It was great to catch up with some familiar faces in Stone, a favourite canal town as so much of the proper old boatyness remains including Canal Cruising and Stone Boat Builders. After a lovely stop at the bottom of the car park we eventually dropped through Star Lock, filled with water and were gone. The journey down to Great Haywood is layer on layer of countryside and cows, with pretty brick bridges chopping the canal here and there. A funny feeling passing Aston Marina as it’s where this whole adventure began, the boat was moored there when we bought it.
The junction was busy with hire boats practically toppling under the weight of masses clambering onto the roofs. A little further down, Shugborough Hall made a fine view last night. We seem to be flip-flop cruising with a gang of historic boats heading for a rally in Alvecote, many seem to be early risers – moving at 6am probably involves engine running before 8am?
After a quick trip to what seems the now non-existent post office in Little Haywood we moved on to Rugeley, a boaters’ paradise with Tesco and Morrisons and Aldi just a stones throw from the canal. This morning had been wet and chilly so the stove was ticking over, by the time we were back onboard the sun was out and a part roast Murk greeted us with a smile.
A dreary start turned into a glorious evening so we drifted on, through what used to be the Armitage Tunnel, past the Armitage Shanks factory where some mass cistern smashing was taking place, then on, through fields of corn.
Other than the alcohol induced West Sussex and a scratch happy Herefordshire the counties travelled map is going well – thank you SFR!