It’s been the safest place to be!
The last two weeks have been so busy with boats! We have taken our time getting from Hazlehurst Junction on The Caldon to Cannock on The Trent and Mersey – a total of 55 lock miles which a boater on holiday, doing 3 miles an hour and cruising for an average of 5 hours a day, would probably do in 3 or 4 days!
To be fair, like most other boaters it would seem, we cleared Stoke fairly quickly. The city of Stoke-on-Trent confuses me! Certainly from the canals I can’t quite work out where it starts and where it stops! On The Caldon near Etruria, there are two ways of looking at it – either an area of sad dereliction or an area of massive regeneration. All the old factories are being demolished but being replaced with some rather nice housing. Some old kilns have, thankfully, been safe-guarded amongst it all.
Having cleared Stoke our next stop was the village of Barlaston. One of our walks took us by the rather modern little church. The daughter of some long-standing friends of ours is in charge! We felt very proud to see her name displayed on the board.
Having been unable to stop in Stone on the way up, we were keen to do so on the way back. No chance! It was jam packed solid with moored boats. There’s lots of mooring available so ………………………? Anyway, we were forced to keep going and did so until reaching Burston which we discovered to be an absolutely delightful little village. The Greyhound Pub is a short walk up from the canal and looked very nice. We walked up to the little church in Sandon Park from where there are fabulous views across the Upper Trent Valley and, on another occasion walked the area of Hopton Heath – more lovely views. We came across the village of Salt and the very pretty Holly Bush Inn.
We have found Staffordshire to be a very large, diverse county. Before travelling around on “Ellen” we weren't even really aware of the county of Staffordshire! BUT, it fraternises with lots of different canals which give access to many beautiful natural areas and some lovely towns and villages.
The city of Lichfield is really nice too – the masonry on the cathedral is just fabulous.
On reaching Great Haywood it was no surprise to find the junction very busy with boats. It’s such a lovely area and, if the HS2 does eventually go ahead, will be completely dissected by it. It upsets me to think about it so how the local residents must feel probably can’t be put into words. Central to the area is the National Trust owned Shugborough Estate where there is the mansion house, county museum, gardens and a park farm. What impact will the HS2 have on them I wonder? The area around the old packhorse bridge – known as Essex Bridge – was thoroughly enjoyed by a certain young spaniel who is upholding the well-established notion that her breed enjoys the water:-
Making the most of the dry, warm weather we have also been up on Cannock Chase a couple of times and a certain young spaniel thought that was rather good too:-
Every time we go up there I’m surprised at just how quiet it is. I’m sure it is full of birds but you hardly ever hear a sound! The most prolific species seen are cyclists on their mountain bikes!
This Small Copper butterfly was a much rarer sight.
And finally ……………
love and protect your generator!!!!! Not us I hasten to add but it’s given John something else to think about!