I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Friday 21 October 2011

Thursday 20th October

We both woke up early this morning so I got up to make a cup of tea and witnessed a beautiful sunrise – unfortunately the photos didn’t come out very well :-) I nearly tripped over a huge mouse that Millie had left for us! It’s quite rare that we get a whole one but I’ve been saying to her recently when we have gone off to the shops that I would try and buy her a mouse – I think this morning’s offering was to say “forget it I’ll get my own”! We stopped at Haywood Junction for water and I walked to the Canal Side Farm Shop, I wondered if it would be any good but it was amazing! It had a wonderful array of fruit and veg, delicatessen and butchers as well as homemade cakes, jams, breads – I could go on for ever! I had been looking for something to put my eggs in and found a lovely little basket :-) (I love baskets!) We also walked into Great Haywood which is a lovely village right on Shugborough’s doorstep. The bridge in the photo is Essex Bridge is a Grade I listed packhorse bridge over the River Trent. It was built in 1550 by the Earl of Essex for Queen Elizabeth I so that when she visited the estate she could go hunting in the woodland around the local village. It is now the longest remaining packhorse bridge in England with 14 of its original 40 span arches left. We will go back to Great Haywood and spend a bit more time there at some stage. We were soon passing through Rugeley with the four cooling towers of the power station looming over us. Rugeley seemed to be pleasant but it was all done on tick-over as there were so many moored boats at the bottom of gardens. Between Rugeley and Armitage (where the Armitage Shanks factory is) is a strange rocky cutting which used to be the site of Armitage Tunnel or Plum Pudding Tunnel but mining subsidence necessitated opening out of the tunnel to what it is today. Before we knew where we were we had arrived at King’s Bromley Marina but decided to carry on to Fradley Junction so that we can say that we have completed the whole of the Trent & Mersey Canal! We had three locks to do but then found there was no mooring at Fradley so went back through two of them and moored up for the night.

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