- Stafford - a quiet ride on the 876 through Coven, Penkridge and Rising Brook. I wouldn't mind a closer look at Coven, a nice village with a post office and The Rainbow pub to investigate. I spend an hour or so in Stafford, taking photos of Victoria Park looking glorious with some vibrant floral displays.
- The 842 - a real treat, linking Stafford and Uttoxeter and providing a ride through some great Staffordshire countryside. The route also visits Tixall, with its church and school house, then Great Haywood for a glimpse of the canal junction, followed by Hixon and Bramshall.
- Uttoxeter - my first ever visit and I wasn't disappointed. The town has a real charm and character that seems to come with country market towns - intriguing buildings, a good selection of pubs and a bustling atmosphere. I have a good mooch around, including calling in at the library for some bus timetables, and also visit the bus and train stations for some photos...
- Uttoxeter Train Station - As stations go, Uttoxeter was something of a letdown. I like stations with charm and character, a hint of history, and a definitive view that I can photograph such as a station frontage, the main entrance or a railway sign. Uttoxeter in truth had very little to recommend it - no station house, no footbridge, no platform buildings, not even a station sign to speak of save for the platform running boards - leaving what basically amounted to a car park with a couple of platforms slapped on the side. I still enjoyed my visit though, taking photos of the long blue platform shelters and looking out over the neighbouring racecourse. I got a couple of train shots and a bonus view of the X30 Alton Towers Shuttle Bus on layover, so it wasn't a wasted visit by any means.
- Uttoxeter Buses - Uttoxeter is served by a nice little bus station with a handful of local routes to provide photographic interest. I spent a good half an hour or so taking a few photos whilst waiting for the return 842 at midday - my victims including the 1 to Burton and the 2 and 3 Town Circulars. I wouldn't mind returning to try out some of the other routes, especially the 428 Lichfield service or the 32 to Hanley.
- Great Haywood - Rather than heading straight back to Stafford, I decided to stop off at Great Haywood to explore more of this Staffordshire canal village. After visiting with Dad during a Shugborough walk last year, I'd already got some nice memories of the area, and it was great to add to my knowledge still further with photos of the Fox & Hounds and the Clifford Arms. I then renewed my acquaintance with Bridge 73 and Great Haywood Lock before exploring a tiny bit more of the Trent and Mersey with a stroll out towards Little Haywood - a perfect way to enjoy the sunshine. Then it was back to Stafford on the 841 and across to Chell Road to catch the 875.
- Penkridge - the outing was topped off with more canal exploration. I'd long wanted to explore the Staffs & Worcs as it heads through Penkridge, although it took me a while to track the canal down - I think I took a wrong turning and ended up going through a housing estate before emerging by The Boat pub. The canal itself was simply fantastic - I enjoyed a gentle stroll from Penkridge Lock, up past Princefield Bridge to Filance Lock, only a short stretch but great for photos. I'm really looking forward to returning for a longer walk and a closer look at The Boat, it seemed to be a great canalside local. I still had a bit of time to spare before my 876 home, so I had a walk along a brook and through another housing estate before waiting at Bungham Lane for the bus, which was surprisingly empty when it eventually turned up.
What a trip, it had everything - buses, trains, canals and a bit of impromptu local estate exploration too. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish, and the outing makes a great addition to the tradition of summertime adventures I've done down the years. Hopefully the weather will hold and I might manage another trip or two to make the most of the sunshine - fingers crossed!