Great Haywood – Hopwas
Not many locks or social engagements today, just a steady chug along the Trent & Mersey and then on to the Coventry.
A slept in his sling as I walked the towpath to work the few locks there were, but mostly we stayed in and got on with things like finding homes for all the baby things and doing the handwashing of baby stuff and underwear (we do have a washing machine on board but not the power to run it until we have our shore line).
Trentham – Great Haywood
We had stopped above Trentham Lock so got through that first with the help of a random bloke on a bike! By the time we arrived at the top of Meaford I had BoatBaby ready to go in his buggy seat and we set off lockwheeling. Unfortunately friends who had hoped to help werent able to make it. But we still made good progress. I worked locks with A in the buggy sleeping.
I worked out some rules for myself to make sure he was safe:
- Brake on when I am not rocking the buggy even if its flat.
- Park on flattest surface, at least 2m or so away from edge.
- Never park buggy in swing of lock beam even if it can’t move yet.
- Face A away from lock gear in case of flying windlasses
I wanted to make sure he would be safe if I needed to do something like run and drop a paddle.
He made it until the last lock (Star) when he got hungry, so I sat on a pub bench and fed him while the lock filled (I love how convenient breastfeeding is)
Once tied up at the bottom of Stone locks we met up with a friend and her baby, who is just 2 days older than A and went for proper Staffordshire oatcakes!
Then onwards towards Great Haywood and A slept most of the way but had a knack for waking up demanding to be fed just before a lock so I couldn’t be very helpful.
Congleton – Trentham
Lovely sunny day for our first full day’s boating
James is effectively singlehanding while I look after BoatBaby inside. But I do hope to do some steering in between feeds (as A is breastfeeding) and if he is happy in the buggy, some lock working too. So when friends Alison, Rupert and their son Peter offered to help with the Stoke locks after school we abandoned our plan to stop at Etruria and instead went all the way through to Trentham.
Lindsay and Keppel at Etruria
Our last blog had us arrive at Bollington ready to start work at the boatyard. As we were so busy at the yard, blogging rather fell down the priority list! We had a great couple of years at the yard, we both learned a lot but then someone came along who rather changed our plans!
We initially planned to stay at the yard with BoatBaby aka A, but after a lot of thought we decided to move away, as James had been offered skippering work in London that would mean I could stay at home with our little boy at first. Plus we had always wanted to try London boat life and have friends there.
A was born on 7th Feb and we all stayed at my mum’s for his first 6 weeks. But on Sat 23rd March we moved back onto the boat to begin our journey South. A’s first boat trip!
On Saturday we said goodbye to our colleagues & friends from Macclesfield then on Sunday the voyage really began!
We had 7 lock workers to help us down Bosley and A slept in his buggy the whole way. Hopefully we have help sorted for the rest of the flights, but the more the merrier and if we are passing we would love to see you! Our route is via Braunston.
We tied up on the embankment at Congleton overnight, what a beautiful spot. We had always wanted to stop there.
553 miles, 449 locks
After a wet morning boating through Macclesfield we finally made it home!
Here’s Willow on our new mooring at Bollington Wharf.
Please do stop by for all your boating requirements (coal, diesel, gas, oils, pump out, elsan, water plus boat maintenance and repair, steelwork, emergency call outs) or just to say hi!
16 miles, 13 locks
We set off in convoy from Etruria with some of the Bollington fleet: Jason on Bargus and Brian on Alton.
Then it was through Harecastle tunnel and onto the Macclesfield Canal at Red Bull junction.
Crossing the Trent and Mersey canal (Bargus went underneath)
I cycled off to give Jason a hand through the first few locks then back to Willow. On the Macclesfield Canal proper now we loved the views from our beautiful new home waterway.
Passing Brian on Alton as he was servicing a boat
Then we got to the flight at Bosley and were glad of a hand from Ann-Marie and Jason! It’s a spectacular flight with views of Bosley Cloud.
We tied up at the top at about 9:45pm and went for a drink with the Bollington lot.
8 miles, 10 locks
An afternoon’s boating to get to the Etruria canal festival in Stoke-on-Trent.
Setting off with traditional flowers on the cabin top.
We had booked in to the festival since it was on just as we were passing through so it seemed a shame not to join in! Plus most of the Bollington fleet was there too (Bargus and Alton). We are tied up just below the staircase locks. Friday evening was the traditional boaters fish and chips followed by a visit to the Holy Inadequate pub down the road.
Today we spent doing a bit of fender making and visiting the museum, which was running the steam engine for the weekend. The engine was used to crush flint and bone for the Potteries.
Willow is third boat along
10 miles 8 locks
I had to work this morning but at 12pm we set off along the Trent and Mersey canal. It was extremely busy, with queues at all the locks but the lovely weather and the beautiful canal made up for it.
Now we are tied up in Stone opposite our friend’s yard above Lime Kiln lock ready to get to Etruria tomorrow.
10 miles, 5 locks
Another evening cruise, through a few locks and the beautiful Tixall Wide.
A Willow pattern china pig in the window of the lock cottage at Tixall
We tied up on the Trent and Mersey just north of Great Haywood junction.
2 miles, 6 locks
A short hop after work to Penkridge to get a bit further as we are now heading to Etruria for the festival next weekend.
We had dinner at Flames in Penkridge, a really good curry place.