25th April 2019
We moored up in Stone for a couple of days, just enough time to pick up some grocery shopping. The day starts off with some sunshine but the wind picks up and we do some cruising in the rain. We really haven't had time to explore the area as we are on a mission to get up to the Ribble Link. We stop at the boaters facilities and also pick up some diesel at the boatyard before continuing our journey North. We negotiate the Stone Locks followed by Meaford Locks, 8 in total before the landscape widens into some open fields. We pass under several lovely turnover bridges, which allowed the horses towing a boat to cross the canal when the tow path changed to the other side without unhitching. We are also rewarded with some lovely views of open countryside and carpets of bluebells.
We moor up at Barleston just as the heavens open with hailstones and thunder. We had travelled just 3 miles in 3.5 hours and stop before we had intended due to the the incoming weather.
Tuesday 23rd April
It's Easter weekend and we are moored up at the lovely Tixhall Wide and from there we walk into Great Haywood to explore the floating market. We have a look around the National Trust property Shugborough Hall. The grounds and mansion are open to the public and is marketed as "The Complete Working Historic Estate" which includes a working model farm museum dating from 1805 complete with a working water mill, kitchens and dairy. Its defiantly worth the visit and has an interesting history to lengthy to go into here.
We leave Tixhall wide and travel up to the end of the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and turn left at Great Haywood Junction towards Stone. After picking up some water at the services we continue our journey North. Passing Great Haywood Marina and negotiating the four locks up to Stone, we pass through Western upon Trent, Salt, Sandon and Little Stoke, the railway line running close to the canal here throughout. Even so the views are pretty and the canal is remote in many places with an air of peace and tranquility. We moor at Stone on the visitor moorings for the next two days where we have a parcel being delivered and to pick up some groceries.
Friday 19th April ( Good Friday)
We have spent some time in Otherton Marina in Penkridge while we go back to our friends by train to pick our car up and head back to Kent for a week. While in Kent we sell our caravan which has been sitting in storage for about a year. On our return we bring our grandchildren back with us and they spent a week on the boat. We leave the marina and take them out on a short cruise before returning them to Kent and return our car to our friends . We had a busy three weeks with trips to Monkey Forest and various play parks!!
We leave the marina and immediately meet up with the lovely Maggie and Ryan ( and of course Pixal) from Narrowboat Chef who cooked us a lovely meal and we spent great evening with them.
We leave Penkridge and have a lovely Good Friday cruise up to Tixhall Wide, we negotiate the six locks, and meet Narrowboat Ellis (friends from twitter ) on our way North. The M6 motorway crosses the canal at Wood Bank and runs parallel for several miles. The sounds of the motorway soon disappear and we are rewarded with some lovely views.
We moor up at the busy but beautiful Tixhall Wide where we stay for the Easter weekend.