Sunday 31 July 2016

Braunston Sunday 31 July 2016

A very short day today as we only wanted to go to Braunston where we are picking up my youngest grandson for a few days. We left just before 10 as although he is not coming until this afternoon we wanted to be sure of a mooring.

The canal was quite busy and as I wasn’t in a hurry I pulled over to let a hire boat go by. I am always impressed with the view of Braunston Church as you come along this part of the canal. In front of the church you can see the medieval ridge and furrow cultivations,  can you imagine today getting planning consent to put a canal through a medieval site.DSCF5031 The moorings prior to the A45 road bridge full and passing under the bridge there was a wide beamed boat across the cut, chap on the bank with centre and bow rope and lady at the helm. Following Diana’s advice they finally got it against the bank. It seems they are heading for Barby Marina.

At Braunston Turn we turned right along the puddle bank, this was also full of boats and we met a steady stream coming towards us. We went as far as the winding hole to turn and then returned to Braunston, the reason for this pointless detour was to add a bit more battery charging  time.

This sign has appeared on the bridge since we were last this way, maybe it’s a take on the slow down, moored boats sign.DSCF5034  We slipped into Braunston and found loads of spaces to moor, so we picked one opposite The Boat House where we will eat this evening, hopefully pushing across onto their moorings for the night.

Today’s Journey  map 9 3½ miles in 1½ hours

Saturday 30 July 2016

Willoughby Saturday 30 July 2016

As usual most of the boats moored around us left a 9 am in a steady stream, we set off alone at our normal 10 am. CRT have moved the water point from the tow path side north of bridge 53 to the offside south of bridge 58. The water was cut off at the old position over a year ago by building on the adjacent land, although the new water point works, CRT have not installed any signage yet so boats moor in front of it. DSCF5009We had a pleasant run to Hillmorton locks and arrived just as a boat was entering one of the paired locks to come down so we waited for them and used that lock, after that we had an empty lock at each pair and were able to leave the gate open for boats coming down. Several years ago British waterways removed thisDSCF5012 cast iron gate from the flight as it was considered damaged beyond repair, It was set up against a grass mound as a display item beside the bottom lock. There are still a pair of cast gates on the bottom lock, the only other ones I know of that are still in use are at  the bottom of the Claydon flight.DSCF5015

There is a new marina being constructed between bridges 81 and 82 called Dunchurch Pools, at the moment its just a big hole butDSCF5022 it has meant diverting a footpath that use to cross the site. There is no sign of an entrance being cut through the tow path yet.DSCF5020

The plan view from the brochure is, shall we say interesting, I wonder what it will cost to moor there. We pushed on a bit further to just south of bridge 87 before mooring for the night. One thing we noticed is that the property just north of bridge 87 now has a boat moored almost to the property, I say almost as they have a floating pontoon between the bank and the boat.DSCF5024

Today’s Journey  map 8

7¾ Miles 3 locks in 3½ hours

Friday 29 July 2016

Brownsover Friday 29 July 2016

We left the moorings at 10 am, we were the last to go. Last night not only were all the visitor moorings full but also the long term moorings as well. We find lots of boats leave around 9am all following each other in convoy and by waiting until 10 am the field has thinned out a lot, it also means that they are at the next popular mooring before you, which was the case today when we reached Brownsover, Rugby. Luckily a chap was about to leave so we waited for him to push off and slipped into his spot.

Several years ago whoever owned the accommodation bridge by The Crown pub decided to demolish it rather than repair it, unfortunately they didn’t do a very good job and the old buttress walls are splitting badly. DSCF5004

We were to meet several boats on our trip south today, a bit of luck at Rose Narowboats as one of the staff swung the bridge open after crossing, it was just passed here that we passed two boats from the London Narrow Boat Project full of kids who had been stocking up with sweets at Rose Narrowboats shop. Rose Narrowboats own a slipway that they use to pull Narrowboats out for blacking and repair work, they have covered the lower end of the slipway with a structure painted in their colours that look like the side of one of their hire boats.DSCF5005 We stopped at Armada Boats in Newbold to fill with diesel at 58p/lt before passing through Newbold tunnel and stopping at the water point. This use to be the slowest tap imaginable, but now its been fixed and I didn’t even have time to eat my lunch before the tank was full and we moved on. We didn’t go far only to the visitor moorings as after lunch we needed to visit the Post Office. There use to be waste bins in The Barley Mow car park, but these have now been moved down the road for some reason  to the Barley Barn car park, still owned by the same people.

Just before All Oaks Wood there is a section of canal in a cutting that is susceptible to land slides and you are asked to travel slowly. Part was along a tree fell in many years ago and the stump has never been removed. Over the years CRT and BW before them have hung various signs and buoy on the stump. For some reason it looks as if the stump has decided to start growing again and it must have fell down and been cut off about 15 to 20 years ago.DSCF5007

We carried on to Brownsover a part of Rugby to stop for a shop at Tesco, when we arrived the place was chocker block, but just south of bridge 58 opposite the park a boat was about to pull off, so we were able to slip into their spot. Since we were this way last the water point has now been moved to the park opposite almost where we are moored.

Today’s Journey  map 7 9¼ miles in 4¼ hours

Thursday 28 July 2016

Ansty Thursday 28 July 2016

Last night the traffic noise wasn’t too bad but picked up a bit early this morning. It was ten past ten when we set off this morning on a much cooler day. It wasn’t long before it started a light drizzle and when that stopped it turned cold so a fleece went on at the end of July, then the rain started again so out came the brolly so it rained harder and on went the coat, then it really started to rain so now its brolly and coat. This went on until lunch time when we stopped to it and it stopped raining. The Voles were out in force again swimming across the cut, this one was sitting on a bunch of floating weed but decided to swim off after we had passed.DSCF4993 I spotted yet another Canal Company boundary marker, this one in a field co not nicely painted like the one in the pub garden.DSCF4989 As you can see plenty of room for erosion before it reaches the farmers land, I wonder if he pays rent, I bet it adds up to a fair old area.

About a mile from Marston Junction a large bough has snapped out of this willow tree in the last few days, they don’t call them crack willows for nothing.DSCF4994 

Out of Marston junction at twenty past twelve and turned very sharply left towards Coventry back on the Coventry canal, you get an idea how sharp it is from this map from Waterways Routes.Marston Junction

We carried on for about another mile and a half before deciding to stop for lunch and if the weather didn’t improve overnight.  There are some new manikins at Charity Dock and some of the boats have been tidied up a bit, all the cruisers in a row, but due to the rain no photograph.
Needless to say as soon as we stopped so did the rain, so after lunch we set off again to Hawkesbury Junction where there is another tight turn , this time 180° under the bridge and back to the stop lock, this has a fall of about 6” 150mm and was to protect the water supply between the Coventry Canal Company and the Oxford canal Company. The  lock has a single gate at each end and each one has a strapping post on it. When the working boatmen came into the lock going down they would put a rope round this post so both closing the gate with the momentum of the boat and stopping the boat hitting the bottom gate. I can’t workout why there is a post on the bottom gate as the gate swings into the lock so you cant strap against it or pull the gate shut. I suppose if you were pulling a butty you could close the gate by strapping the motor to a standstill just outside the lock.DSCF4996

A short way along the North Oxford Canal someone is restoring lorries and farm implements, Not a very good photograph but I cant work out what the wagon is in front of the tractor. The tractor has a saw bench fitted and the tipper lorry behind it is one already restored. There is also a restored green lorry to the left of the wagon.DSCF4998

Now we were looking for somewhere to moor, the first spot we saw which is a reasonable distance from the motorway was just passed the Ansty water point, there are actually rings along here but there was too much debris on the bottom to get in close, I dint mind sitting in silt but not on hard lumps banging away so we went a bit further to the long term moorings just through bridge 14. As usual they were all empty and I have not seen them used for about 5 years so at 4pm that was us for the night. We can still hear the motorway but its as good as it gets along here.

Today’s Journey  map 6 11 Miles, 2 Junctions, 3 canals and 1 lock in 4½ hours.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Hinckley Wednesday 27 July 2016

We set off just after nine before any boats had come by and made steady progress to Snarestone Tunnel, we had some very fine drizzle on the way but it was ok. 
Passing through Shackerstone there is loads of protection on the offside so boats don’t damage the weeds.DSCF4954

At Snarestone we had to wait for a boat to exit the tunnel before we could enter, although this was build as a broad canal there isDSCF4956   not room for two boats to pass in the tunnel and although its not straight you can see end to end. We winded at the last winding hole and walked down the restored length to look at the new bridge. This must be the largest accommodation bridge anywhere on the system.DSCF4961 The farmer was able to drive straight over the infilled canal, but now needs to get his combined harvester across from one field to the other. The bricks for the bridge were salvaged from the canal when they re-dug it, they also found the Midland railway cast iron notices which have just been refitted to the bridge, one each side.

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  We returned to the boat to retrace our steps, just as well as 3 other boats had arrived at the terminus since we came and we met a few more the other side of the tunnel.

Yesterday I posted a photograph of a stone mile post on the Coventry Canal, The Ashby Canal Society have erected  steel mile markers showing the distance to each end of the canal. DSCF4964This is the last one on the restored navigable section indicating it is 22 miles to Marston Junction and 8 miles to the terminus still to be restored.

We have seen a few giant hog weed plants on the banks of the canal but thankfully all on the off side.DSCF4972 

Some of the bridges have bat boxes fitted to them, note the large sign on the front so that the bats know where to go.DSCF4979

Our return journey was much faster than our outward run, even the badly silted sections weren’t too bad without the slow boat ahead of us, unlike yesterday where most of the time was just over 2 mph and a max of 2½ mph today we were doing 3¼ at times, much better.

We passed one moored boat where a Moorhen had set up home in the offside fender, good job the boat doesn't get hit to often, it does mean he can’t go cruising until they hatch and leave the nest.DSCF4977

We only saw a couple of voles this time on the Ashby, this one swam across and then along the boat for a bit before returning from whence he came. 

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We decided that we would eat at the Lime Kilns in Hinckley tonight beside the A5 road bridge. We went under the bridge and moored as far from the road as possible, I just hope it quietens down a bit later. On there law is one of the original boundary Markers, unlike the Coventry Canal Company who used stone these ones are iron and have the initials MR on them for Midland railway, the same as the iron notices on the new bridge that I posted photos of earlier.DSCF4987

The pub was doing a pie night on a Wednesday so its a pie and a pint for a tenner. They must have had over a dozen types of pie on including 3 vegetarian ones. We were only just in time to eat as they stop doing food at 8 30 pm.

Today’s Journey  map 522½ miles, 1 tunnel twice in 8¾ hours

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Ashby Canal bridge Bridge 45 Tuesday 26 July 2014

We made an early start for us this morning as there were no locks to do so should be no queues, we moved just before 9am. Although the moorings around us were packed there was nothing on the actual visitor moorings in Hartshill ether side of the bridge. The old BW yard is looking sad, they cut the grass by the water point but nowhere else.DSCF4911 The canal companies set mile stones along the canal, each company had a different style of post, this is one used by the Coventry Canal Company.DSCF4914

I still cant get over the fact that this old telegraph post exists with it insulators and cross beams. I have photographed it from the boat before but never like this, as I am usually on the boat.DSCF4920

It looks as if Dr Who is still in Nuneaton but his Tardis has suffered the riggers of time, but that is only to be expected after all these hundreds of years.DSCF4922 On to Boot Wharf where not only were boats two abreast there were also boats moored opposite on the tow path and of course where did we meet a boat? This is the hire boat following us.DSCF4923

We also met the charity trip boat Hargreaves in Nuneaton and one of the crew called out to us, it was the Volocky from lock No.2 on the Atherstone flight yesterday, at least we met them on the straight for a change and not on a bend in a bridge hole.

As we have travelled along this canal we have seen an awful lot of Rag Wort in the fields, often ones where horses are grazing. I thought it was quite poisonous to animals and was surprised theDSCF4929 animals owners had not walked round pulling it up. You can see how the animals have grazed round it and it must get worse year on year.

Just before we turned onto the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction this caught my eye in a boat window, I do wonder if he gets much business?DSCF4930  At the junction its self it is still possible to see the hooks in the tow path that were used to assist boats round the sharp turn, The junction is not quite at right angles to the main canal so if going to Coventry from the Ashby the turn is tighter than 90°. They have been flattened now as I expect people tripped over them.DSCF4931

It was 1130 am when we turned into the Ashby canal, we had to wait for a boat to exit first. To start with to going was quite good with a reasonable depth of water but it didn’t last. The Willow Herb along the banks was quite spectacular in places.DSCF4936

There are some interesting ideas on this canal to control boat speed from imitation mines to differing speed signs.

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I am not sure how you are supposed to measure your speed to 0.2 of a mile per hour.

Another thing that surprised us was that the Stoke Golding visitor moorings were completely empty,  I have never seen this before when I have come up here. Could it be the threat of a £25 a day charge for overstaying that worries people, if so how long were they staying in the past.DSCF4943 After this for some reason the canal gets much shallower and so slower, we were making about 3mph until we got to Sutton Wharf where after avoiding 4 girls in sailor suits on a day boat, I wasn’t until it veered across in front of me I realised there was a forth one steering who was so short she couldn’t see over the roof let alone the others sitting on it that I came up behind another boat and apart from when I had to wait for oncoming boats our speed was just a touch over 2mph for about 4½ miles all the way to Market Bosworth where we stopped to fill with water. DSCF4950You can see it here on the Waterway Routes display.

Needles to say by the time we had finished filling with water he was out of sight. The area by the new marina at Market Bosworth which use to be the visitor moorings where the water point use to be is now signed Long Term Moorings or we would have stopped there for the night, there was plenty of room and there is no sign to say where the long term moorings end, but we didn’t so carried on to between bridges 45 and 46  where we have moored for the night, although we are moored to the piling we are about 3 feet out  sitting on the bottom.

Today’s Journey.  map 4 22½ miles, 1 Junction, 2 canals in 9¼ hours

Monday 25 July 2016

Hartshill Monday 25 July 2016

Last time we stopped in Polesworth to eat we had a take a way from Maya Indian Takeaway so I checked on the web to see their opening hours only to find that the Food Hygiene guys had fine them £30,000 in April. There is now another Indian Take a way at the same address called Ratna and they have a rating of 4 which is good, funny thing is they have the same telephone number as Maya. The meal was tasty and a little too much for two of us so we went to bed feeling slightly over full.

This morning the boat moored behind us left well before I intended getting up and several passed before we were ready for the off,  We pushed of at quarter to ten and travelled very slowly to Atherstone where there were 5 boats ahead of us.DSCF4896 Even though we we only doing 2 mph no one caught us up and I worked out if we had left at 11am we would still have cleared the flight at the same time.

One of the boats on the long term moorings below the locks had a solar water heating set up, something you don’t often see on boats but if you don’t run the engine for electricity then often you don’t have hot water.DSCF4895 Strangely I didn’t spot any solar electrical panels on the boat, maybe they were on the bank. A boat we passed later certainly had his fair share of panels on his roof, it was completely covered.DSCF4906  As we waited for our turn at the locks every one ahead of us including us mucked in and helped work the locks, but the hire boat behind us was not so keen to help at first but then did come up to give us a hand. We met a few boats in the flight  but still kept catching the two ahead up in the longer pounds. There is only one lock on this flight that has a working side pond and now CRT has said it mustn’t be used for some reason.DSCF4900

The top three locks had Volockies and at the top lock there was also a meet and greet volunteer who was also lending a hand with the lock. They had a chalk board beside the lock that indicated that 11 boats had been both up and down that lock today. The footbridge across the end of the winding hole is getting a good bashing as people try to wind, Its only just possible to get a 70 foot boat round with the finders lifted because of it. The only need to lift the bridge on a couple of blocks each and and there wouldn’t be a problem as the working boat bows would go underneath it.

Just passed bridge 36 Rothen & Son moor some of their boats, I had not seen one like this there before, the bits sticking out inDSCF4902 front are outriggers that swing to the sides to give the boat more width and stability in use, but they hinge round to the front to pass through narrow locks and bridge holes.

We carried on to moor a short way before Hartshill just beyond bridge 33. There were already a lot of boats moored there but a space after the first on, we didn’t go in the middle but gave a reasonable space after the first one. We had been here about an hour when a longish boat came by looking to moor, he thought he would get in ahead of us, but I could see he wouldn’t make it so we drew back about 6 feet.

Today’s Journeymap 36½ miles, 11 locks in 5¾ hours