Day 44 – Hopwas to Handsacre – 12.11 miles

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Saturday 5th March 2016 – 456.48 miles
After a tasty breakfast our friends walked with us for a while. Thanks Steve and Alison for a lovely stay and feeding us so well!

The weather was fine but a chilly wind. Progress was much slower in the morning because the towpath was very muddy and slippery underfoot.
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There was more traffic on the canal today. As it was the weekend we saw more joggers and cyclists and people out walking. Many of them wished us luck as they passed by. We walked around the edge of Whittington, a small village to the east of Lichfield. The canal skirted along houses and gardens with private moorings.
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As we walked onwards towards Fradley, we were constantly aware of the traffic on the busy A38 to our left and high speed trains passing by to our right.
We reached Fradley and met Helen and Mark out walking their dog. Mark took our photo for the Fradley Facebook page – “Fradley Communique”.
We met Chris and his friend Nick. Chris offered us a coffee which we accepted and we spent a pleasant 10 minutes or so. Chris lives on the canal permanently and has a regular circuit around Britain’s canal system.
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Fradley Junction is where the Coventry Canal joins the Trent and Mersey Canal. Turn right to Burton on Trent – we turned to the left heading for Stoke on Trent – about 3 day’s walk away.
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A little further on we stopped to sit on a bench for a while. A voice said. “I’ve just made a pot of tea. Would you like a cuppa?” By now you will know what our answer was! We sat on their narrow boat and drank a welcome cuppa with Sam their dog sitting close by – thanks Ange and Bob and good luck with the wedding plans Andy.
Dave’s phone rang and our friend Gifford offered us a meal and a bed for the night. We walked on towards Handsacre – our pace quickening as the light started to fade.
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We reached the bridge by The Crown and made our way to Gifford and Celia’s home where we received a very warm welcome. Thanks both for the delicious supper, good company and a place to lay our heads.

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