Friday, 28 June 2013

Graffiti Pt6 - Canals

From Sandon to Stoke-On-Trent

The next morning was cloudy and cold. I had been told that it was going to start raining in the afternoon, so I decided to get through Stone to the Wedgwood Museum, spend a day there and go on a camp site nearby in the evening. Unfortunately the camp site didn´t exist any more so I ended up in the nice B&B The White House in Stoke-On-Trent. It is really in old english style, and Joe, the owner, is friendly and has a lot to tell about the region and its culture. He offered to wash my clothes, I have a bath for my own, television and wifi :) I decided to stay for two nights.

From Fradley Junction to Sandon

The day started with clear blue sky and high temperature. I was quite happy as it got a bit cloudy during the day and less hot. I went by Rugely, and the junction at Great Haywood where the Tixall Wide meets the canal. Soon behind are the Pasturefields, which in former times was known because of its salt industry and medicinal baths. The towpath is in a bad condition here, bumpy and with high plants on its sides. I was glad to find a flat place for my tent behind Bridge 84 where I drunk a Cider in the evening sun watching the cows watching me :)

Claymills Victorian Pumping Station

Beside of Bridge 29 was a sign about the Claymills Victorian Pumping Station. Unfortunately closed on Tuesdays, but I decided to get off the canal and have a look.
As I was standing in front of the entrance one of the volunteers came up to me and invited me to take a look at the station.
I stayed there for roundabout 2 hours, and even if I didn´t understand an iota about what I was viewing I was amazed about the old Victorian Beauty. This post is big, enjoy, my friends :)

From Barrow upon Trent to Fradley Junction

Another sunny day, I am early up, only the fishermen are earlier on the canal and gives me a friendly good morning.
Before reaching Burton upon Trent I had the chance to visit Claymills Pumping Engines (this nice Victorian Steam Pumping Engines will get a post of its own).
Afterwards I skipped visiting the brewing museum in Burton upon Trent as I was invited to tea and cake in the marina. About eight o´clock I reached the very nice waterscape around the small village Arlewas and its lock. Half an hour later I sat down for a pint of lager, a sandwich, and a nice chat with a couple in the pub at Fradley Junction, where the Coventry Canal meets the Trent & Mersey Canal. Just right in time before it got dark I put up my tent in the fields close to the junction.

From Nottingham to Barrow upon Trent

My first day on the Trent & Mersey Canal started busy. First I had to visit the cycle shop for new brake pads as I lost one of them on my tour to Newstead Abbey. Afterwards I took the cycle route number 6 down to Nottingham and its Castle Marina. I had to buy new maps, the english post does not seem to be very reliable :(
But finally I was on the canal again!
I went along Attenborough Nature Reserve, and the big canal junction at Trent Lock. Here meets the River Soar the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Erewash Canal. From there on the towpath was quite bumpy again, but I managed to reach a camp site near the canal between Derby and Barrow upon Trent for my first night.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Being Part Of The-Beatles-Mania, Pt7 - Because ...

Because of The Beatles I decided to go from Nottingham to Liverpool on the Trent and Mersey Canal - that is the whole truth :)

Check out this splendid musician here. And here!

Saturday, 22 June 2013

The Peacock


Newstead Abbey - The Garden

Newstead Abbey - The House

Newstead Abbey is only opened at the weekend, so I went to take a look at the place where the poet Lord Byron lived for six years.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Summer Solstice

Today is Summer Solstice on the northern hemisphere. We have the longest day of the year and the shortest night. Let´s party! ;)

Thursday, 20 June 2013


Another sunny and hot day. I took a look what Hucknall has to offer and went for a walk down the River Leen Valley.

Nottingham - Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem

Nottingham - Castle

On Monday I went to Nottingham for a visit of its castle and the museum.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

From Barrow upon Soar to Ratcliffe on Soar

I got my tent packed under dry conditions, but it started to rain heavy as I went away from Barrow upon Soar.
As the canal merges into the River Soar, the towpath disappeared. I had to push over meadows with cows, and the gates were too small for my bicycle. Roundabout every 500 meters I had to get the luggage off and lift all my parcels over the fences. In the afternoon I had had enough, and took the train to Hucknall in order to stay with a friend of mine for some days.


After Foxton I went to Leicester from where I took the train to Barrow upon Soar where I wanted to rest for a day.

Foxton Lock Flight

I managed to reach Foxton at lunchtime. Unfortunately the camp site I had found on my map didn't exist anymore, so I did some shopping and some washing in the disabled toilet on a car park before I visited the locks and the museum.
Foxton has 10 locks, but the most interesting was the boat lift which was in use between 1900 and 1911.

From Watford to Husbands Bosworth

In the next morning the police officers Charlotte and Less came up to me. They told me about a theft been reported by some of the boatmen, and I was told to dial 999 if I need help and tell the number of the bridge I were close by. They told me to take care on my journey, and wished me a pleasant travel before they left.
This day turned out to be the most exhausting day until now. The towpath sometimes was in a bad condition. It was a bumpy and I had to push a lot and to carry my bike over gates - and I nearly fell into the canal twice :)


I had been told that the Leicester Branch of The Grand Union would be without any possibilities for shopping until Foxton so I decided to visit the town Daventry in order to get food and enough water for two days. In Daventry a lot of the old houses were built with a special kind of yellow sandstone which only could be found in this area.

From Blisworth to Norton Junction

The next part of my journey took me from Blisworth up to Norton Junction where I had to take the Leicester Branch of The Grand Union Canal up to its end in Eastwood.
I was happy to meet K and his dog, and I had the opportunity to go with boat for a part of the canal, I was even allowed to steer the boat for a while :) And I was offered to take a shower and to wash my clothes - so a lot of thanks for that!

People On Boats

In former times the boatman and his family was living on board. All of them in the small stern cabin of the boat.

Roses & Castles

Roses & Castles is the name for the traditional way of decorating the narrow boats. Read about it here.

Narrow Boats

 Many different boats are found on British canals and river navigations, narrow boats, barges, lighters, short boats, flats, tom puddings, keels, throws, tugs, dredgers, and more.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Stoke Bruerne and The Blisworth Tunnel

Romans arrived and called Towcester Lactodorum, Saxons´s built their "stoc" or village here and when the Normans compiled their Domesday Book, they recorded Swain Briwere as the lord of the manor. The biggest change however was the arrival of the canal which cut the village in two.
Stoke Bruerne lock flight is made of 7 locks and has a rise of 17 meter.
The village has a museum which is inside the former corn mill. The mill was built in the 1840´s and worked until 1913.
The Blisworth Tunnel is Britain´s second-largest usable canal tunnel. It runs for one and three quarter miles from Stoke Bruerne to Blisworth and was built after the canal opened because the first attempt to dig a tunnel was abandoned.

From Milton Keynes to Stoke Bruerne

I went by the locks of Fenny Stratford, the Iron Trunk Aqueduct, and Soloman´s Ornamental Bridge before i put up my tent on the towpath nearby Stoke Bruerne.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Boat Names

From Cowroast to Milton Keynes

I went by Bulbourne, the locks of Marsworth, and the Tring Reservoirs. The Tring Reservoirs are made up of four reservoirs built between 1800 and 1838 to supply water to the Grand Union Canal. These side ponds were built beside the Marsworth locks to save water. When the lock was emptied, half of the water was channelled into the side ponds to be used again next time the lock was filled. The water stores are no longer used, but are important for wildlife in the region.
My further way took me nearby the location where the Great Train Robbery took place. I went through Leighton Buzzard to a camp site near Milton Keynes.


The lark was singing from the sky and I was able to watch a lot of birds breeding or with their chicks :)

From Watford (London) to Cowroast Lock

I took the train from London Euston Station to Watford. Here I went through Cassiobury Park down to The Grand Union Canal. It was a bright and sunny day and the first windings of the canal with it´s locks and bridges fascinated me. I reached the Cowroast Lock in the evening, went under another bridge and behind a hedge I found a place to pitch up my tent for the night.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

New Adventures

Those of you who are watching closely could have seen that it has been 10 days between my posts from the 2nd of June and the 12th. In these 10 days I have been cycling along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal, from London, Watford, up to the end of the Leicester part of the Canal.
I am resting in Barrow Upon Soar before going further tomorrow.  Wait and see, pics from this adventure are coming up soon :)

London - Neal Street

London - River Bus

Already on my walk to Greenwich I had seen these fast river buses on The Thames. I entered one down back to London. Here is a collection of what I went by on my tour :)

London - Shop windows

London - Royal Observatory

The Royal Observatory has played a big role for astronomy and navigation in former times. It is the place where the prime meridian is located.

London - Greenwich

The first thing one can see when coming up from the foot tunnel is Cutty Sark.

London - Greenwich Foot Tunnel

The Greenwich Foot Tunnel crosses beneath The Thames and connects Greenwich with The Isle of Dogs.

London - Canary Wharf

In order to take a look at some modern architecture I took the Docklands Light Railway to Canary Wharf. I didn´t like it at all. So I escaped immediately and took a walk along the River Thames in direction Greenwich.

London- St Paul´s Presbyterian Church

Thomas Knightly built this little chapel in 1856. The church was built for the Scottish shipyard workers. It is now an art´s centre, The Space. There is a café upstairs.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

London- Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens

A friend from Germany came for a visit :) We sat in Hyde Park in the sun and went for a walk through the parks in the evening.