80. Rain, Drone Crash & Wasps on Staff & Worc Canal

Good morning. I wasn’t going to travel
today but it’s always the way, whenever there’s rain forecast, it doesn’t rain. At Great Hayward I’ll leave the Trent &
Mersey Canal in the rain and join the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal.
My route curves around Weeping Cross where to the northwest is the town of
Stafford. I’ll moor up just around the corner from Stafford Boat Club for the
night. Then i’ll continue south neighbouring the
busy M6 motorway and through the market town of Penkridge winding my way past
Gaily Bridge and Hatherton Marina. I’ll then moor up just before
Moat House Bridge. [Music] So I’m at Little Haywood now. The rain
has continued. Now, some people will laugh at the fact that Molly stays on the back
of the boat with me. Now, whenever she’s inside and I’m traveling, she has a
right old fuss. She sits right up at the front door and she’s puffing and panting and
she dribbles all over the floor. Basically, because she wants to be out on
the stern with me. She really doesn’t mind getting wet, it’s not a particularly
cold day today and I’m sure she will enjoy a good rubdown with a towel later. [Music] Everything is very damp and all the
clothing’s wet and Molly’s wet. Well that’s the last lock on the Trent &
Mersey for me. Just up ahead at Great Haywood I’m gonna be turning left onto
this Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and that will take me all the way
down to the River Severn. Okay, so the trick is to pivot the point at the
middle of the boat. If you try turning too soon, well, no.
It’s more than a 95 degree turn I must say. It’s more like 100, 110. It sort of
doubles back on yourself. Let’s see. Yes I did it. Hard thrust of Alice and
I’ve been able to swing round and avoid all that Anglo-welsh narrowboats that
are ready to be hired which are all sticking out in the water and haven’t touched
anything, which I’m really surprised at. I love it when canals turn into
aqueducts and water goes over water. Up until now, I’ve been heading sort of
northwest towards Stafford but just at this corner it now turns with Weeping
Cross on the left the river and then Stafford on the other side of the valley
and now I’m heading south. [Music] This really is what narrowboating is all
about. Waking up to a fantastic views like this really early in the morning
and setting off for a day. [Music] This is really nice to see, the banks of
the canal covered in lots and lots of different types of wildflowers and the
really good thing is, is the Canal and River Trust, or whoever they employ to
cut the glass, hasn’t cut them all down. They’ve cut the grass bits but not where
the flowers are, it’s a really pretty. [Music] Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had
quite a lot of comments asking me how I plan my journeys. Are there maps, are
there guides. Well yes there are. A guide that you’ll
find on a lot of norrowboat holidays is the Pearson Canal Companion guide. It’s a
map, it’s artistically drawn and that gives a really good analysis of the
canal that you’re traveling on. It will give you all of the bridges and the
local amenities and the things of interest to go and look at. I have used
those but I prefer a more of a map style and I use the Collins Nicholson
Waterways Guide. There’s a whole range of different books, I will include all these
books in the description below but the Collins guides are more ordnance survey
style maps and they give a slightly wider picture around the canals.
Important for me whilst I’m driving because I need to know roads and towns,
and where I can park the car. So those are the two map type of books. There are
lots of others, but those are the two ones that I’ve used. Now online, I
whenever I’m planning a journey I will first of all look at the Canal & River
Trust map. I will then look at the Canal & River Trust stoppages map which
gives a good indication of lock closures, maintenance, things where they’ve had to
stop the navigation or stop the towpath. If I want to find out how long it’ll
take me to get from A to B on a canal including locks, including flows of river
and that sort of thing, I use a website called CanalPlanAC. I’ll put a link in
the description also. You can put various different locations in and you can put
waypoints and all sorts and it’ll give you a very accurate I found time and
itinerary. You can print them off and it will also integrate with the Canal &
River Trust and tell you about stoppages, it’s very good website.
And then the last thing I will use is good old Google Maps. I will use the
satellite map to zoom in on different areas where can I moor. Where has armco,
which is this metal railing you can just about see that on some Google maps. Where
I can park the car. Where I can get the car close to the boat. So I use a mixture
of both paper and online maps. Just coming around the corner there and
there were lots of high weeds, these weeds and there was another boat coming
in the opposite direction. So that was a really good opportunity for me to use my
horn. I’m not one of these people that will use the horn all the time. I’m just
aware of other boat, they might be having a nice lie in. I didn’t want to wake them
up but this boat was quite a lot on to my side and I didn’t know if they’d seen
me. So I gave two little tiny blasts of the horn. It’s not an aggressive blast
like a big ‘brrrr’ would for me, because be classed as a bit of aggressive and I don’t
want to be that. I just wanted to alert them, the fact that I was there and true enough,
they didn’t really realise I was there and as soon as they could hear my horn,
they moved over. So this lock is quite interesting.
There’s no bollard for you two moor up on. So if you’re solo navigating and you
have to leave the boat in the windy conditions to operate the lock,
anything could happen to it. So I’ve got to keep an eye on the boat as well as
the lock on this one. [Music] Oh dear. Poor Molly. She was lying on the
towpath eating a stick and she just so happened to lie on top of I think, a
wasp’s nest and she started running around. You know when dogs have flies or
something that land on them and they sort of go a bit mad, she was running
around and there was a wasp on her head, and one on her back, and one on her leg.
They weren’t doing anything, they were just sort of sitting there. So I came
over and flicked them off but she went up and down in a bit of ‘whoooo’. She’s
perfectly fine. She’s just a little bit wary of coming back out on the towpath
this evening. Anyway, I’ve moored up. It’s been a long day’s cruising today.
There were some very dark rain clouds right behind me for most of the
afternoon and I was thinking shall I moor up – shall I not, shall I moor
up – shall I not and I’m pleased I didn’t, because I found this perfect place. She’s
going over to where the wasps are>’Molly’, come on, at this end, they’ll only attack
you. Yeah I’ll show you them in a second but I’m pleased I’ve moored up here.
It’s extremely quiet, lovely countryside you wouldn’t think that I’m just north
of Wolverhampton but I’m gonna moor up here for the night and I’m gonna see if
I can get some nice time-lapse, and probably do some editing and watch
a bit of telly. But until next time, see you later.


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