Plop! 4th June

Alrewas Lock to Kings Orchard Marina, Coventry Canal

Pushing off just a touch earlier than yesterday we weren’t the first to move by any means but we did miss out on any queues that might form later in the day.


Alrewas is such a pretty place with it’s half timbered buildings and thatched roofs. On the narrow stretch it was a relief to see that the boat on the off side was no longer there, the house recently sold. Sadly I couldn’t find the details to have a nosy.

Bagnall Lock

Bagnall Lock despite it’s new (to us) gate beams still doesn’t want the gates to stay shut, luckily Mick had equipped himself with the boat hook to hold them closed for our second attempt.

A lockdown boat

A greeting came from NB Bridge Street as we passed. They had been one of the boats around Nantwich and Hurleston in the first lockdown last year. I wonder who else we’ll come across this summer?

Fradley Marina is under construction close to Common Lock, the pontoons already numbered. We wondered where the entrance would be, only to find it with a digger moving earth around and a chap stood by the stop planks, still a while before the marina gets connected to the canal system.


We swapped with a boat coming down and headed on up to Hunts Lock, here the first volunteer greeted us, each lock manned at Fradley and advance warning radioed up to the next lock.

Pulling in at the services the café was quite busy. A chap sat with his head in the clouds whilst waiting for his water tank to fill, here is a very slow tap and he’d already enjoyed a cooked breakfast from the café. Fortunately we were only after emptying our yellow water tank and dispose of the rubbish.

Mick got out the adapter and hose connectors for the wee pump whilst I got everything ready inside. Plop! “Oh BUgger!!!” What had gone in the drink? If it was the lid that would be quite easy to replace, but the adaptor would be a problem!

Sure enough it was the adaptor. Time to get magnet fishing and hope that something on it was magnetic. A few dips into the gloom of the canal and fortunately it resurfaced, a jubilee clip coming to our aid. I think we’ll be adding a few more to the adaptor before too long. Now with everything we needed we could pump out the last few days worth of yellow water to dispose of in the elsan.

The lockie at Junction Lock was absent, but the locks are really easy so I just carried on until she returned. Gongoozlers watched our ascent, one little boy being quite disappointed that we’d finished as the gates opened. A lady from an on coming boat had come to help and as the Lockie made a comment about there being a butty with the boat I realised why the ladies face seemed familiar.

Three ducks

The little lad seemed to perk up when I said that the next boat had an extra boat in tow and inside that boat I was pretty sure it would be filled with jam!

Passing Andy Tidy

Unfortunately I couldn’t remember Helen’s name at the time and we’ve never met and we were now at the point where a conversation would have got in the way of a lot of boats as two were holding back at the swing bridge waiting for us to exit the lock and turn onto the Coventry Canal. She acknowledged that I was correct about the jam just before I headed round the corner to hop back on board, Mick turning as Andy Tidy brought NB Wand’ring Bark and the Jam Butty into the lock.

Obligatory photo

One of the lockies had made a comment that we were taking the easy route by turning down the Coventry, lock free cruising for 14.4 miles. Well after the miles we’ve done in the last week and a bit, we’re allowed an easy day!

Narrow garden to the left

Now on the flat we were on the look out for places to moor. Passing the garden that gets narrower and narrower until a railway line pushes it into none existence. Fields of wheat rippling in the breeze. Streethay Wharf where the diesel is 86p a litre. Here the canal thankfully turns away from the A38 and starts to make it’s way across country towards Fazeley Junction. So far no sign of HS2 handily shown on Waterway Routes maps.

A place we’ve stopped before is Kings Orchard Marina, armco either side of the entrance, we pulled in calling it a day before lunchtime. Tilly was given a couple of extra rules due to our proximity to car parking on the other side of the hedge. Luckily no car would be going fast as the gravel seemed to be quite noisy and would put a curious cat off nosing around too much.


I finished my illustration, scanned it and printed out a couple of copies, then walked down to Hudlesford Junction where a post box sat by a pub ready to receive my offerings. The day had become much hotter than we’d thought it would.

Fender sorting

Mick clambered onto the bow to adjust our bow fenders whilst Tilly did her best to find some shade. The lower fender had maybe been a touch too low for river cruising, so Mick had removed it for the last few days. Now we are back on the canals and narrow locks it would be better if it was back on the bow to help protect the paintwork.

Attached together, heavy!

The anchor, chain and rope were all given a dip in the canal and then laid out to dry before being put back in the bucket all ready for deployment the next time. However, the next time won’t be for a while so it will all be stowed in a locker, making more space in the well deck.

5 locks, 5.6 miles, 1 left, 1 swung bridge, 1 magnet find, 1 empty wee tank, 1 jam filled boat, 6 hours Tilly time, 2 cards posted, 1 parrot walk, 1 clean anchor, chain and rope, 1 muddy locker lid still, 0 reusable blocks!

Thumbs up!

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