Another nice sunny day. We set off at about 8.15. The stretch from Hopwas to Fradley Junction always seems to take much longer than it should, and today was no exception. The canal was busy, and we also stopped off at King's Orchard Marina for good priced diesel -- 61p per litre domestic. On the way, we had a brief chat with Al, who was waiting for a hire can at Huddlesford Junction. It was nearly 12 when we got to Fradley, and Adrian got off to swing the bridge, and take some photos of me turning left at the junction.
We were now on the Trent and Mersey, and the next one mile and three locks took the best part of two hours, as we had a few boats in front of us. After that, the number of boats around seemed to drop dramatically. At Armitage, we passed the Armitage Shanks factory; normally there are pallets of loos waiting for distribution, but there seemed to be very little in stock today, so I was unable to take the bog standard photo and make the bog standard joke. I did like the sign on the perimeter fence, though.
At the former tunnel at Plum Pudding, Adrian walked ahead to make sure nothing was coming the other way. It's very narrow, hewn out of rock, and thanks to the road over head, virtually is a tunnel again.
We carried on through Rugeley and over the aqueduct over the Trent. After that, Cannock Chase looms up ahead.
Colwich Lock is one of the prettiest anywhere, thanks to the lovely cottage alongside.
We went up Haywood Lock, then at the junction with the Staffs and Worcester turned left under the Junction Bridge.
The reason was that we'd arranged to meet Jaq and Marilyn and David who were moored at Tixall Wide. There was a space almost big enough right next to them, and no sooner had we tied up that there was bubbles and nibbles on the towpath.
Marilyn then provided us with a very nice dinner, accompanied by huge amounts of laughter. That explains why this blog is so late! Tomorrow we'll turn and head back to the Trent and Mersey.
21 miles, 5 locks. (94 miles, 42 locks)