Monday 27 January 2014

Home Monday 27 July 2014

We had yet more rain overnight, but by this morning it had cleared out.DSCF4541 We set off at our normal 10am and called in at Braunston Marina to pump out the toilet tank. next stop was by the Stop House to fill the water tank, by now it was around 11am and we set sail towards our home moorings.

At this point we had no firm plans to go all the way home but as the weather was still holding rather than moor by The Folly for the night and do the flight in the morning we decided to do it all today.

The 48 hr moorings before the The Folly were empty as were the ones just above the first lock, but even so two boats were moored on the water points right in front of the pub.

We had a reasonable run up the flight with some locks with us and some against, the others were half and half. We pulled over just above the top lock and loaded the car before continuing up the arm to our moorings. DSCF4544

Once on the moorings we set to and drained the water system in case the weather turns a lot colder before we can go back to the boat.

Sunday 26 January 2014

Braunston Sunday 26 January 2014

Last night we ate at The Moorings, Crick. They were quite busy and the food tasty. When we got back to the boat it was a bright star light sky overhead.

This morning the clear sky had gone, it was blowing and raining, ideal weather for staying in bed all day. We set off at about 11am. in the rain, but it wasn’t long before we were in Crick Tunnel, so the rain didn’t matter any more. Leaving the far end of the tunnel the rain eased right off, we reached the locks, then it was at its worst. The lock keeper helped us down the flight which was good of him, no waiting straight in and down. Of course soon as we were down the weather improved a bit. This pair of ducks standing on the roof of a moored boat seemed quite happy with things.DSCF4534

We carried on to Norton Junction and stopped for lunch, as soon as we stopped the sky went blue, the rain stopped and the sun shone. It stayed like this until we were ready to set off again and then back came the clouds and rain.DSCF4535

Just prior to Braunston tunnel where the weather picked up again I had seen A4 notices stuck to trees so I thought I would try and photo them to see what they say. They are actually tree preservation notices tell people that the trees are protected and that planning consent is required before cutting or felling. DSCF4536Several trees in the area have been trimmed and felled so I don’t know it that was done without permission, hence the notices. or these are to show that permission has been granted.
The tunnel was clear, well we have not seen a boat move all day and when we emerged at the Braunston end the weather was even better. The contingency plan was to moor above, but close to the top lock for the night if the weather was bad, well away from the trees. But as it was fine we would go down into Braunston.

At one of the locks there was a flower tribute laying by the mooring bollard. I find these so sad and wonder what is behind them.DSCF4539 

The locks were all against us and the towing path between them awash, the worst section was the pound below The Nelson pub. They seemed to be doing a good trade by the number of cars outside just before 4pm.

Once clear of the flight we moored by the marina east entrance on the rings at quarter past four, we were going on to Butchers Bridge but its more open here so less to blow on top of the boat. 

Saturday 25 January 2014

Crick Saturday 25 Jan 2014

When we walked to the pub last night it was raining, but with 6 beers on the pumps and first class food it was worth it. It was still raining when we returned to the boat, but by this morning it had gone and we set off in a spring like day at 1030. We had several boats come by to fill with water at the end of the arm and saw our first Snowdrops of the year near the marina entrance.DSCF4515

Welford lock was against us and the bottom gates well open, they did stay near enough closed for us to fill the lock. The new top gate seams to seal well against the new wooden framing DSCF4518

Out onto the main line we turned left back towards home, it was along here that we saw the weed cutter actually working. I am not sure what good it was doing as with one track almost out of the water it was only cutting dead reeds just below the surface, I suppose it will look good and clear for a couple of months until the new growth comes up but its not actually cleared the navigation. It needs the roots ripping out to do lasting good.DSCF4521

I noticed that there have been a lot of trees planted in the fields towpath side from the area of the footbridge 14 to Lodge bridge 13. These extend for several acres. I have since found out this is the new “Jubilee Wood”

The weather held for most of our trip, a few spots of rain at Yelvertoft that didn’t come to anything, however as we approached Crick Marina the sky darkened and the wind picked up clocking 30 mph. We had just moored opposite “The Moorings” when it started to rain, the wind increased and the thunder and lightning started almost overhead. Now at 4 30 there is a nice sunset on the horizon.

Friday 24 January 2014

Welford Friday 24 January 2014

Thank goodness yesterdays weather forecast was wrong and in stead of waking to pouring rain it was fine and even a bit sunny. We were away in good time at twenty past nine and I don’t know if the CaRT chaps had visited the workboats they left here yesterday, but it looked like the heater was running in the pod of one of them.DSCF4498

There was a large field of sheep opposite and they appeared to be walking across the field in a straight line as carrying out a search of the area.DSCF4500

As we made our way back to Foxton we met another pair of CaRT boats, this time loaded with safety fencing.

After about an hour we reached the bottom of Foxton Locks and Diana went up to find the locky, who needless to say was right at the top,  but he gave us the OK to make our way up. We had just worked the first lock when he walked down to give us a hand. I noticed that most people took photos from the top looking down, so I took this one looking up. DSCF4506Things were going well until second from the top where a piece of stick had got between the gates preventing them closing properly, so as the lock above me tried to empty it was being topped up by the lock above, so we had to refill it level with the second lock to open the gates and remove the stick and then start again. We were still up in well under an hour.

The CaRT boat with the chipper on it that I had retied on the way down was now hard at work, cutting back the offside overhanging trees and bushes. The chap on the bows used a long handled chain saw and long handled hedge trimmer to cut away the offending growth, the chap in the hold dragged it out of the cut and fed the chipper, the third chap was at the helm keeping the whole lot in the right position.

At North Kilworth Wharf this chap was hard at work sharpening the cutting blades on this rather posh weed cutting vessel. I don’t know if they plan to use it around here or load it back on the trailer and go elsewhere.DSCF4511

The weather stayed fine until we entered the Welford arm when in started very light drizzle and turned quite a bit cooler. CaRT have just replaced the top gate of Welford Lock including the butts that it shuts against but the locals tell me the bottom ones still swing open and leak, we will find out when we go back down.

Thursday 23 January 2014

Smeeton Aqueduct Thursday 23 January 2014

Last night we had yet another excellent meal, this time in Market Harborough at Ascough’s Bistro. We have had lunch there before so thought we would give it a try. They have a fixed price menu for 2 or 3 courses, we were very pleased we skipped the starter as we were quite full after the sweets.

This morning we woke to rain but it only lasted about an hour so had cleared before we took a walk into town. Market Harborough market place is now full of wooden sheds which they use as market stalls, its not at all markety.

We were back to the boat by mid day and winded in the basin before filling with water. If you want a pump out  you have to ring to make an appointment. A short chat with Joe who has taken a winter mooring in the basin this year and 12-15 we were on our way. By now the sun was out and it was quite pleasant. A quick chat with Lesley and Jill as they walked the dogs along the towing path and then I spotted this on the off side. I had passed before I could get a photo  so had to back up and was amazed it was still there.DSCF4482

Just beyond this must live the neighbour from hell, this was the back of their garden wall.DSCF4484

We had a bit of trouble with the swing bridge, Diana put the key in and couldn’t do anything, not even get the key out again. A young mum pointed out that the white lines were not exactly in line which they have to be to start operations or to get your key back out. As she was standing on the deck of the bridge when she told us this the bridge moved easily to line up the marks and we were away. The next bridge was no problem and we were soon at the bottom of Foxton Locks where we went straight on up the Leicester line. There are a few boats moored along here under the new CaRT winter mooring permit system, but just after them was this sorry sight. DSCF4489I think its always sad to see boats in this state.

Just beyond Debdale Wharf the canal becomes an SSSI andDSCF4490 within this stretch of water there has been a land slide reducing the width of the canal by almost half. DSCF4491 CaRT have cut back all the trees that slid down which has improved matters by I suspect there will be long negotiations withDSCF4493 Natural England before things are fully resolved.

We pressed on planning to moor on Smeeton Aqueduct and it started raining, The only place to turn is the winding hole beyond the aqueduct and as we were turning it started to hail, just a few yards further on still is a nice length of piling complete with mooring rings so I decided to reverse onto there for the night. Just as I was backing up two CaRT work boats came by and moored a short way passed us, I am sure they were also making for those rings, but we got there first,

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Market Harborough Wed 22 January 2014

Yesterday evening it started to rain, so no frost. We had moored under a smallish tree, they are difficult to avoid along this stretch of canal, this resulted in water dripping in large droplets onto the roof, it sounded like someone with a pea shooter.

This morning was dry and much warmer than of late and we set off at 10am, not before Matt, a professional boat mover had been passed taking a boat to Debdale Wharf, we caught up with him at the top of the locks.

The local farmer had his straw well covered, from a distance it looked like two large tents in the field.DSCF4466

Then on the towing path we spotted these out for a morning walk, they are Red Leg Partridges, commonly know as French Partridge.DSCF4469

Not long after this our way was blocked by a CaRT work boat that was only attached to the bank at one end. DSCF4470   The reason for this was literally “Blue String” that had been used to tie the front end up. It had cut through where it was round the back of the sharp piling. As I didn’t fancy donating a rope to CaRT I retied it with several terns of the said string. I DSCF4472don’t know how long it will last this time.

We arrived at Foxton Locks to find Matt waiting to go down, as you can see there is plenty of room on the visitor moorings. DSCF4473

Diana walked down the lock and met Matt half way, the lock keeper was off sick and there was one boat coming up. Diana met them and helped with the locks, in the meantime two more boats arrived wanting to go down. Once the upcoming boat was clear we helped Matt down the first couple of locks before starting down with Harnser. Once at the bottom we turned right to Market Harborough. I always thought that the moorings in front of The Locks Inn were the pub moorings, but CaRT have just erected signs saying they are 1 day visitor moorings.DSCF4474 

Although CaRT have a program of cutting the offside overhanging trees along this stretch they have not got as far as this tree yet. Why this boat had to moor directly opposite it I don’t know,as you can see he is the only boat moored in the area.DSCF4477 CaRT are installing a lot of mooring rings along this section, it will be interesting to see what restrictions they put on their use.DSCF4478

We moored up just before the basin on the 48 hr moorings right behind Matilda Rose, Graham came out and took a rope for us and then we joined him in a cup of tea and the pleasure of a dog sitting on each of our laps.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

North of Market Bosworth tunnel Tuesday 21 January 2014

Last night was a bit colder and we woke to a very thin layer of ice and some thick fog.DSCF4443 For some reason we were away slightly earlier at twenty to ten, turning left at Norton Junction up the Leicester Line towards Watford Locks.

Here the ice was just thick enough for us to leave a trail and the sun was peaking through above. One of the liver aboard boaters enquired if I was on a mission, boating in such conditions, The ice was at least 2mm thick, other than that it was quite pleasant with no windDSCF4448

On the offside there are 3 old dumb barges, they have been here as long as I can remember, at one time they were breasted up making it difficult to pass, now they are almost overgrown.DSCF4446

At the locks there were 2 boats coming down, the first single handing so we had the bottom lock full with the gates open before she arrived and worked her down before setting off our selves to wait in the first pound for the second boat to come down. The lock keeper said we were the third boat today, he only had 2 yesterday. I was rather taken by this sheep who was playing “King of the Castle”DSCF4453

The moles have been having a field day on the embankment between two of the pounds, lets hope they don’t tunnel between them and cause a leak.DSCF4451

CaRT have finally managed to stop the gates in the staircase leaking so hopefully full length boats coming down will no longer get their back cabins wet.

The Crick tunnel was wet, wetter than I remembered so the brolly was brought into use. All the moorings opposite Crick marina are designated “Winter moorings, permit holders only” There was one boat there on the whole length.DSCF4456

It was now 1230 and the weather had started to clear , it actually felt cooler. It was some time before the sun managed to break through.

We continued along the Leicester Line to the junction with the Welford Arm, where I turned right. At this point a head appeared from below and told me I had gone wrong and should have carried on to the left towards Foxton. A bit of reveres and we were swinging round in the junction to head to Foxton. I was joined by a Kingfisher, DSCF4462 who would fly a few yards ahead and then wait until I was level with him before moving on again. DSCF4458

It wasn’t long before we were at Market Bosworth Tunnel, much dryer than the last two. CaRT need to do quite a bit of tree work on the section leading to the tunnel with lots of small trees laying in the water or hanging very low.

Once clear of the tunnel it was time to find a mooring, we are on a slight bend just past the pipe bridge between bridges 46 and 47, but with the amount of traffic moving I don’t think we will be in anyone’s way. We moored up at twenty to five and it was still reasonably light, I don’t think it would have been a problem to have carried on until five this evening.

Monday 20 January 2014

Norton Junction Monday 20 January 2014

There was a good frost last night and this morning the roof was white including the solar panels so they weren’t doing much good.DSCF4411

As we were untying so was the shared ownership boat behind, he was heading back to Hillmorton but planned to stop on the GU somewhere so suggested we went ahead. We didn’t see any more boats on the move until we went through the old removed railway bridge by Fox’s Gate. Here we met Zulu long lining the butty Alsager.  DSCF4420DSCF4421






It was a bright sunny day again and although the temperature was reaching 8°C the ground was still frosty in the shade and the winding hole by The Bridge in was covered in very thin ice.

Along the filed edge at Flecknoe just to the north of bridge 101 there are four pairs of white posts just inside the field, The hedge is adjoining the towing path. They almost look as if they should have a notice board fixed between them.DSCF4417 Anyone any idea what hey are for?

Nb.New Dawn who had been following us pulled over at Fox’s Gate and moored up while we continued into Braunston, mooringDSCF4423 by Butchers Bridge to post some CIBC membership cards and do a bit of shopping. Didn’t get what we want but the shop in Braunston now sells drink at a good price so got 3 bottles of wine for £10.

We arrived at the bottom lock at the same time as a boat coming down and the lock was about half way so we let them down first. This gave me the opportunity to take a couple of photos of the Coventry Canal’s boat Panther that is having some welding done at Ivy Bridge. I found the line of the hull most strange.DSCF4428  DSCF4430Once we were in the flight the next four locks were with us, but after that we had to turn them all. There was still a lot of frost about even though it had been warm and sunny all day, There was even ice on the lock beam.DSCF4435 

Above the lock there was just one boat moored, it was Nick Wolfe sheeting up with the fire smoking away, as you can see the wind speed is about zero.DSCF4434

We didn’t meet anyone in the tunnel but I could see a boat in the distance ahead, it must have met the boat coming down hill half way up the flight, I expected them to be further on than this because they passed us before we went shopping. CaRT have trimmed a lot of trees above the tunnel on both the towing path and the off side, most on the off side.DSCF4440

We continued in the weak afternoon sun to just before Norton Junction where we have moored for the night, for some reason there are mooring rings along this stretch of towing path so that makes life very easy. By now it was four thirty and there was still a bit of sun left in the sky. Another great day, but it looks as if it will be a cold night again.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Napton Folly Moorings Sunday 19 Jan 2014

The next great adventure begins. After loading up we were in Napton Top Lock at five past three this afternoon, at ten past four be were leaving the bottom lock to moor just round the bend at the Folly Moorings.

By the time we arrived at the boat the sun was shining and the sky was blue, the best bit was it stayed that way. There was no wind and hardly a ripple on the water. It felt more like April than January. DSCF4405The flight was very busy, not with boats, we didn’t see one and all the locks were against us, but walkers, some with dogs and some just enjoying a Sunday afternoon stroll in the sunshine.

Now the down side, it looks from the voltages as if we have a battery going down, so that will require further investigation, I think they are now 4 years old so not doing bad.

Monday 6 January 2014

Napton top lock, Monday 6 Jan 2014

As we were moored right outside The Boathouse pub it seemed a waste not to eat there yesterday evening, I think we were two of eight dinners that night. The rain was blowing in around their doors that face the canal which was not surprising the way it was raining and blowing. We  were very pleased we didn’t have far to go to get to the boat, that’s for sure.
The weather overnight was horrible with the wind and the rain, then suddenly it would all go still and quiet only to come back worse a few minutes latter. I was very glad we moored where we did and not on the opposite bank under the trees.

We were very pleased to wake to sunshine and pushed off about twenty to ten down to the Stop House to fill with water. The Stop House is an old toll office and is now a Canal and Rivers Trust office. If there is one thing that annoys me its out of date notices like this one on their door, how much effort does it take to remove it or do they just not care what they display.
DSCF4380DSCF4381Another notice gives the hours they are open to the public and an emergence number of 03030 404040 to ring if they are closed. I wonder if that line is manned 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

As we filled with water I watched a bird trying to eat from a seed dispenser that was obviously not designed with him in mind, but he still got a free breakfast.  DSCF4383

Once topped up with water we went to the marina entrance to wind before heading back to Napton. I made a much better job of turning here than I did taking the left junction at Braunston Turn where the wind pinned me straight against the central island, my fault for going round on tickover and not allowing for the wind coming across the open fields.

We carried on along the GU to Wigrams Turn where again we took the left hand turning on the South Oxford. It was here that the towing path was under water when we came this way last week.DSCF4386 Now its just very muddy.

We had just passed the winding hole by The Folly moorings when this chap came trotting down the towing path towards me, I only had time for the one shot before he ducked into a hole in the hedge right opposite me. DSCF4395

At the water point a chap had just finished ether installing or overhauling one of the cast iron water points, is Napton considered a heritage area to have avoided one of the stainless monstrosities  or is it due to the general outcry about them.

There was a boat just exiting the bottom lock as we nosed under the bridge, he pulled over and stopped at the services which made it a bit tight for us to get round him into the lock, but we just maid it, the lady did offer to pull forward a bit and had we been any longer we would have needed it, but it was all OK. This also meant that the flight was with us which was very handy.

The day has been mainly fine with a few very short showers which gave a nice rainbow, I just wish the lens was wide enough to get the whole thing in.DSCF4387 We finally moored just above Napton Top Lock at 2 pm. tomorrow we just move up the arm and go home until the next thrilling adventure of “The Travels of Harnser”