Friday 7 March 2014

Home Thursday 6 March 2014

Its a lovely quiet mooring here at Calcutt overlooking the Napton reservoir, I must say I cant ever remember seeing it so full. DSCF4826

I had a bit of work to do before we set off as I am relining the side hatches, we suffered with the rain blowing in during the gales this winter. Its something I should have attended to 12 years ago. Originally the doors were lined with 18mm ply. the doors are steel and constructed a bit like tin lids so the ply sat inside the steel door. This always suffered with the damp so I changed the wood to white UPVC, I have now added a second layer of 9mm thick that not only fits inside the door frame aperture but also forms a lap on where the doors meet.

It was almost 1030 before we left and didn’t meet any boats all the way home. We moored for a while by The Bridge Inn, Napton so that I could work on the two hatches on the other side of the boat, its much easier to be beside a good towpath.
There has defiantly been some activity at The Bridge Inn since we passed this way a fortnight ago, as there were lights on and furniture has been moved around, so maybe it will open again soon.

Our next stopping point was the moorings by the Folly where we stopped for lunch before heading up the flight, here at the back of the Towing Path is a DiS post which were installed on the approach to locks, in the case of this one, someone has dug it out and put it back the wrong way round.DSCF4828 Just as we were casting off a boat came passed, this meant that the locks would definitely all be against us, but when we rounded the bend they were emptying their loos at the service point just below the bottom lock. We enquired if they were ready to set off which they weren’t  so we went ahead on a good road to the top, we did draw the bottom paddle on every lock when we left so that had a good run as well.
Needless to say as normal it started to rain as we made our way up the flight. There was a good flow on all the bywashes so we had a reasonable depth over the mud to get up the arm to our mooring.

The next rip will be down to Braunston for Blacking.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Calcutt Wed 5 March 2014

Last night we ate at the newly refurbished Barley Mow, it looked smarter than last time we visited and nice to see they were quite busy, they had 3 beers on the pump, for me the Doombar was spot on, Diana had a Hooky brew that we had not tried before. Service was good and the food absolutely fine. Returning to the boat we had a much better nights sleep waking at about 6am to the dawn chores and the town clock. Out side was frosty with a great sunrise over the canal, well worth a photo but it was easier just to crawl back in bed for a few more hours.

10am and time to go, quite a few boats on the move and we met a few we know. Just beyond Rugby boats the Long Horn cattle have been turned out onto the grass with the bull making eyes at one of the ladies.DSCF4805

Approaching Hillmorton locks the diesel boat was delivering supplies to the boaters moored along this section. I would be a bit worried about my solar panels as the golf course is just across the towing path.DSCF4806

A good run up Hillmorton Locks with the first and last empty plus we met a boat in the middle. Just above the locks on the offside is what looks to be a stone memorial to a dog. Its quite a substantial affair.DSCF4812 As we passed under the railway bridge we could see ahead of us the CaRT contractors were hard at work with their leaf blowers, the mower was parked a bit further along. DSCF4813

There were some super sky’s with very high clouds breaking and reforming. My photography doesn’t do them justice.DSCF4810

At Braunston turn we went to the right along the Grand Union/South Oxford canal, both companies shared the next 3 miles of canal until Wigrams Turn where the S Oxford goes straight ahead to Oxford and the Grand Union turns right to Birmingham. We followed the Grand Union to the top of Calcutt locks where we winded. The reason for this detour was to book Harnser in for her 4 yearly safety inspection, as the last two were carried out by Calcutt I thought I would get them to do this one as well. Once that was sorted out we just moved along a bit to moor for the night overlooking the reservoir.DSCF4824

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Newbold Tuesday 4 March 2014

Last night was very still and cold, this led us to having a disturbed night, I woke coughing and put it down to my state of health, but Diana was coughing as well. In the end we decided it was fumes from someone else's stove coming into the boat, probably when they banked it up before going to bed. After a while it cleared and we went off to sleep.

We got up to another spring like day except the paths where white with frost, it dropped to -2° overnight.

Another session  down the weed hatch before setting off, this time only white polly, not so strong as the yellow. Note the glove.DSCF4780 It did leak a bit and my hand was just wet but my arm was dry.

Ten fifteen and we were away, through the junction and into the lock. If anyone requires any mooring pins etc. there is a Blacksmith moored by the junction. I am not sure if he tows the butty or pushes the larger boat with it as they are connected together rigidly.DSCF4782 

CaRT have taken the toll house back to use, for a while this was an outpost of the Coventry Police.

Back on the N Oxford the flooding on the fields is much worse than it was last week.DSCF4790

Just beyond Ansty we passed a CaRT work boat and instead of blue string chafing though on the piling edge they have rope and hooks. I wonder how long before people start pinching them?DSCF4794

We called in for diesel at Lime Farm, I have not bought any from them for a while and wasn’t that low, but as we were passing and they were open we filled up at 84p/lt. Then on through Newbold Tunnel, there are only tree lights working now, which doesn’t bother me at all, tunnels should be dark. However I did notice on the tunnel information board that it now says to contact CaRT in an emergency please ring 0303 0404040 I shill have not had this confirmed by CaRT that  has replaced the old 0800 4799947 number. Watch this space.DSCF4800 On there mooring information board they still tell you to ring 100 and ask for Freephone Canals which I thought was discontinued years ago.DSCF4798

It was just on 3pm when we moored up still in the sunshine on the visitor moorings at Newbold for the night.

Monday 3 March 2014

Hawkesbury Junction Monday 3 March 2014

It was a very spring like morning and a good job too, as I spent the first half an hour down the weed hatch removing a yellow polly sack, a length of cord like you start an outboard with, collection of black polly all holding some of the underwater flora and fauna. I am now getting soft in my old age and have bought a box of disposable long armed examination gloves, but they are not very robust so I put a white latex glove over the top, the water still seeps in but its a lot better. I will get Diana to take a photo next time, its quite a sight.

By 10 30 we were off enjoying the warm sunshine, we met several boat on the move and there were a lot more moored in groups than when we came up almost 10 days ago.

Leaving Atherstone one of the gardens backing down to the canal sell Dove Cotes but whit I think are nicer is his collection of wind toys.DSCF4774


Some one regularly puts fresh flowers by  the bridge 28, I made comment about it last September when we were this way. Its now a riot of colour.DSCF4775

At Nuneaton there is and interesting weir with water spilling down from both sides.DSCF4777

Charity Dock was its normal view of chaos as we passed, I do wonder if they ever part with anything or just collect. Once passed here it started to rain, we had had a sprinkling earlier, but this was coat on even though the sun was still shining and we could see no rain hitting the canal behind us, but plenty ahead. We were planning to moor at the junction and thought it best to drop into a space on the Coventry than not getting in round on the Oxford, plus you can’t hear the motorway from here. We had just tied up at about 2pm. when the rain started in earnest, again it didn’t last long but you knew about it at the time.

Sunday 2 March 2014

Atherstone Sunday 2 March 2014.

We woke to sunshine and decided to walk through the woods to Pooley Abbey, by the time we had returned at 11am it was raining and it has carried on and off all day, the worst weather we have had all trip.

As we passed through Polesworth there was a bike scramble meeting on the hill, its the first time we have been by when there has been one in progress. As you can see its the other side of the railway line.DSCF4764

There were one or two boats about before we set off but the next one we saw was waiting to go up Atherstone locks. Rather than chase him up we decided to stop for lunch, just to make it worse he had to wait for a boat to come down the bottom lock so would have had them all with him.

After about an hour we set off up the flight, the first two locks were both empty, not only that the first two pounds were down by 18”.DSCF4771 The first pound gave no problem but I ground to a halt about 10  yards outside the third lock and we were in the middle. I eventually with lots of reverse managed to get off and to the side so that Diana could work the lock, I managed to get a bit closer as she drained the lock and then got ashore with the bow rope, between us we managed to haul the bows into the cheeks of the lock, I then got onboard and while Diana flushed water in through the top gate I rocked the boat and made very slow headway into the lock. After this we were OK apart from the rubbish I now had round the prop, We did meet another boat who were making there way down and we warned them of the low pounds. The rest of the way up the pounds were all on weir of very slightly down, but it will take a lot of water to bring that long pound up.

By the time we left the last lock the boat was struggling to move due to a fouled prop, I think we had picked a bit more up at each lock. So we called it a night and moored up on the visitor mooring on the straight. We had only just secured her when it really started to rain, it had obviously only been playing with us all day.

Saturday 1 March 2014

Alvecote Sat 1 March 2014

We woke to a lovely sunny but chilly morning, the first job was to cross the canal to the CaRT offices and fill the water tank, we also took the opportunity to dump our rubbish in the bins provided. The plan was to stop near the bottom of the Atherstone flight but plans change.

The art work on the bare brick wall at the junction looks quite impressive.DSCF4638

There were quite a few boats about today and we even had to wait at the bottom of the Tamworth flight for a boat coming down and he was the third one we had seen. While we were waiting I got chatting to the chap that lives in the lock cottage on the offside, his only access is across the lock walkway so it must have been fun getting all his furniture in. The chap is quite famous for his brick collection, it seams that all the collieries had their own bricks with their names in the frogs, maybe it was to stop them getting pinched?

By now the weather was warming up and I must say the sun did make me feel a lot better.
As you will all know I am not the best speller in the world, but even I was taken with this notice at Canal Crafts.DSCF4720

I don’t normally pick up hitch hikers in the car and definitely not on the boat but today I made an exception.DSCF4721


I find it quite interesting as I cruise the system to see how home owners treat the canal at the bottom of their gardens, some turn their backs on the canal and set high conifer hedges or fencing panels, some just leave it as a jungle. Then there is the ones who ignore it and do their garden as if it wasn’t there and others who embrace it and set flowers in the bank or terrace there garden with decking and summer houses and then there are ones like this and we have passed about three this week.DSCF4722

It has been suggested that my “man Flu” may be due to withdrawal symptoms of not visiting a pub, so we put that right today and stopped at The Samuel Barlow at lunch time.

After checking the beer was OK and tickling the dogs in the bar we moved on to Pooley Colliery centre, first we moored on the towing path as Diana wanted to climb the hill. DSCF4733 When she returned we decided to moor outside the visitor centre for a look round and partake of a cup of tea. Around 5 pm we we decided to move and actually reversed back along the canal to moor further from the motorway and with the hill between us and the roundabout.