Thursday, 12 June 2014

Polesworth to Fazeley Junction

It was an early start because we woke early! Smile

The first thing we noticed on today’s cruise was the excellent condition of the towpath between Polesworth and Fazeley.  Can it be the local councils are maintaining it?  The path is certainly popular with the locals who were walking, jogging and cycling along it.  There appeared to be good mooring spots all along the route.  We must remember when next this way to moor on the north side of Polesworth.

Just an example of the condition of the towpath

The cruise was largely uneventful until we reached Glascote Top Lock where two boats were waiting to go down.  I remember these locks from our 2005 holiday.  There was a long queue of boats waiting to go up (and we were one of them!).  I recall an old working boat coming down towing a butty.  On board was a gaggle of scouts.  You could hear them before you saw them; all cheerfully chattering away like a parliament of baboons.

The boat ahead of us (nb Celtic Pride) had been a showboat at Crick this year and was being returned to Mercia Marina.

We filled the water tank at the tap above the top lock whilst waiting for our turn.  To my surprise there were two boats waiting to go down in the short pound below the top lock and another boat was entering the bottom lock to come up.

I suggested to Jan that she not raise the paddles on the lock until she observed the people in the bottom lock raise their paddles.  That way the water we released would go into their lock.  Well that was my theory!

The only reason for the above photo is to point out the Mio GPS unit on the hatch cover.  I’m finding the Waterways Routes canal maps very useful.  They are more accurate than our Pearson’s Guides and being a gps I know exactly where we are.  The only issue is with the 12V power cable.  The socket is inside Waiouru which means we have that long extension cord to the Mio.  Jan bought a 12V waterproof external socket and I need to find a suitable location somewhere around the instrument panel.  I’ll find a solution.

Glascote Top Lock has another of those lovely cottages adjacent to the lock.  It probably didn’t look nearly as picturesque 150 years ago.

There was quite a surprise when Jan opened the bottom lock gates.  Where had all those boats come from?

In 2005 the queue went under the bridge and around the corner.  I recall it took us several hours in the queue to reach the bottom lock.  Obviously a ‘choke point’.

A little further on we passed over the Thame Aqueduct.

This would be the same River Thame we passed over on a very high aqueduct last year when doing some of the BCN.

To our surprise we found all the 7 day moorings just before Fazeley Junction vacant.  But then it was only 1.30pm. 

Earlier we’d had to make a decision whether to moor above Glascote Locks with access to Tamworth Town Centre or carry on to the junction where there is access to the Venture Retail Park with Sainsbury’s, Asda, Homebase, etc.  In the end Jan decide on Sainsbury’s. 

Around the corner is Fazeley Junction and some redevelopment has taken place since we were last this way.

We turn left and go under the bridge on our way to Birmingham.  Going straight ahead takes you past Peel Wharf which has also undergone some redevelopment.

It was a circular walk to the retail park going along the towpath towards Fradley Junction and then heading up a sealed footpath towards the shops.  The return route was down Fazeley Road and the footpath joined the towpath immediately behind our mooring.

Later in the afternoon an elderly couple moored immediately in front of us.  However they didn’t stay long….. Jan flushed the toilet!  Smile  I should mention this has never happened to me…..

Jan here……. Balderdash and poppycock.  He’s back on recreational chemicals!

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