Sunday, 28 November 2021

Shackerstone

This morning when we went out the canal ahead of us was frozen over with about a ¼” of ice. DSCF5925

 

Just as I was untying a boat came round cutting a nice channel through it for us, the down side they had only come about 250 yards from the other side of the bridge. As we made our way along the canal we didn’t meet any more boats but we did pass through sections of open water and some all iced over. As its been near freezing all day and forecast to be colder tonight we may not be moving tomorrow. As we passed the moorings at Shackerstone I saw this diddy little boat up on stands, its probably only 15 foot long, by coincidence we are moored opposite it tonight.DSCF5926

Just before Snarestone tunnel we passed a fishing match, I think the first three fishermen were please to see us as they were fishing in ice with just a small hole whereas the rest had an open canal, one from the last was definitely not pleased as I could hear him swearing about us. We continued through the tunnel where I spotted a fox making its way across a field of sheep and cows, they all seemed completely at ease with it.DSCF5929

At the end of navigation we winded and then took some jigsaws down to The Ashby Canal Association to sell in their shop.

Just as we set off south along the canal it started to snow very lightly. I don’t know why CRT think its necessary to erect double identical signs at both ends of the tunnel.DSCF5928By the time we had transited the tunnel it was snowing heavily, it was nice and warm as well as being dry in this broad but wiggly tunnel.DSCF5935

We had less than an hours travel to our chosen mooring for the night, the snow was fulling steadily with big wet flakes and laying on the roof of the boat.DSCF5940An hour after leaving the terminus we were mooring up directly opposite the small boat in the earlier photo and Snarestone, we are not far from the preserved railway and can hear the occasional steam whistle.

map 16

Todays Journey 8½ miles in 3¼ hours with no locks.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Congerstone

Last nights weather forecast was giving very high winds so we decided to turn the Dickinson stove off before going to bed just in case a back draft blew it out during the night. The result was this morning the boat was cold when I crawled out of bed and itDSCF5916was snowing. only one thing to do, light the stove and head back to bed for a bit. I think we would have been OK over night as although we could hear the wind howling around we didn’t actually feel it on the boat, so it must have been above us.   Once we were finally up we went to the cafĂ© for a full English breakfast. We then dropped back to the water point to fill with water. The rubbish facilities here are now bit of a mess since Biffa were replaced, just one bin

dscf5916a dscf5916b

that doesn’t fit in the compound and is overflowing, but I suspect most or it is not boaters rubbish.

Once full of water  we chugged off past where we moored last night. The small white sign below the big blue one tells you not to have BBQs on the plastic decking.DSCF5917

As you can see by now most had the snow had gone and the wind had died away to nothing, but that didn’t last as it picked up as the day progressed. At one point the canal had a thick covering of floating leaves, but the smallest touch of reverse removes them from fouling the propeller. DSCF5921

 

On the off side just before you reach Bosworth Marina there has been a mammal barrier erected around the land between the canal and the railway. This is normally done prior to ant development to make sure no fury friends are in residence that need rehoming.DSCF5923

We pushed on to just before the visitor moorings at Congerstone, the reason for not using the visitor mooring was it was a lot windier through the bridge so we just dropped back a few yards.

Today we have a new map as we are on week 3 of the trip See Here  
the previous maps are here and here

map 15

Todays Journey 5¾ miles 2½ hours with no locks

Friday, 26 November 2021

Sutton Cheney Wharf

Well its been a real mixed bag of weather, from early morning when we were woken by the wind and rain but thankfully I wasn’t in any hurry to get away this morning as I had a few maintenance jobs to do so it was almost 1140 am before we left, by the the rain had stopped, but in the course of the day we had rain wind, sunshine, hail and even a rainbow.DSCF5913

 

We only met 4 boat and I recognised the first two, Autarky and Lord Toulouse. Last time we were this way the cladding on these apartments was peeling badly,  it looks as if its all been replaced with new white cladding.DSCF5910

On the north side of Hinckley someone is having a very cold November, I can’t even imagine what it must be like living like that especially this time of the year.DSCF5912

We stopped for a short time at bridge 23 so that Diana could visit the canal side farm shop, we will see how good their free range chickens are tonight. We have noticed that several of the bridges along here have bat boxes mounted on their walls, I have no idea how successful they are but they do have a picture of a bat on them for bats that cant read. Mind you its probably better than living in a tent.DSCF5915

At Sutton Cheney Wharf we were pleased to see all the visitor moorings on the plastic walkway vacant, I expected them to be full. In the morning we will take on water before continuing towards the terminus, weather permitting.map 14

Todays Journey 8¾ miles, no locks in 3½ hours.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Bramcote Ashby Canal

First job this morning was down to Playwrites for a full English breakfast, a good way to start the day. I didn’t think to ask them where they kept the rocket lines to rescue people from the basin. Lots of the premises had these posters in their windows but none are open in the evening. 

DSCF5903

Then a visit to the Portuguese shop for cakes followed by the Polish shop to buy fish and biscuits before setting along the canal back to Hawkesbury junction. On the way we passed loads of CRT volunteers who were out litter picking in pairs, doing ground work around the sanitary station. We only met one boat making their way down to the basin. Since we last came down here they have trimmed the trees from in front of the flats, they were right in front of the windows.DSCF5904

We thought this slightly unusual, we have often seen cats or dogs taking themselves for a walk along the towpath but never a cockerel before.DSCF5907

Once past Suttons Stop and saying hello to Bob and Rosemary plus dogs we stopped of at Chris and Terry’s for a quick chat and cup of tea that took an hour and a half, then off again to Marston Junction where we decided to  take an excursion up the Ashby canal, after a couple of miles we decided to stop for the night as the sun was only just above the horizon.map 13

Todays Journey 11 miles no locks in 3¾ hours moving time

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Coventry Basin

Last night we had dinner at the Greyhound pub, we only had the pies but I don’t think we have ever had better, even in the so called pie pubs.
It was quite miserable weather wise this morning when we set off at 10am with cold dampness in the air. Needles to say the one and only lock was against us with all of 6” differential of level. Turning towards Coventry is 10 times easier than turning back on yourself towards Nuneaton. Diana took the opportunity to dump the recycling and then step back onboard on the Coventry Canal. The first bridge we went under has these nice sculptures on it.DSCF5898

The canal is a lot cleaner than it use to be but one boat did have a problem at bridge 4, we found it a bit slow through it but no other problems. Part way down there is a sofa on the back of the towpath, the reason its not been thrown in or set fire to is because its made of solid concrete, maybe top side of a ton and a half?DSCF5899

Down in the basin we winded to reverse into the northern arm, this chap keeps an eye on who comes and goes.DSCF5900

It was only a very short trip for us today and we spent the afternoon wandering around the Transport Museum, last time we visited we had my grandson with us so we still had tickets to get in for 12 months

map 12

Todays Journey 5¾ miles, 1 Lock in 2¼ hours

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Sutton Stop

We set off about 10 am in bright sun and no frost last night. We only went about 50 yards before stopping on the offside to fill with water. While we were there they started trimming this tree beside DSCF5882the road. It wasn’t long before the sun gave up and went in. We met a surprising number of boat and even towed a hire boat off the mud just through Newbold Tunnel. I don’t know how much longer the gabions will hold out in the cutting just north of All Oaks.DSCF5886

From the M6 bridge onward we kept passing the odd black plastic refuse bag right until we reached bridge 16 when we were faced with a flotilla of them.DSCF5891There were even a couple up past the pub. I will report this to CRT but it will require a boat to collect them. By now it was quite chilly just standing on the back of the boat as we made  our way to Sutton Stop our target for the night.map 11

Todays Journey 12¾ miles, no locks in 4½ hours

Monday, 22 November 2021

Rugby

Another cold night with frost on the grass and boat this morning. The day started wonderfully with a clear blue sky, not a breath of wind and a bright sun, it even felt quite warm. First job was a 45 point turn, wave goodbye to Kevin, Vicky and the dog asDSCF5859they walked round the reservoir then head back to Wigrams Turn and turn left towards Braunston. I never realised there was such an area of ridge and furrow cultivation around this part of the world.DSCF5864

 

As you approach Braunston Turn the junction to the North Oxford canal you pass this sign. I don’t know how effective is .DSCF5866

A nice clean turn up the North Oxford canal, by now it was clouding up a bit and quite a bit cooler. I have often tried to get pictures of Braunston Church when I have come this way, this is probably one of the better ones.DSCF5868 (2)

There are literally hundreds of geese in this area and thankfully not all are Canada Geese like some places, they even all seem to get on with each other.DSCF5875

A couple of days ado we passed this boat at Hillmorton and it was still there today, I am wondering if its actually a modern replica of a very pretty tug.DSCF5881

Hillmorton Locks were all against us, but its nice to see they have put notices on the lock beams pointing out that you have to access lock 5 from the none towpath side. Prior to this the crew could work a boat through the top or bottom lock and then walk to the middle lock and be unable to access it due to work on lock 4. We carried on to moor for the night in Rugby as we desperately needed a couple of items of shopping.map 10

Todays Journey 15 miles, 3 locks in 5¾ hours

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Calcutt

It was much cooler last night, the weather station measured just over freezing point and there was frost on the grass. The mist was rising off the water and now the imagination bit, the full moon was right above the lock but didn’t come out on the photo.DSCF5855

It was a little later when we set off this morning with the locks against us,  needless to say we had just done the first when a boat came along behind us, so I drew the top paddles and we waited for them in the next lock down. We met a couple of boats at lock 3 but even then the bottom one was against us. We carried on along the Grand Union Canal to Wigrams Turn or Napton Junction where we turned right keeping on the Gran Union.DSCF5858

Our destination for the night was to moor above the Calcutt lock and visit Kevin and Vicky on their boat moored in the marina.

map 9

Todays Journey 7 miles, 6 locks in 3¾ hours

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Braunston

Lovely quiet mooring by Crick Tunnel, we set off at 10 this morning  and within 5 minuets we had entered Crick tunnel, needless to say we didn’t meet anyone until the Watford Flight. The two Volockies helped us down one walking down and opening the top gates on the bottom two locks. Half way down the staircase a lady walked up and had a word with the other Volockie. They wanted to come up as they were going to North Kilworth, they didn’t know about the stoppage at Yelvertoft or that Watford were closing Monday so she went back down to have a word with the other half. As we went down in the second from last lock we could see that he had turned the bottom lock as was coming in, even though before he touched it it was full with the top gates open and a boat coming down. I hope they realise they will be sitting in about 5 miles of water until the stoppage lifts. Once below the locks we carried on past the restaurant by the A5 which is up for grabs, once a pub, a Polish restaurant then a Thai one, now painted all over grey.DSCF5842

After this we would see a few boats about including a very pretty inspection Launch we met just after joining the Grand Union, we stopped for a few minutes by the new housing estate as just beside it is an area that is fenced off and looks like seed beds, anyone know what it actually is.DSCF5847

Today we met a boat in Braunston Tunnel complete with LED headlight and when we nearly reached the far end another had come in behind us, again with a blinding LED. Once through the tunnel we moored on the first of the visitor moorings above the locks for the night. Here is a picture of the path between here and the tunnel that stands above ground which was always flooded. You can see the water behind it which now drains under the surface.DSCF5854

Since we have been here the canal has been quite busy with boat queuing for the locks.

map 8Note a new map has started today as there is a limited number of days to add.

 

Todays Journey 8 miles and 7 locks taking in 2 tunnels in 3¼ hours

Friday, 19 November 2021

Crick

Again we were were away before 10, I’m not sure what’s going on here. I looks as if CRT are embracing the metric measurement DSCF5836system, my boat is 57 foot, now can I wind here or not, the answer is a definite not, you would be hard pushed to get anything longer than 10 meters round with the state of it.

We made our way to the bottom of the Watford flight passing two LNBP community boats who were doing a weeks skipper training course, when we passed they were practicing winding and reversing.

At the locks Diana walked up to find the Volockie while I moored up and walked to meet her, the first two locks were full and a boat on its way up the staircase, Diana was on her way down with the news that one boat was waiting to come down and we could do the first two locks and wait at the bottom of the staircase for the boat coming down to exit, a couple of minutes latter we were joined by the Volockie who assisted me with the locks while Diana brought the boat up. We had a very pleasant conversation all the way up as he not only understood how locks worked but was also a boater. We were the fifth boater to use the flight today The canal is already closed a few miles above the locks and these locks will be closing at end of play on Monday for repairs. After bidding him farewell we headed for Crick Tunnel, this is 1400 meters long and quite wet at the Crick end.DSCF5837

There were a few boats moored both after the tunnel and opposite Crick Marina, a short way past the marina there is a winding hole where we turned as its the last turning point before the closure at Yelvertoft. There has been a boat laying in the field by the winding hole for as long as I can remember, it is now minus its cabin.DSCF5839

We slowly made our way back to moor just before the tunnel entrance, stopping to fill the water tank at Crick Wharf on the way.map 7

 

Todays Journey 6¾ miles, 7 locks in 3¾ hours

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Norton Junction

Again we were away before 10 am but not far, just to the Stop House to take on water where a reader of this Blog took the trouble to say hello just as we left. As we approached the bottom lock a boat had just come out but didn’t see us and closed the gates, as we went up in the lock a single boat was entering number 2 going up ahead, we thought we had caught their attention but about 3” from opening the top gates we saw the bottom gate of lock 2 close. Needless to say we were below the lock before he left and we did the rest together. I noticed this in the stone work on the top of the lock wall and can only assume it was a stone pinched from another lock.DSCF5826

Just above the second lock this lovely old ice breaking tug is moored up, I bet she rolls all over the place.DSCF5827

The towpath up to the tunnel mouth has always been problematic wit flooding due to the water springs in the higher bank, CRT now seemed to have got on top of it with drains under the top surface.DSCF5829

We didn’t meet any boats in the tunnel but one was waiting at the far end for us to emerge, he also waited for the single hander who was quite slower. I think the reason he waited was he only had a torch for a head lamp.

Since we were last this way they have built a complete housing estate just behind the towpath.DSCF5830

I posted yesterday about the new “No Fishing danger of Electricity” signs on North Oxford, well they are also in use along the Grand Union Canal.DSCF5832

Its not far from here where the Daventry Arm is/was planned to join the canal, there is absolutely nothing to be seen, whether it will ever get dug who knows, maybe its been quietly forgotten about.DSCF5834

When we got to Norton Junction we turned left up the Leicester Line and moored on the 14 day moorings now designated “Winter Moorings”

map 6Todays Journey 4¾ Miles, 6 lock in 3 hours

After we had moored up we took a short walk down the Buckby Locks, just above the top lock this old butty was moored, It had obviously been sunk at some point, the back end was smashed and the fore end top planks replaced with steel. Laying inside the hull was a virtually complete 6 cylinder Gardner engine all in component parts .IMG_20211118_134759