone's garden

Tamworth was a delight, as always, to weave through as was the pretty village of Amington.

Brand new marina at Streethay called King's Orchard - might check out their winter mooring prices

We moored at Fazeley Junction, and decided to have a walk to the out of town shops on the edge of Tamworth, we had visited this time last year.  A good walk, but luckily we remembered to take the trolley!

Lovely butty called Kenneth - newly built with undercloth conversion, I suspect and hydraulic drive!

For our overnight mooring, we carried on to just past the village of Hopwas and spent a couple of days enjoying the peace and quiet.

Richard's brother's nickname

Blackberries everywhere, we spent lots of time gathering what was ready and then forgot to use them!  We wanted to get soem apples to go with them in a crumble and then forgot, durrr!

Me on the butty tiller, giving Martin some time off!

Fradley Junction was the destination for the weekend, in the hope that we could open the shop for the last time before we packed away for the winter.

The big boat in the junction lock at Fradley going downhill

Unfortunately, it was really quiet for the whole weekend and it wasn't just us, the Candy Boat reported the same downturn in visitors.  I think autumn must already be here!

View back towards the junction and The White Swan pub

Moorings at Fradley Junction

Martin is still recuperating after his fall off the stern of the boat whilst putting his bike on the roof at Alvecote.  He had broken his fall with his ribs it sounds like, but was adamant that his ribs felt fine, it was just bruising.  However, since then, every time he sneezes or coughs, the pain seems to come back with a vengence!  I think we should have insisted on getting him checked out, but hindsight etc....

Sunset at Alrewas

After dropping down the next 4 locks at Fradley, we moored outside the village of Alrewas, ready for supper of fish and chips from the Alrewas Fryer.  Very much looked forward to!

The A513 at Alrewas - much better with a bit of mist!

Martin has had confirmation of a welcome full time job in engineering in Tamworth, so we have turned around to go back in that direction on the Coventry Canal.  Myself and Richard can now base ourselves in that area for work for the winter and start thinking about what to do about the butty.........