Sunday, 17 August 2008

Summer Cruise - Kingsbury to Alrewas

Wednesday 6th August 2008
Kingsbury (on Birmingham and Fazeley Canal) to Alrewas (Trent and Mersey Canal)
Through just one more lock on the Curdworth Flight in the morning, and then several lock free miles towards Fazeley Junction where we would be turning right and onto the Coventry Canal to be heading home. Alan doesn't like steering miles of canal without locks, so I steered, and as often happens had the opportunity to chat to David about all sorts of ideas as we continued north-east. At Fazeley Junction I limped into the town for some supplies, and another elastic bandage for my knee, as well as some more painkillers. Alan and David refilled the water tank.

Then, instead of heading south-east, as we had planned, and should really have done, we turned left and headed north-west towards Fradley Junction (you can use the link on the right to Jim Shead's canal maps). Michael was expecting us home, but in our phone calls he seemed to be getting on perfectly well without us. Somehow we seemed to be doing "the Leicester Ring".

There are a lot of lock free miles, then you arrive at Fradley Junction, by the Swan Inn, a famous pub, often known as the 'Mucky Duck'.
We worked down through 5 locks and ended up in Alrewas, a charming village. We moored right next to the church, and as the sun was shining we decided to explore the church and churchyard.
The church has some very old parts, and some remains of wall paintings, but what surprised us most was the age of the pulpit (1638) and table (1639) - pre-civil war. The church door seemed to be 1627.
The churchyard had some very old gravestones (about 250 years), and many people seemed to have lived to great ages. But even more surprising was the huge number of gravestones set all around the churchyard - we've seen this before, but never this number of stones. We presume that when space became short the stones were moved and the ground re-used, but we don't know.
Our walk around the churchyard was curtailed by a short sharp shower of rain, so we went back to the boat, and then decided immediately to go to the nearest pub. Walking in Alan asked "What beers have you got?", the reply was "Grolsch", "No thank you", said Alan and we walked out. The next nearest pub was a walk back across town, and my knee was quite painful, we were on the point of turning back when we found the pub. We sat in front of the pub, watching the local women arriving for a fitness class at a local hall.
On the way back to the boat we walked past the pub, and there, in the side garden was a magnificent owl with her owners. She's called Mo, and is an Indian Eagle Owl. She's 7 years old, and may live some considerable time more - that's an interesting inheritance to be left! We passed her again the next day sitting on the back of a boat, so she's presumably a well known 'canal character'. The Post Box in the background is trompe d'oeil.
Daily Total: Kingsbury to Alrewas (Trent & Mersey)16.28 miles, 6 locks
Running Total: 214.7 miles, 264 locks, 15 tunnels


MortimerBones said...

love the owl!

Cath said...

She was fabulous - with a very sharp beak which she clicked menacingly at strange dogs. She really could turn her neck right round through 360 degree too. But clock the gloves the owner was wearing. Cath