Thursday, 3 September 2015

Grimes Bridge N Oxford Thursday 3 September 2015

When we set off at 10 there was only two other boats still on the moorings. I expected to meet lots of old boats but it was very quiet to start with.

Just before The Barge moorings CRT were busy repairing the towing path with 2 female members of the crew on the shovels. I did wonder if they were volunteers as they all had name badges on.DSCF0149A little further on I saw one of the best anti speeding signs I have seen so far, it looks like a real  CRT item if I didn’t know better. I would expect CRT would have a copy write issue with it. DSCF0148At one of the bridges I was greeted by two large dogs looking over the parapet. The lady appeared later.DSCF0153 

Earlier I said it was quiet, we meet 10 boats between Burton Hastings and the junction, a couple of them big ones.

On our way up the canal on Monday I reported a sunken boat to CRT via the emergency as it was leaking oil and diesel onto the canal, the oil and diesel have dispersed now but I was surprised that CRT have not affixed a “CRT Aware” notice to it.DSCF0159 When we reached the junction with the Coventry canal we turned left towards Hawkesbury Junction often referred to as Sutton Stop.

Charity Dock now has the Home Guard and The Stig on display,

DSCF0160 DSCF0163

they have also raised one of the old wooden motors that has been sunk for many years. Being on the bottom is the best way to preserve them if they are not being used.DSCF0161

We stopped in Bedworth for a while to have a cup of tea with Terry and Christine before continuing on to Sutton Stop, so called because the lock only has a fall of a few inches, so its a “Stop Lock” and the keeper for many years was a Mr Sutton.  To leave the Coventry and turn into the North Oxford involves a 180° turn under a bridgesutton stopAs I approach under the foot bridge I could see a full length ex working boat leaving the lock so I pulled in close just above where it says Hawkesbury Junction to give him room to get round me. He in turn waited for me where you can see the moored boat, but nether of us could see each other due to the building between us. He crew called and told him what was happening but he insisted on waiting for me, so I had to go through the bridge and round passed him to enter the lock. The manoeuvre wasn’t helped by a fisherman who had set up right under the bridge by the trees with rod and keep et in the water, but I made it without hitting any of them. As I went into the lock he in turn started his turn onto the Coventry canal to where I had just come from. You can see the fisherman guarding his equipment.DSCF0164Later I was to discover one of the little darlings playing on the bridge had deposited some of the fisherman’s maggots on out roof, he must have dropped them as we came under the bridge unseen by me.

We made our wan south along the Oxford canal finding and disposing of maggots whilst planning to stop at Ansty for the night.  However there was no room for us so we pushed on along side the railway for about half a mile to moor opposite Les Wilson’s yard for the night, here the canal and railway are separated by a small hill.

Today’s Journey map 07 18 miles, 3 canals, 2 junctions, 1 lock in 6¾ hours.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Stoke Golding Wed 2 September 2015

Last night we ate at The Globe pub that sits almost on top of Snarestone tunnel. It has changed hands recently and doesn't have a web site yet, but has several well deserved reports on Trip Advisor. We had two very nice meals and they also had 3 beers on the pumps.

10 am and we are away through the slightly twisty Snarestone tunnel heading for the end. On the way we passed a field where the straw bails caught my eye.DSCF0095 We stopped at the old terminus of the Ashby Canal to fill with water. Members of the Ashby Canal Association were loading their trailer with stuff to sell at the Shackerstone Festival this weekend. Diana took a box full of jigsaws off their hands.DSCF0099 The swing bridge across the canal is a private bridge owned by the Association so it has to remain locked and not for public use,DSCF0098 however the Association are quite happy to open it so that boaters can travel to the new end of navigation just under bridge 62, also boaters are permitted to use it to cross to the rubbish facilities and moorings. The last winding point is just behind us when we filled with water so boats continuing down the canal to bridge 62 have to reverse back. Not really a problem with the timber topped piling if you cant get it right.DSCF0103 WRG have just had a work camp down here building the bridge, all the bricks were found in the canal from the old bridge but beneath them its a modern construction. The scaffolding should come down in a couple of week when boats will be able to go slightly further under the bridge. maybe we will have to come back.DSCF0109 Once back at the old terminus we winded and headed back through the tunnel only to catch up with a pair long lining. We were hoping there were only going as far as Shackerstone as their top speed was only 2½ MPH.DSCF0115 When we did finally get to Shackerstone they stopped in front of us on the aqueduct completely blocking the canal to breast up and then very slowly made their way down to their allotted mooring for the weekend. DSCN2334When all the moored boats are breasted up there will be very little room for passing boats as can be seen from this photograph, the wooden barrier on the off side is to protect the reeds as the canal here is part of a SSSI. I hope they have someone on traffic control as there will be no passing place on this section.  DSCF0123As we passed the pair as they were tying up we didn’t even get a by your leave for the inconvenience caused to us or the boat following us.

We were to see two Water vole as we made our way along the canal, we normally see at least one when we come down here, but getting a photograph is something else.DSCF0143 When we reached Bridge 41, the one that WRG have been working on the other side, you can see this side needs some TLC as well.DSCF0136

I expected to meet lots of ex working boats today making their way to the festival but I only met two, one running light and this one, Crane, was fully loaded, it may have been a straight partDSCF0140 where I met him but it was narrow and he really needed to keep well to the channel with the water he would be drawing. A little earlier and we would have been on the bend, later it would have been a bridge hole.DSCF0142

We had planned to go as far as The Lime Kilns at Hinckley where the A5 crosses the canal tonight as we were meeting a friend for dinner, however this mornings visit to the terminus and the return to Shackerstone took longer than planned so we decided to stop at Stoke Golding. We were luck to get the last mooring space right on the bend. We had not been her long when Mark on Callisto came by on his coal and gas run.DSCF0145 After a walk into town we decided that we would eat at the Swan mainly because it was the closest, but I must say it was not a bad choice with good sized portions, no large portions of home cooked food.

Today’s Journey map 06 13¾miles, 1 tunnel, twice in 6 hours

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Snarestone Tuesday 1 September 2015

The rain woke me during the night but by the time to get up the sun was shining. I don’t know how much rain we had as the spiders think my rain gauge is an Arachnids maternity home and fill it with nests while we are away.

One mistake I made last night was to moor next to a wasps nest so this morning the doors were quickly closed and 3 bodies ejected through the pigeon box before we made our escape just before ten.

I am not sure now where the Market Bosworth Battle Field is, this is all that remains of the signs.DSCF0070

WRG have been hard at work repairing yet another bridge, I amDSCF0074 not 100% happy that they should be doing this sort of work and feel it should be the responsibility of CRT or the land owner. DSCF0076What I can say is the other side of the bridge requires the same treatment.

At Market Bosworth it looks as if CRT are installing two new water DSCF0079 points on the 48hr moorings to the south of bridge 42 to replace the one lost with the building of the new Bosworth Marina which is now up and running. DSCF0080 The sign on the towpath still says “Long term Moorings” but there are no boats moored there now, lets hope they become visitor moorings to replace the ones lost to the water points.

DSCF0083We were planning to overnight at Shackerstone but all the  visitor moorings have been suspended for the forthcoming Shackerstone Festival.It doesn’t give a date for the suspension but the signs are in place from before Congerstone Bridge to Town Bridge with the section by the aqueduct reserved for historic craft from today. So fat there is one ex working boat there and lots of reserved moorings south of the festival site empty. However there is a good line of moored boats outside the site its self. so we just carried on to Snarestone for the night arriving about 3-30 pm.

Today’s weather has been, shall we say mixed, with one heavy shower, some warm sun and a few outbreaks of drizzle.

Today’s Journey map 05 14½ miles in 5½ hours.
Tomorrow we reach the end of the road and turn round.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Hinckley Monday 31 August 2015

It rained from the early hours this morning and was still raining when we got up, but we have a saying. “Rain before 7, fine at 11” well it was actually 11-30 when it stopped and we were off by quarter to twelve, the problem was it started again an hour later.

I don’t expect we will see many more or these around in the next few years, at one time the telegraph poles would have followed the canal for miles, just like they did the lanes.DSCF0055 Look how they put the bracing pole to the left hand side as the poles would not have been in line due to the bend in the canal. I would also think that at one time this part of the country there would have  been a lot of heaps  like this. Today its hard to imagine this area’s past.DSCF0054

As we passed one of the canal side houses it was obvious to me that this chap thinks a lot of his boat.DSCF0056

I am very pleased to report that Dr. Who is in Nuneaton at the moment, or he was today, or is that was in the future. Anyway he left his Tardis by the canal, two very different forms of travel.DSCF0057 By now it was starting to rain again but it didn’t slow this canoeist down, watching him I can now see why a canoe passing a moored boat causes so much disturbance, not only is the canoe going through the water it is actually going up and down with every paddle stroke when the paddler is working hard.DSCF0058 This is a steady rhythm and so builds up a lot of water movement alone, hence the large wash from a small, light vessel.

We turned into the Ashby Canal, did I mention we were going down there, well we are. As it was chucking it down with rain and I had done a couple of hours so had a reasonable charge in the batteries we stopped on the 48 hr visitor moorings by bridge 5. You need fat fenders here as the edge is interlinked concrete that slopes into the canal so the base plate bangs. At the beginning of the moorings there is a sunken Narrowboat that is leaking both diesel and black oil into the canal, not a major incident but I thought it best to inform CRT on their out of hours number 0800 4799947. This is a call handling service and about half an hour later a CRT personnel rang me back to get details. They didn’t know about the boat sinking so the owner may also be unaware.

After a couple of hours the rain stopped so we set off again. For some reason CRT are tethering these where the bank has eroded, I am not sure what they are supposed to do. I can’t see them stopping the erosion getting worse and who would try to moor there anyway. As for walkers its not going to stop them stumbling into a hole.DSCF0062

We finally moored up a little after 5 pm. a bit north of Hinckley just before bridge 19. If you look at the map below you will see we are just over 3½ miles from where we started from.

Today’s Journey map 04 12 miles, 1 Junction 2 canals in 4¼ hrs

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Springwood Haven Sunday 30 August 2015

I had just untied the front rope this morning when a boat appeared coming towards us so I held in until he had gone, but no sooner had I let go at the stern another appeared followed by a third so I slid very slowly passed the moored boats giving them plenty of room, I then discovered that the boat at the front of the moored boats was also about to push off, it was  Fenchurch again, we have seen them on both of the previous days, but hadn’t realised they were on the other end of the moorings to us. This is them passing us on Saturday at Alvecote.DSCF0034 

We stopped for water and empty the rubbish by bridge 48 where Fenchurch passed us again only to catch them up at the bottom of the Atherstone flight and give them a hand up the lock. In return they drew the paddles on lock 10. After that we were to meet a boat at every lock, sometimes there were 2 boats in some of the short pounds. At lock 7 we met a steam powered Narrowboat called Tixal just coming out of the lock. Fenchurch pulled over for shopping just below bridge 43A while we continued to the top of the flight, once clear of the locks we pulled over for a late lunch in steady rain. If the rain continues we will stay here overnight.

Well 2½ hrs later and it fined out so we set off again there wasn’t a breath of wind and the sky a nice light blue. We passed a boat that had its complete roof covered with solar panels the most I have ever seen on a boat.DSCF0048 We passed boats that we had seen at the bottom of the flight this morning and continued on through Harts Hill where there were only 3 boats moored, The old British Waterways yard is looking quite sad but on the up side it looks as if a cafe may have take over a building on the left hand side. hard to say as they were just locking up as we passed. A bit of Goggling shows this to be The Landgirl’s Cookery School and Tea Rooms.
The smell from the bone factory wasn’t too bad but it was probably just drifting the other way. We carried on to just before Springwood Haven Marina before mooring for the night just before 6 pm.

Today’s Journey map 03

8 miles, 11 Locks on 5 hours

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Polesworth Saturday 29 August 2015

The first boat passed us around 7 am this morning but we didn’t move until our normal 10 am. We only saw one day boat and they were just mooring at the Tame Otter, I expected more on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.

Down to Fazeley Junction where we turned left onto the Coventry canal again, we had left in minutes before mooring up last night as Whittington to Fazeley is the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, There was no queue at all at Glascote Locks which surprised me but there was a boat going up ahead of us. At the bottom lock we had a chat with the owners of the lock cottage, also a lady who helped at the lock, it turns out she was living on a boat but has just had to return to bricks and mortar. As she walked passed us at the top lock I pointed out she had left her windlass behind but it was one she borrowed so I was able to give her one from our stock with a swivelling handle.

It wasn’t long before we reached Alvecote where this weekend the working boat rally is taking place so we moored up just before the marina to visit.

This is the map of the first part of Today’s Travels map 02a 8¾ miles, 2 Locks, 2 Canals, 1 Junction in 3½ hours

Our timing was quite good as just after we hade moored the first of the old boats came by on their parade run.DSCF9999 After the boats had gone by we wandered down to The Samuel Barlow to check the beer out and buy home made fudge and Welch Cheese, O and we also failed to resist one of the  beefburgers being cooked on the BBQ. There were a lot of boats there including 4 steam powered ones.DSCF0004 

After spending a couple of hours there talking with old friends we decided to be on our way again and although it was turned 6 pm we decided to set off while the canal was quiet, we really didn’t want to be in the mellay if the boats start moving in the morning ready for another parade. As you can see there were lots of boats there.DSCF0041

We made our way slow through the moored boats and headed for Polesworth for the night arriving at about 7 pm. It was a bit late to prepare diner and we had already had a Beefburger so settled on an Indian Takeaway from Maya Bangladeshi and Indian Takeaway. They have an offer of a set meal for one for £9.95 so we had two of them expecting them to be small portions, wrong, it was huge and we have not eaten half of it, so its Indian Sunday Lunch tomorrow as well.

Part two of Today’s Journey map 02b  2½ miles in 1 hour

Friday, 28 August 2015

Whittington Friday 28 August 2015

We left home early for us to travel to the boat, spot on 8am. We don’t normally do this trip on a Friday and especially the Friday before a bank Holiday but it all went amazingly well with very little holdup, bit of a queue at the A14 M6 junction but that was about it really so we arrived before mid day.

After unloading the car onto the boat we drove into Armitage to The Plum Pudding where we sampled their Piattini menu which gave 3 different dished for £10.95 so by choosing different dishes we got to sample 6 of them. They are also running a loyalty card scheme where they stamp your card on each visit, 3 stamps = a free starter.

We reversed out of our berth just on 2 pm. and once out on the canal turned right. We were to meet 10 boats between here and the bottom of Wood End Lock, but even so we were second in line for Wood End Lock so I don’t know how many had been there earlier, another arrived behind us before we set off down.

At Shadehouse lock there was a Volocky (Volunteer Lock keeper) who had the lock ready when we arrived and also told me to stay on the boat and he would do the offside. There was also one at Middle Lock and he indicated to the Volocky at Junction Lock that we would be heading down the Coventry Canal. There were several vacant moorings just into the Coventry Canal unlike through bridge 90 in Fradley Village where it was choker block. We continued on past Huddlesford where again there were vacant 48 hr moorings. We continued on to where the CoventryDSCF9992 joins the Birmingham and Fazeley canal just before Whittington Bridge where we moored up at 1730 hrs.

Today’s Journey Map 01 8¼ Miles 3 Locks and 3 canals