Sunday, 11 September 2016

Through Alrewas to Fradley Junction

Friday 2nd September; Tatenhall lock to Fradley junction

We were expecting to hear an early start on the building site over the way but there was no activity, at least nothing noisy, when we left at our usual time around 9.  As you can see, the trees on the offside are doing a reasonable concealment job.  Dave is in the process of removing our mega-stake; the ground turned out to be plenty firm enough for normal pins fore and aft.

1 mooring above tatenhall lock

It was damp and drizzly when we left. We could hear industrial type noise as we pulled pins in the drizzle and it got louder and louder as we neared a working gravel pit near Barton.  The young willow growth is obscuring it rather, but the elevator, one of two, had a stream of gravel pouring from it onto that great heap.

2 gravel pit in operation

From here the racket from the A38 was with us all the way to Wychnor lock, where it finally roared away, though at the lock the conversation with the crew of the boat coming down still had to be shouted.  Relieved to be once more in the peace and quiet we entered the river section, still the Trent although rather smaller than downstream beyond Shardlow!  The towpath has several long raised boardwalks like this one.

3 trent river section near alrewas

There is a bridge on a bend part way along the river bit where the navigable arch is close by the right bank.  Ok, we may not have been in the perfect position, but we were already part way through when a canoeist suddenly decided to come through at the same time as us, and in avoiding making a sandwich of him with the bridge stanchion we ended up hard against the bank.  No chance of a photo, far too stressful!

We moored in Alrewas with no trouble as it was only 11 o’clock.  We went straight up to the excellent butcher and the Co-op before coming back to the boat for some lunch.  This week is Alrewas Art festival and there were jolly painted boards all over the place.

4 alrewas art festival 5 art

6 art  7 art

And on the cut-through back to the canal were some boaty ones too.

8 art  9 art

We had wondered about visiting the National Memorial Arboretum, but in the end decided to leave it for a future trip.  As we were preparing to leave, an oncoming boat indicated they would like our space – lucky for them we were going as there were no more spots available.

The road bridge as you leave Alrewas has artwork too.  We have seen the Olympic one before …. this is my favourite bit.  The words to the right of ‘The Queen’ and ‘Daniel Craig’ say ‘we’ve Bonded’!  Look closely and you’ll see he is riding in her handbag!

10 under bridge

This is on the towpath side – shame about the fence.

12 under bridge

Boats were at all the locks on the way to Fradley junction, but all were coming down so only short delays and half the work for us.  As we waited for Keeper’s lock at Alrewas I could see that there was a lot of mooring available on the way to the junction, but with roads on both sides we opted to go round onto the Coventry canal where it is much better for the dog.  Junction lock was our last one for the day.

14 junction lock fradley

We had our pick of the mooring and went to the far end of the piling, although by the time we walked up to the Swan for a drink it was rammed all the way back to the water point and in front of us too.

6 and a half miles, 8 locks, 1 teeny tiny swing bridge

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