Friday 4 September

After a cooked breakfast we left Polesworth, passing Pooley Hall on our left and pausing briefly at the Pooley Fields Heritage Centre to find out more. Unfortunately the Centre and Cafe were closed but we learnt that this was once a coalfield and is now being developed into a country park and nature reserve with extensive footpaths and cycle-ways. The park extends to both sides of the canal and for about a mile north of the M42 motorway.

Moving off again we immediately passed under the motorway and soon passed Alvecote Marina. Over 20 years ago a gang of about a dozen of us hired a boat for a weekend from here – I can’t remember where we headed for!

Reaching Tamworth the canal takes a wide sweep south westwards Fazeley Junction and down the two Glascote locks. Here we encountered two boats coming up and the second boat didn’t wait for us to exit the top lock before they emptied the bottom lock for themselves.   The skipper gave his wife some grief because she wasn’t paying attention!   She was very apologetic.

At Fazeley Junction we stopped for water as we’d done another load of washing yesterday and we‘d both had showers.

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Fazeley Junction with Blackbird moored on the water point on the left.

Over the years we’ve acquired three space saving hoses and in the last month we’ve had pipe failure with three of them.   Today there was more water squirting over the towpath than there was entering our water tank.   So today we had to bin one, repair another, and the third is awaiting a trip home as we need a grab ring for it, which we think is sitting in a box in our garage!   Fingers crossed we don’t have any more problems in the short term.

Whilst the tank was filling, I popped into Tolson’s Wool Mill to drool over their selection.   I managed to resist temptation and drag myself away without buying anything as I still haven’t used up what I bought last time.

By mid afternoon we’d reached the village of Hopwas and as we’d not stopped here before, we moored up for the day.

It was quite a sleepy village where not a lot happens.

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We climbed up to the unusual brick church on Hopwas Hill and admired the view over the Tame Valley before then following the road and crossing the river and walking through the pretty village that is surrounded by lightly wooded open fields.

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Our guide book suggests there is a store in the village but sadly this is no longer the case and we will have to seek our newspaper from somewhere else in the morning.

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