The end of a great week on board Rodbaston.
I was joined for the bank holiday weekend by Stu, Kim, Jo and 9 year old Adam. After getting on board on Friday evening, we head north up the Macc for a short distance to the nearest winding hole where we turned and returned to moor near the marina, for dinner in the pub.
Next morning we were off to Harecastle and through the tunnel. Lunch was taken just after Westport Lakes then we were off onto the Caldon Canal. Up through the deep staircase locks and we were off along the narrow and windy Caldon. The first part is pretty industrial, but as time goes on it gets narrower, windier (is that a word?) and more beautiful. We stopped at Hanley Park – it’s got great facilities for kids and Adam was able to let off a bit of steam. Moored overnight at Milton and went in search of a pub for food that was also ‘kid friendly’. The nearest pubs weren’t suitable but we were pointed to a pub up on the main ‘A’ road which did good food (huge portions) and had a bouncy castle and other play areas.
Next day we carried on through the Stockton locks and on to the junction in the canal. We took the Leek Branch, winded just before the bridge and moored. It’s an easy walk from here over the aqueduct and down to the Hollybush pub. Had a great Sunday lunch sat outside; but it’s a very popular pub and we did well to get in early. By the time we left, the queue was out of the door!
Kim and Jo were working on Tuesday, so this was half way through their trip and we started back from whence we came. We ended up mooring at Milton again and visiting the same pub for dinner. Well, familiarity makes things simple!
Next day we were up early to make progress back as we had to get through the tunnel so that Jo and Kim could get back to their cars. Well, I was up early and set off – everyone else got up eventually! We had breakfast at Hanley Park, then it was back down through the staircase locks. Some boaters going up asked if we had had any problems coming through Milton as they had heard reports of kids throwing stones. Well, having moored their the last two nights, we were glad not to have had any problems. We were amazed to hear the stories of another boat coming down behind us, who said that on their way up there had been someone sat by the locks taking pot-shots with an air-rifle!
We were making reasonable progress so stopped to eat pizza (cooked on board) at Westport lakes. We were intrigued by a chap sitting playing the most bizzare instrument – a round thing with holes in it which he patted with his hands. Unfortunately I’ve completely forgotten what it was called! After lunch we went on, through the tunnel and eventually back to the marina.
Stuart and Adam didn’t have to get home, so were going to stay another night and go and visit Manchester United’s ground at Old Trafford before returning home the next day. So we dropped Kim and Jo at their car at the marina and continued up to Congleton. Kim and Jo met us there and we all went for a curry. The moorings at Congleton Wharf had all filled up by the time we got there, so we went over the aqueduct and moored on pins just past it. After eating Jo and Kim headed off and we returned to the boat.
Next day we returned to the marina from where Stu and Adam departed in their car, and I waited for friends to arrive. The rest of the week was very lazy just tootling up the Macc to north of Buglawton and back. Unfortunately we had a drive plate failure on Wednesday evening and so spent Thursday having it changed for a more ‘industrial’ version more suited to the 43hp engine on Rodbaston.
Fortunately we were fairly close to the marina so it was a short trip back once the work was complete, just in time to fuel up and get a pump out before the marina closed.
A great week with fantastic weather. I’ve had three weeks on Rodbaston this year, and all have been great weather. Considering the wet summer and all of the flooding I’ve been really lucky. It doesn’t usually work out like that for me, so I’ve made the most of it