Particularly for the Aussies reading, a little bit of background information: The Four Counties Ring consists of several canals; The Trent and Mersey, The Staffs and Worcester, The Shropshire Union (SUC) and The Middlewich Branch of the SUC (Currently closed because of a breach). Die-hards will tell you the Ring also includes The Wardle Canal, the shortest canal on the 'system' at 154 feet in length but generally it is accepted as part of the Middlewich Branch. Around 200 year ago it would have mattered much more because a boat company would have paid to use it.
Saw this boat along the way, with four ducks penned. We got to Gailey and after pumping out the holding tank at the hire boat base we pushed across the canal on to the water point for a fill. A guy arrived on a quad bike with a trailer full of 25 litre water bottles who turned out to be the owner of the boat with the duck pen. Turns out they are domestic ducks and he is still waiting for his first eggs after three months. Didn't ask how he transports them when he has to move, could be interesting, visions of Noah's Ark come to mind!
Serafina heading through Gailey Lock next to the distinctive round house, our mooring was just below the lock.
Gailey is the start of a run of locks so our trip to Penkridge took us just over two hours and included five locks. It was a two day stay in Penkridge, giving me time for some filling and sanding as well as a trip to Cannock. Rachael was after a DVD and the nearest Amazon Locker was at Morrison's Supermarket at Cannock which was only a twenty minute bus ride from Penkridge. We've found ourselves using Amazon Lockers a lot during this trip, it's worked out great for spares, dvds and books. An interesting feature of the old centre of Cannock was the bowling Green, there since at least 1753.
Moored just down from us was The Candy Boat with plenty of wares, it was hard to pass with stopping for a bite to eat.
We had to show quite a bit of restraint!
A very short run after our two days in Penkridge saw us mooring across from Midland Chandlers in around an hour and one lock later. It was time to redo the bow and stern fenders and having the chandler right across from our mooring for parts was invaluable. Most of the metal parts of the bow fender required replacing and the whole thing needed re-centreing. The bow fender also needed most of the metal parts replacing and lifting up around 20cm higher. This is the finished job.
We have kept most of our cruising to two hours a day and using a lot of moorings we had previously passed but never used, mooring outside The Radford Bank Inn was another of those moorings. It is right on the outskirts of Stafford around half an hour walk to the Waterside Retail Park near the town centre, we passed two other retail parks along the way. The one below was handy, less than 10 minutes from our mooring. The moorings here were quiet and the pub had a good carvery.
Our last stop on the Staffs and Worcester Canal, Tixall Wides, one of our favourites. Lots of bird life, lots of water and short walk into Great Haywood for the essentials. As soon as we moored we took a walk to the farm shop, we bought lamb although it was expensive it was nice, the strawberries tasted beautiful.
|Serafina moored at Tixall Wides|
|Heron at Tixall Wides|