Tuesday 29 September 2015

King’s Bromley Marina Tuesday 29 September 2015

Firstly an apology to The Friends of Raymond. It was Nutfield towing Raymond on Saturday, both Friends of Raymond boats and not the Narrow Boat Trust.

This morning we were away at 9-15 am with a foggy start to the day.DSCF0672

There was little traffic about as we made our way to Fradley Junction. Someone has been out painting arrows on the bridges and trees again, I take it its for a run or walk, but most places they put the arrows there is nowhere else to go. I just wish they would clean them off afterwards.DSCF0677  We met a boat at the swing bridge which was handy as they left it open for us. At the junction it was sharp left and up to Middle Lock, the Volocky arrived just before we did and was emptying it by the time I dropped Diana off. Another Volocky had gone up to Shadehouse lock so that was with us as well. By now the weather was clearing fast but the wet made the cobwebs look good.DSCF0679 A pleasant run round to Wood End Lock meeting a hire boat on the way, that put the lock in our favour. From here it was a short run to the marina. We stopped at the service quay to get the tank emptied then gently chugged round to our berth, the water was like a mill pond, not a breath of wind. The only ripples areDSCF0681 from us as we turned into our slot.

Today’s Journey map 30  3¾ miles, 1 Junction, 1 Swing bridge, 2 canals and 3 locks in 2¼ hrs.

Monday 28 September 2015

Fradley Monday 28 September 2015

Good new for those that like to moor in Fazeley, the lorry works between the pub and CRT offices now turn their air compressor off at the weekend, I don’t know if they turn it off every night but it didn’t come on until after 7 this morning, it then runs about every 15 minutes for a short time. Companies don’t seem to notice how expensive compressed air can be.

We left at our normal 10 am. in bright sunshine meeting lots of boats on the way. A short stop at the CRT offices to dump our rubbish as they have recycling skips there. I couldn’t moor as a boat was filling with water so I just dropped Diana off the stern and while waiting thought how nice this old crane looked.DSCF0668

We had an uneventful journey other than me putting the boat in the offside bushes while taking this photograph of a wasp sitting on the slide.DSCF0671 We stopped at Fradley village for the night, its a nice bit of mooring but there are a couple of large chunks of concrete on the canal bed which we hit if not careful. With a wheelbarrow wheel as a fender at the back and pulled as far forward to the next boat as possible the lump just sits under the rear swim so we are reasonable close in. While we have been here I have painted some white on the rust repairs on the white line on the cabin side and topped up the batteries. I do these every time I do an engine oil change, but last time I was a bit short of time and it got missed.

Today’s Journey map 29

9¾ miles in 4 hours.

Sunday 27 September 2015

Fazeley Sunday 27 September 2015

We set off just after 10 am but had quite a wait at the top of the locks, one boat had gone down and another was waiting. We turned the lock and followed them as di the one behind us. At the second lock we met a boat and it carried on like that all the way to the bottom pair.

Once clear of the locks we considered stopping for Sunday Lunch at the Samuel Barlow but though it may be to late when we arrived so it was dinner on the move.

Going through Polesworth I spotted a weasel running down the towpath, I one point I thought he was going to jump into the canal but then he turned and headed for the hedgerow.DSCF0666

We didn’t meet many boats after leaving the bottom of the Atherstone flight and both the Glascote locks were against us. At Fazeley Junction we turned right and moored on the visitor moorings opposite the pub and CRT offices at quarter past four. Once moored I got the grey paint out and covered the red oxide splodges from last night.

Today’s Journey map 28

10½ mile, 1 Junction 2 canals and 13 locks in 6 hours.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Atherstone Saturday 26 September 2015

Before we went out last night we had the police helicopter hovering directly above us, he stayed there for several minuets then went in quite a tight circle and did it again.DSCF0635

We had a nice meal in the Greyhound last night but it was very busy, not a quiet meal for two. We wont do that on a Friday night again.

This morning we set off at 9 45 am,first job was to fill with water, then tackle to only lock of the day, it drops you down all of 6 onto the Coventry Canal level. As we go onto the Coventry its a 180° turn back on yourself. The Cheese boat was moored outside the Greyhound, they sell Welch Cheeses around the system.DSCF0637 As we headed north we met a continuous stream of boats, we even met a Hotel pair, Duke and Duchess. I was pleased that we were going in the opposite direction.DSCF0649 

It wasn’t that long after this that we met Nuneaton the Narrowboat Trust boat towing Raymond.DSCF0659The old British Waterways Board yard at Hartshill could do with a good dose of gardening, but thankfully the building looks as if itsDSCF0655 being cared for. The works opposite were pumping out a fair old smell. Not my first choice for mooring or as one elderly couple were doing, sit and having lunch. As we approached Bridge 28 someone tends a memorial but I don’t know the details.DSCF0652 I thought I would mention this boat, it is being lovingly rebuilt using mainly reclaimed materials. The couple that own it bought it high and dry on the banks of the Rive Avon where it was stranded after the floods, took a chance buying it with the risk of re-launching and towing it back to the canal as the engine was non operational.DSCF0661 We planned to moor above the Atherstone flight, imagine our surprise to find the moorings full, the only space was two boat lengths reserved for the Canal and River trust work boats, I can’t see one of them turning up on a Saturday afternoon somehow. If they do I will just move, until then here we are. The sun was still shining so I took the red oxide primer to the rust patches on the roof that I treated yesterday.

Today’s Journey map 27

11 miles, 1 lock, 2 junctions, 2 canals in 4½ hours

Friday 25 September 2015

Suttons Stop Friday 25 September 2015

I don’t remember the trains being so noisy or running so often as they did last night.
This morning a boat went gently by before we were up, I guess it was an ex-working boat by the sound of the engine. We set of at 9-15 in bright sunshine rapidly meeting lots of boats. It wasn’t until I looked at the Waterways Routes map that I realised justOxford old line how big the loops where that got cut off when they straightened the canal. This one is just north of Clifton Cruisers and they use the stub of the arm, marked as a “Winding Hole” for mooring boats. The symbols on the map by bridge 66 indicate what services are available. The purple banner is the time and mileage, there is one every half an hour travel time.

As we approached Rugby someone had a bonfire the other side of the hedge, the sun playing through the trees and smoke looked nice.DSCF0618

Newbold Tunnel really didn’t need a headlight, the sun quite low behind us illuminated the whole tunnel from end to end. DSCF0619No flash was used for this photograph and its not been doctored at all.
I still took a photograph as we emerged from the far end because I liked it.DSCF0622 

There were only a few boats moored at All Oakes, where have they all gone?
The Canal and Rivers Trust obviously read Narrowboat World as Victor pointed out the buoy was adrift. now its fitted with a nice chain.DSCF0624

At Ansty there use to be a very useful bridge to cross from the tow path moorings to the Rose and Castle pub, it was bridge number 15. Unfortunately they didn’t do that good a job of it and the walls that are left are now parting company. All four corners are like this.DSCF0626 By now we had a boat very slowly gaining on us but at no time did he get close enough for me to invite him to pass, eventually he eased off and we pulled away a bit which made things more comfortable.
We pulled in to moor for the night just before Suttons Stop opposite the long term moorings, we are on the bend but only get on and off at the bows so not a problem. Since we have been here Diana has polished the Port side of the boat and I have given all the spots of rust on the roof another bash of rust preventer.

Today’s Journey map 26 14¾ miles in 5 hours

Thursday 24 September 2015

Hillmorton Thursday 24 September 2015

We had rain overnight and for some reason didn’t wake very early so it was quarter to ten before we set off. I just had to photograph this old man by bridge 21 again, the light was better this time.DSCF0602

We caught up with a slow boat around bridge 19, things improved once he got the leaves off his prop and we followed him to the bottom of the Buckby Flight, unfortunately for us there was a boat already setting the lock to go up so he went with them. As a boat had just left lock 11 coming down we waited for them before going up ourselves. While waiting I took this shot of one of the many trains passing the marina. It wasn’t difficult as there was one about every 2 minutesDSCF0606

It was some little time before the down hill boat arrived and even longer before he managed to extract himself from the lock. By now a Wyvern hire boat had caught up, the crew normally crew the wide beam charity boats on the River Stort so was a joy to share with. We had a good run up the flight meeting boats in the right place in most pounds.

We only met one boat in Braunston Tunnel and that was in a straight section, arriving at Braunston top lock 2 boats had just gone down and we waited for one to come up. They were accompanied by a Volocky which surprised us, after he assisted me to lock down, Diana going a head to set the next lock he told me he had come up to let water down, so no more help for us. We didn’t meet any boats until we reached the bottom lock. As soon as we left the lock it started to rain, it didn’t last long but was quite heavy.

Approaching the Marina Main entrance followed by the narrows by the Stop House there was a boat coming towards us. He was hanging well to his left but many do as they come out passed the floating Cafe into the wide, but this chap kept coming, he then turned hard right so I think he is taking a wide turn into the marina so I go well to the right to go round behind him. Just as his bow gets to the marina entrance he goes hard astern. He is turning round directly in front of me. no signals or indication nothing. I stop, black smoke (It does that when I wind on fast) he sees this goes a bit further forward and waves me past.

We carry on to Braunston Turn where its a bit busy, one boat coming from the N. Oxford, the chap following me and one comes from the S Oxford, straight out, we had passed by now, starting to pass the boat from the N. Oxford who had slowed down to meet the chap that was following me. I don’t know what happened as we carried on along the N. Oxford Canal.

The weather improved and the sky cleared out, it was then that I spotted this vapour trail, note the dark section at the beginning of the trail to the left of the photo.DSCF0608

A few minutes later I heard another plane, this one a lot lower, maybe 500 feet, less than a thousand crossing in front of us.DSCF0609

As it was a nice evening and the slow cooker was still on we decided to drop down the Hillmorton Locks before mooring. On the approach to the locks I noticed this sign, its a new one on me.DSCF0612

At the top of the locks nb. Briar Rose was moored up, its the first time our paths have crossed an Adam came out to the lock for a chat.They also Blog their travels every day. The first lock was with us but the rest had leaked off. Once at the bottom we carried on past the visitor moorings and water point to the straight piling below.  After diner we had quite a good sunset over the canal, lets hope its a good sign for tomorrow.DSCF0613

Today’s Journey map 25

16½ miles, 16 locks, 2 junctions, 2 canals and 1 tunnel in 8¾ hours

Wednesday 23 September 2015

Weedon Wednesday 23 September 2015

Before we set off this morning I had an appointment with some bits of rope and fishing line (didn’t see a hook) down my weed hatch so it was 9-30 before we set off. The sun was out and no rain today but the wind was chilly at times. Just as we were about to set off a boat came by and we did try to follow it hoping to share the Stoke Bruerne flight which was some 6 miles away. We didn’t see much wildlife but what we did meet was 15 Wyvern Hire Boats so they have had a good week with most of their boats out.

Just outside Cosgrove CRT were busy piling the bank.DSCF0583

Passing Thrupp Wharf there is now a marina here, this has popped up in the last few years. CRT have an agreement where when a marina opens they close one on line mooring for every ten berths in the marina, then what happens the marina owner opens a string of online moorings outside his marina.DSCF0584

On several occasions we caught sight of the boat ahead and then lost them again. When we reached Baxter’s Yard at Yardley Gobion there they were, buying a cylinder of gas. We passed them and wondered if that was their mooring or if we would see them at the locks.

When we passed this way last week a lot of water was being pumped into the canal, today there was non.DSCF0587

We stopped for water below Stoke Bruerne locks, this didn’t please the fisherman who had set up on the moorings as I slid past him. The water tank was almost full when the boat we had seen earlier arrived so we packed up and joined them going up the locks. he was a real joy to share with, no faffing about, just getting on with it. The first lock was against us as was the second, but a single Wyvern boat was coming down the third and another single in the forth, While we were in the third another single Wyvern boat turned the forth lock as we came up, so three hire boats had followed each other down the flight each using a lock full of water. Our new friends moored the long pound and we completed the top two locks alone.

Diana thought it best we stop for lunch before entering Blisworth tunnel so we pulled over for a bit. The old Leggers building at the tunnel mouth is now a Blacksmith’s shop and the stables a stained glass workshop.

DSCF0590  DSCF0589

At the other end of the tunnel there is another leggers hut which has also be put to good use.DSCF0591

We only met one boat in the tunnel and I was aware of another some way ahead of us, they had passed us when we stopped for lunch. Needles to say I met the other boat right at one of the water shoots but luckily didn’t get wet. The atmosphere was much better than our last trip with the air quite clear.

Just beyond Gayton Junction as we passed under the bridge we heard a horn sound and there just coming into the bend sat a wide beam charity boat. I was well to the middle so steered to the right expecting him to do the same but he sat there leaving a gap of about three feet between him and the concrete which I had no option but to hit, when then pulled out and round me. I didn’t expect to find a wide beam coming towards me, but he should have expected the possibility of a Narrowboat coming the other way, but these things happen, no damage and I didn’t hit him, which would probably involved paperwork. Not long after this we caught up with the boat ahead and followed him until he indicated he was turning into Bugbrooke Marina. I am glad he indicated because that marina is a real bugger to turn into, the entrance is narrow and not splayed at all so you have to get your boat round to right angles in the canal before you can get through it.DSCF0596

Further south and we passed what is believed to be the oldest “Springer” Narrowboat still afloat called Badger. DSCF0594She is looking a bit sorry for herself now.

Passing the entrance to Heyford Fields Marina we met William a camping boat , the first thing to catch my eye was here exhaust puffing away before I could hear her boppedy bopping along with her Bolinder engine.DSCF0597 It was also here that we were flagged down by friends on their boat for a chat, that’s the second lot of friends who have waved and I have not recognised. There may have been a third as someone was waving from a boat in the basin at Stowe Hill who I didn’t recognise.  After a few words we were off again mooring for the night just through bridge bridge 24 at Weedon at about 1730 hrs.

Today’s Journey map 24

18 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel in 7½ hours

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Cosgrove Tuesday 22 September 2015

Firstly an apology to CRT. They did ring me back yesterday and I missed the call, it must have been while mud plugging and letting down water. I also rang the CRT chap back and apologised to him for not getting back to him.

Again we woke to rain, the first boat, a wide beam went down at 6-30 and kindly left the bottom gates open, we left at 9 am. We had been moored directly opposite the new Grove Marina. DSCF0533As you can see it has stopped raining for a few minutes.

We carried on down to Leighton Buzzard in the rain and stopped at Tesco to top up with a few items, as we left a Napton Narrowboat appeared through the bridge and followed us down to Leighton Lock where we waited for them. It turned out they were all bell ringers. The rain got heavier and we both carried on to the Soulbury Three where the entire crew of the hire boat turned out setting locks ahead, closing up etc. The Volocky went back to his hut in the dry once he saw we were all OK. Below the lock the water level was a good foot up from where it was when we came up the locks and our new found cruising friends pulled over for lunch. Although it was raining there was no wind at all.DSCF0539 At Fenny Stratford lock there were three boats waiting to come up and a lady with dog waiting to cross the swing bridge. “ came up, we went down and then a third went up before the bridge was closed again. We spotted these two Cormorants perched in the top of a dead tree.DSCF0541  I often hear people say they couldn’t move their boat for weeks because the engine had failed, this chap with a 70 footer found a way with a Seagull. DSCF0556Later we saw the other extreme with a some what larger power source. This time 130 hp where as I think the other was only 2 hp.DSCF0568

Its the first time I have seen these notices on the tow path, still someone coming up behind you at 10 mph if your ambling along the tow path is bad enough. Note it still says Waterscape so must have been around for a while.DSCF0545As well as Cormorants we saw several Kingfishers and some very tame Herons, like this chap who sat just above our heads as we went by. DSCF0552

The other birds we saw a lot of where duck, pigging out on all the fallen apples on the tow path. I bet he gets the pip!DSCF0566

Just before Penny Land we started to catch up with a pair of fuel boats, then coming round the corner I thought they were breasting up under bridge 80a so I held back.DSCF0562 It was then that a lady on a moored Narrowboat told me she had just caught them as they had gone passed and they were coming back to supply her. They were good enough to draw the motor forward and wave me through beside the butty, before taking the motor back through to serve the Narrowboat. He didn’t look a happy chappie.DSCF0565

By now the weather was much brighter although the dark clouds were never far away, as we crossed Cosgrove aqueduct I spotted a rainbow out to the east of us.DSCF0577

One more lock and that was Cosgrove Lock that was almost empty, here we started going up hill again, the last two days have all been down on the Grand Union. Passing through the lock we moored on the 48 hour visitor moorings for the night at 7 pm.

Today’s Journey map 23

21 miles and 8 locks in 8¾ hours