|Harry winds through the rural Staff & Worcs|
It took us much of the day to weave our way along its route as it follows the sinuous river valleys past Stafford and beyond. On the way it rewarded us with some delightful scenery but some frustrating times too.
The first stretch past the famous Tixall wide and along the valley of the River Sow is stunning. The morning was bright and brilliantly sunny: it could have been midsummer apart from the chilly breeze. But too soon we were reminded of the silty shallowness of so much of the canal as we trickled slowly along, churning silt and leaf mulch as we went. The bridges are narrower than on the T&M, too, and a couple of times we were dragged close to the side of an arch by the thick silt. Anxious moments as I whipped the chimney off before the bridge did it for me!
There's no town to speak of on this part of the canal – Stafford is nearby but from the nearest bridge it is still over a mile away. Nor is it a busy canal - at least not today - we saw just three moving craft in the whole day.
|The dredging team at Great Haywood|
|And the results: offside re-edged and infilled with dredged material|
|Evidence of more work: neatly trimmed hedge on the S&W|
Tonight we are moored at the little market town of Penkridge and thankfully hidden from its noise, though we still haven't shaken off its presence on the canal. It's market day at Penkridge tomorrow and there's an auction sale too. Maybe we'll find some badly needed armchairs for the boat.