Stafford GIG
harnser 2

Monday 29 July 2002
We arrived at the moorings quite late as we visited Diana’s mother on the way. We were all set to go at 6 pm when the sky went black and it started to thunder. We waited for it to stop before heading off down the locks to moor in the bottom pound, just above the bottom lock for the night. We had a half decent meal in the Folly, Chilly and Chips, some of which were a bit on the hard side and not fully cooked.

 Tuesday 30 July 2002
We woke to a misty morning and set off at 8 am. We made a good choice mooring above the lock last night as below was choker block all the way past the winding hole. We stopped at Braunston for a pump out and to fill with diesel before heading up the North Oxford Canal,. It was not long before we came up behind two slow cruisers and a narrowboat. At first I thought the narrowboat wouldn’t let the cruisers passed but when we reached Hillmorton we found out they were all together when they stopped for water, by now there were also several boats behind us. We stopped for water at Rugby and soon caught up with another slow queue of boats, but as the day was wearing on they started pulling over to moor for the night and we were able to make better progress. The day had been warm, overcast and very humid and when we reached Ansty we had torrential storm which eased off just as we moored up by the Coventry Cruising Club.

Wednesday 31 July 2002
It rained heavily overnight and we had an early morning call from the Vodafone voice mail service at 5.30. We set off at 9 am in light drizzle which got heaver as the day progressed until the afternoon when it finally stopped and the sun came out. We met boats in every lock but on the Atherstone flight. These locks are quick to empty but very slow to fill.
We moored for the night at Hopwas just by the wood a little after 8 pm.

Thursday 1 August 2002
Again last night there was very heavy rain and it was still raining when we set off at 9 am. which continued all day. Around 5 pm the sun came out and we continued on to Tixal Wide. As we approached Great Haywood lock we passed Jeff Denison on his new boat “Song of the Waterways” we then met Benny walking down the towing path heading back to the boat. A little further on “Pangur Ban” was moored so we stopped for a chat before turning hard left to Tixal Wide and mooring for the night just after 9 pm..

Friday 2 August 2002
By the time we were up “Pangur Ban” was moored alongside us, it was a warm sunny morning and we finally set off at 11 am for the short journey to The Stafford Boat Club arriving just after 1 pm.

Sunday 4 August 2002
We led the procession of boats for the Sunday morning GIG cruise with Connie, Guy, Mike and Mike onboard with us We cruised down the Staff and Worc canal to Acton Trussel where we winded and moored opposite The Moat House Hotel to be joined by “Rumpus” ,“Tamlin”, “Shy Talk”, “Corixa II”, ”Quididich”, “Blue Heron” and a cruiser I didn’t get he name of, they were at the boat cub and thought we were such a friendly bunch they would join us. After lunch onboard we headed back to the boat club arriving just as it started to rain.

Monday 5 August 2002
We were the last boat to leave the club, not going until 11-45 am. We turned left at the Trent and Mersey canal and soon caught up with three cruisers who were all travelling together and all just fitted into a lock together. We moored for the night at Stone just in front of the cruisers who were all having a BBQ. We walked up to the “Rising Sun” to eat passing “Enseabee” a narrow beam Dutch style boat moored on the off side. We shouted to Nigel and arranged to pop round in the morning.

Tuesday 5 August 2002
Another hot and sunny day. We left at 10 am and met up with Nigel walking to the chandlers. By now the canal was quite busy and it took us 2 hours to reach the winding hole, a disused arm just above Meaford Lock. I put the bows in and got well stuck in the mud. It was only with the help of Dennis from NB “Chesterton” and a rope on the stern that we managed to pull Harnser round pulling up a large mud bank as we did so. We were to meet Dennis many more times over the years as we continued our travels on the system. On our way back we moored along “Enseabee” and Nigel showed us round. The hull was built by Roger Fuller and Nigel has been fitting it out himself. We moored for the night just above Sandon Lock, we had not been there long when “Fair Fa” moored up behind us. Pat and Sheila came onboard for a look round before we took all the dogs for a walk. Later we all went to the Dog and Doublet for a meal.

Wednesday 7 August 2002
We left at 9 am stopping for water at Great Hayward and then went for a walk round hoping to find Mark Bagnall our boat builder who we thought was now working in the area. The weather was again hot and progress very slow having to queue at the locks. At Wolesley we met NB “Frangilla” on their way to the IWA National at Huddersfield. We moored for the night with “Fair Fa” just before Fradley Wood at 7 pm.

Thursday 8 August 2002
 We set off with “Fair fa” at 8 am and just before the first lock passed NB “Copperkins” but there was no sign of life onboard, as we left the lock “Copperkins” caught up so we walked back for a few words. Again the canal was very busy with queues at all the locks. We continued on to above the second lock of the Atherstone flight where we moored with “Fair fa” at 6 pm for the night all eating together on “Harnser”

Friday 9 August 2002
We both set off at 7-10 am. following the boat that had been moored just ahead of us, we were making good progress until a very slow boat pulled out ahead of us. We moored at the top of the flight to do a bit of shopping at 10 am. and were on our way again at 12-30. At Hawksbury junction it started to rain which got steadily heavier and we finally moored for the night by the Coventry Cruising Club at at 5 pm. “Fair fa” turned up three quarters of an hour later in heavy rain and we all ate onboard “Fair Fa”.

Saturday 10 August 2002
We pushed off at 10 am in light drizzle which bugged us on and off all day, The area around Rugby was quite busy but things quietened down considerably by the time we reached Hillmorton. Once in Braunston we turned right up the South Oxford/ Grand Union. There were a few mooring places vacant along the Puddle Banks but we continued on to Bridge 102 where we stopped at 6-30 pm still in the drizzle which finally stopped a little after 9 pm.

Sunday 11 August 2002
We woke to a sunny morning at left before 8 am which is early for us, by 11 am we were back on our home moorings at Napton Top Lock.

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