Tuesday, 29 September 2009

September Cruise - Day Nineteen

We had a fairly relaxed start to the day as we knew we didn't have far to go. But we still found ourselves slipping away from our mooring in Stone at 8.30. There were two boats in front of us at the first lock, with nothing coming up. But in the two and a half miles to the next lock we passed ten boats going the other way. At Hoo Mill Lock, a motor and butty pair were coming up, and it was fascinating to see the butty being pulled into the lock on a very long line, slowed by opening a top paddle, and then towed away on a long line. Both the water points at Great Haywood were occupied, so we turned onto the Staffs and Worcs Canal, and moored at Tixall Wide. There were very few boats here, so we have a prime spot with a great view of the Elizabethan gatehouse on the far side of the wide.

We had lunch, then walked back to the junction and visited the farm shop and the shop in the village. Then we walked across Essex Bridge into the Shugborough Estate. At £12 each to go into the house, we decided to give it a miss; but we carried on up the footpath through the estate, which is now owned by the National Trust. It's a pleasant enough walk with some great views of the house, but the number of signs telling you not to do things is perhaps a little over the top.

10 miles, 4 locks. (228, 176)

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