Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Tixall Wide Update

We have been at Tixall Wide now for five days. Initially we planned to move off today, but the weather forecasts for the next two days are not favourable, with high winds and frequent spells of rain. We were aiming to be at Gnosall on the Shropshire Union Canal for the weekend of 15/5, but have now revised our schedule. This will allow us to spend more time on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal. Over the past few days we have explored the area. On Saturday we used our National Trust membership to visit Shugborough Hall, the former residence of the Earls of Lichfield. This passed into trust ownership in lieu of death duties. The last resident was Patrick Lichfield, photographer. 



The estate also contained a rather grand farmhouse and water mill. The mill was working when we visited, however it is due to undergo some substantial repair to the main shaft. Traditionally made from a single piece of oak we were told the new one will be steel, clad in oak for effect. The reason is the shaft has a working life of about 20 years, and in order to fit it, they need to remove an entire brick wall to access the 5 metre wheel.

                                                        The water wheel gearing.

                           The oak shaft with not so traditional temporary stainless steel bolts.

On Sunday we went to the Top Lock restaurant and barn for a roast dinner, and on Monday we had a look at Great Haywood Marina. The moorers here are certainly spoiled, as on site is a very well stocked farm shop, with butchers, bakery and deli. We bought some seeded rolls and apple chutney for lunch.

In the early hours of this morning the wind struck. It was blowing across the wide uninterrupted, and as a result small wavelets were slapping the side of the hull. The satellite dish was knocked over and this despite the use of the very special satellite dish retaining string. During our morning walk we saw that at the further end of the wide there was shelter provided by some trees. On our return to the boat we made the decision to move the 200 yards or so to the south west end of Tixall Wide. We are now nice and secure and out of the worst of the wind. We will probably stay here till Thursday or Friday, but may have to top up with water back at the junction by the Anglo Welsh hire base.

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