Friday 27 February 2009

Friday 27 Feb 09 Alrewas to Fazeley Junction

Last night we were moored on the new Alrewas 48 hour moorings. Its easy to see why the local population have been complaining about moored boats in this heavy residential area. When we arrived there were two boats already moored just through the first bridge and we tagged on the end of them, the one closest to us had his engine running, it was still running when we went to the pub at 7.30. When we came back from the pub at gone 9 he had switched his engine off, but by now the hospitality boat moored by the bridge had his built in generator running, you could hear both of these from Post Office Road, if the residents get this every evening its not surprising they get jarred off with us boaters. We ate at the Crown in Post Office Road, being the last Thursday of the month they were having a Folk evening in the restaurant. At about 8 two musicians arrived, laid down their instruments, got a drink and ordered their food, about a quarter of an hour later another two arrived and did the same thing and then just after half eight two moor arrived and repeated the procedure. By 9 pm there were 6 musicians all sitting eating their dinner, not even onto the sweet and no music. By this time we had eaten, drunk enough so decided we would call it a night and head back to the boat.

This morning Diana went to post some letters and I walked the dog back towards the lock clearing up quite a lot of dog muck on the way, as I approached the lock there were two boats that had just come up the lock both single handing and assisting each other through the locks. I returned to the boat as did Diana and we went for a stroll around the village. The Church Yard was quite interesting will old grave stones erected all along the boundary and the thickest bed of Snowdrops we had ever seen. We then returned to Harnser and set off, as we approached Bagnell Lock the second of the single hander's was just departing. One of them would arrive at the lock and lock the second boat through, he in turn moored at the hop of the lock and worked the other through, they would both carry on to the next lock and repeat the performance, luckily they both stopped at the water point at BW Fradley so we were able to pass them. At Fradley Junction we turned left onto the Coventry Canal. BW have changed the moorings at Huddlesford Junction to short term so most of the boats that we have seen moored there every time we have passed have now moved on. The new rail bridge at the junction now supports two ID numbers, one BW and one Network Rail so that should cause confusion when someone rings the BW emergency number and uses the wrong one. We had planned to moor at the bottom of Atherstone but time was getting away so we decided to pull in opposite the BW office at Fazeley for the night a little before  4 pm.


You will find our latest position at

Thursday 26 February 2009

Thursday 26 Feb 09 Branston to Alrewas

We set off this morning at twenty to ten, one boat had gone by earlier but we found to our surprise the next lock empty. We made a brief stop at the cafe where the boaters rubbish bins are now located before continuing to Barton Turns. We pulled over to take water on the lock moorings when a young lady from BW walked down and said there was a problem with the lock and there would be a short delay, we continued to fill the water tank and then Diana walked up to find the stop planks in. At 11 am a BW chap walked down to tell us they were waiting for a crane to arrive so they could lift and reseat the lock gate as it had come out of the cup. The crane should be here by 1 pm and we should be on our way by 4 pm all being well. 1 o'clock came as did a bunch of BW operatives, but no crane, 2 o'clock and still no crane but lots of telephone calls, 15 minutes later and the crane lorry arrived, by 3 o'clock the gate was out, the steel toe fitted back into the bottom of the gate, new rubber seals fitted to both sides of the gate and the gate was back in the lock swinging freely in the cup at the bottom and in the band at the top. The stop planks lifted and the lock cycled a couple of times to prove all was well. If the crane had arrived on time we would have been on our way by two. One boat waiting above came down and by 3.30 we had gone up and were leaving the lock. We pushed on up to Alrewas where we moored for the night at about quarter to five.


You will find our latest position at

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Wednesday 25 Feb 09 Ragley to Branston

Ragley Boat Stop must have the best pub moorings I have ever used, there is even electricity hookup if you want it, good mooring rings, deep water and a hard straight edge, even lighting. Well done to them, I hope lots of boaters use it. The food was fine as was the beer and you can even get a FREE bottle of wine if you download and print out the voucher from their web site http://www.king-henrys-taverns.co.uk/specials/printme.html I can personally recommend their Lamb Chops. The only down side it the railway that runs along side the towing path, this is a freight line and they run well into the night.

We didn't get away this morning until twenty to twelve this morning in bright sunshine. There were a lot more boats about in this area than we have been seeing previously. At Stenson Lock there is now a tea room and we also saw the entrance to Mercia Marina as we passed by, you can't see the marina as its the other side of the road with a long access channel and a bridge. We also saw the part demolished bridge where the trailer load of muck fell in the cut. What's left of the bridge looks sound but I guess it will involve a long stoppage to rebuild it.  All the long term BW moorers have been moved from Willington, I suppose this is to enable the dredging to take place through this stretch, I don't know where they have moved to as we didn't see any temporary long term mooring notices. We were only held up for a few minuets for the dredging as he had just finished filling a mud hopper as we arrived so only needed to move it out of the way before we could pass,  I caught up with a loaded hopped and tug just as he reached the unloading point at bridge 25 where I passed him but had to wait for the second one who was about to swap a full hopper for an empty one, He spotted me waiting, shouted to the digger driver and then waved me through. In the same section contractors were also cutting the towing path hedges. As the afternoon wore on the weather got more overcast and the wind freshened with a corresponding drop in temperature, as we passed Branston Water Park visitor moorings we saw one spot and decided to pull in for the night at quarter past four.

You will find our latest position at

Tuesday 24 February 2009

Tues 24 Feb 09 Zouch to Ragley Boat Stop.

We slipped up with the timing slightly this morning and about quarter to 10 a wide beam BW dredger came by and sailed straight into the first lock which was set ready for them, so when we left at 10 and arrived at the lock 5 minuets later we had to turn it before we could continue on our way. It was quite a dank day  and again next to no traffic about on the waterway. We caught up with the dredger as he was waiting to enter Kegworth Deep Lock. This lock still has a filed in disused lock beside it. Coming upstream this lock requires great care because if you place the bow against the wall of the cill and ride up the wall with the water you come up under the wooden cill protection beam. I think at one time this woodwork carried on down to the bottom of the lock but has not been repaired in many years. The gars was quite wet around the lock with puddles indicating that it had been raining quite heavily this morning, 2 miles upstream we hadn't had a drop. We carried on expecting to catch up with BW again at Kegworth Shallow Lock, but this is a flood lock and the gates were open at each end so they had sailed straight through, but they were waiting at Ratcliffe Lock and again we helped them on their way before turning the lock again. Just below the lock we met another narrow boat coming upstream, this was to be the only other boat we would see on the move all day. When we arrived a Redhill lock the dredger was moored up and a chap in a BW van was waiting to take the crew off. There is quite a bit of plant at Redhill and BW plan to close the navigation here next week. I asked the BW chaps if they knew where the IWA National was being held next year and the best answer they could offer was Redhill, they had no better information as to its exact location other than that. Redhill lock is also a flood lock and this was also wide open giving us an open path to the River Trent. At the junction we turned left up the Trent to Sawley Locks. These are mechanised locks but the instructions are quite small and a bit smudged, luckily the lock keeper was on hand to offer advice. The run up the Trent had been quite chilly but once off the river things warmed up a bit. We pushed on beyond  Derwent Mouth. We stopped for egg sandwiches before entering Derwent Mouth Lock, we felt it would be very unlikely that we would be in anybodies way. We were now off the rivers and back on the canal, the Trent and Mersey to be precise, we carried on along the canal for a couple of hours before moor at 5 pm at Ragley Boat Stop for the night, we intend to eat here tonight and then meet up with Brian and Susan for a couple of drinks.


You will find our latest position at

Monday 23 February 2009

Mon 23 Feb Birstall to Zouch

We didn't set off until 10-30 as we walked into Birstall and did a bit of shopping first in very pleasant sun shine but a chilly wind. We travelled alone all day and only met two boat all day, both at Pilling's Lock, a Canal Time boat was about to leave as we arrived and as we left nb. Crystal Ball arrived. Pilling's Marina is advertising mooring vacancies. The flow on the river was again very slow which made travelling very easy. We stopped to fill with water at Barrow and after setting off I was caught out by the cross flow below the lock.  At Loughborough we turned left down the town arm, it's much better than last time we visited but still not that inviting. Before winding and leaving I had a quick trip down the weed hatch and I must say the water was a lot warmer than on the river yesterday. We carried on down stream to moor opposite The Rose and Crow at Zouch a few minuets to five where I had to "touch up" (don't ask) the rear left hand cants and gunwale.


You will find our latest position at

Sunday 22 February 2009

Sunday 22 Feb 09 Kilby Bridge to Birstall

The trains were OK last night but the geese made sure we didn't oversleep this morning. We set off at 8 am with a bit of sun and some very black clouds, however it kept dry all day for us. We had just moved off when I saw movement on the boat at the far end of the moorings so we had company for the day. It was nb. Pegasus and the chap on her had just bought her to live on from Ashby and was moving her home to Thurmaston Marina to become a liveaboard. Since he had owned the boat he has been longer stuck in the ice than cruising with three days at Trinity and another week at Norton Junction. As yesterday the locks were very mixed with some for us and some against with gates open, shut or somewhere in between. We only met 2 boats all day, a small cruiser below Leicester and a narrow boat waiting to enter Birstall Lock. We moored for the night just below Birstall Lock and went for a look around Birstall. It's quite a well equipped place with Fish & Chip shop, Chinese take a way, Indian restaurant and Take a way, DIY store,Discount Store, Bookies,nice looking butchers and health food store, taxi and a Somerfields , in addition to at least 3 pubs and 3 hairdressers.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Sat 21 Feb 2009 Foxton to Kilby Bridge

Last night we at at The Locks, Foxton. They are now offering fixed price meals which we thought offered good value. £9-95 for 2 courses or £12-29 for 3 courses. We were full up after the main course so only had the 2 starting with Mussels in a thick white sauce and sheep's cheese baked in filo pastry, we followed this wit Liver and Bacon with mash and poached smoked Haddock on mash with fresh vegetables.

This morning we set off in the sunshine at 10 am heading back past Debdale as we have decided to go home via Leicester. We have only seen 2 boats on the move all day and we met them between Debdale and Foxton. The locks have been quite mixed, some against us, some for us, some with gates open and even one with the top gates open and the paddles up. We moored for the night at Kilby Bridge just before 4 o'clock having passed and waved to Balmaha at the other end of the mooring. Its been sunny all day, quite cool this morning but very pleasant this afternoon, we are just across from the railway line so I hope its not to noisy overnight.

You will find our latest position at

Friday 20 February 2009

We arrived at Debdale around 2 o'clock and after transferring all the stuff from the car to the boat I refilled the water system and then moved the boat round to the service bay to take on diesel and fill with water tank. We took on 170 lt at 56p + the extra tax for propulsion. Settled our account for the temporary mooring and paid to leave the car there for a further week. We then headed back onto the cut and just went as far as Foxton where we have moored for the night at 4pm.

100 yards in 2 days

Dave rang us to tell us that Harnser would be finished on Monday Feb 9th. There was only a couple of problems, one of our cars was in the garage being repaired and the other decided to come up with a suspension alarm and the Citroen garage couldn't look at it until Tuesday, but by then the other car should be back. so we would be a day late, no problem. Then due to the bad weather they were unable to get the spare parts for no 1 car and no 2 would take more than a day. To cut a long frustrating story short we finally got no 1 car back at 5 pm on Wednesday 11th. and set off straight to Market Harborough to spend the night in the Premier inn. Thursday morning at 9 am saw us outside Dave's paint shop with the wonderful news that there was little chance getting out today with the ice. The day was not wasted and I started refitting all the fitting I had remover. By 3 pm Dave confirmed there was no chance of moving and we booked another night in the Premier inn.

Friday morning back to the marina, things had improved a bit but there was still a couple of inches of ice but at least you could poke a hole in it with a pole so things were looking up.  Around lunch time the boat that went for a pump out and broke the ice when we wanted to come in decided he required diesel, so we all helped him out and he made a grand job of breaking the ice in the main body of the marina. This allowed us to get out at last and "borrow" the mooring of the next boat in the paint shop. Hence our 100 yards in two days. I then went to the marina office and arranged a temporary mooring for the following week as the canal was still solid with ice and the boat was going nowhere. We however were off to see my grandchildren over in Gloucestershire.