Tuesday 21 July 2020

Home Moorings

We had a nice Indian Take a Way last night from Kudos Studio, We spent £28 and had sufficient for not only last night but also tonight with the left overs, on top of that there was a free bottle of Larger, if you like that sort of thing.

After a good quiet night we were on our way at 9-30 this morning, both the Glascote locks were with us and after that we met a few boats including hire boats.

The only point point of interest was this rat wandering around under one of the canal bridges.DSCF3837

When we arrived back at the marina the wind was very light so I decided to wind just inside the marina and then run backwards down to our berth, needless to say there was no one watching.

Tonight you have two maps, the first our total tripmap 16a over the 15 days and the second just our standard daily trip.

Today’s Journey 4.4 miles, 2 locks in 2 hours.map 16

Monday 20 July 2020


It turned quite cool yesterday night and I had to get up and remove the louver in the engine room and close the hatch.
We pushed off at our normal 10am for an uneventful trip to Fazeley.

Just beyond the A38 bridge there is a sunken boat, its been slowly getting lower in the water since it first arrived here. It looks like an ex BWB work boat.DSCF3829

I considered stopping at Streethay for a pump out but as there were two boats waiting and I would have had to turn round we carried on. I made the first weed hatch visit of the trip just before Streethay, a pair of Calvin Klein’s, my word they use good elastic.

Interestingly several cow have taken to walking in the canal to drink, they must know where the edge of the canal is as they were only walking in the shallow edge and you cant see the depth.DSCF3833 When we arrived in Fazeley we turned right up the Birmingham and Fazeley canal to visit Fazeley Mill Marina for a pump out and top up with diesel, when we arrived there were two boats waiting outside and one already on the services. By the time it was our turn there were two more boats waiting, it seems most places are still closing at weekends. Once we had emptied the loo tank and filled the diesel tank we headed back to Fazeley Junction to fill with water and moor for the night. Although our journey time was 6.75 hours, probably two hours were spent waiting about.

Today’s Journey 14 miles in 6.75 hours with no locks.

map 15

Sunday 19 July 2020

Fradley Village

Well I got it wrong again yesterday. We moored at Branston Water Park, the area is being redeveloped with large housing complexes, one, Coopers Croft is right next to the towpath and the end of theDSCF3809 park. My logical mind said, its Sunday tomorrow, no one will be at work. Wrong, 7 am a couple of carpenters started work hammering using electric saws etc.
To facilitate all these new houses they have build a new bridge across the canal, it looks quite smart.DSCF3816 Not only are they building next to the towpath there is another large development going in on offside. This one is called The Coopers.DSCF3810

We set off at 10am heading to Burton upon Trent which is the first place to wind. The winding hole is right outside Shobnall marina and as we could do with a pump out and their diesel was a reasonable price I reversed in to what is a disused lock only to find out that due to Corona Virus they are closed on Sundays. So we left there to retrace or path of the past few days, We didn’t get held up at any locks and often we would meet a boat which would easy the journey. By now the weather was getting much warmer and at Barton Turns lock I met an old boating friend Helen, Diana was unaware we were chatting as there is a bridge across the tail of the locks and Helen was in the garden one side and Diana setting the lock the other. We chugged slowly on to Wychnor Lock where the cottage owner has there best bike on display.DSCF3796

The river was calm and slow but I didn’t see any fish as we made our way towards Alrewas. About half way along there is a bridge leading to the offside long term moorings, it doesn't pay to ignore the keep right sign. We met a couple of boats on the DSCF3819river and as we approach Alrewas Lock my attention was draw to screams from the direction of the weir, looking across a group of girls were wading across the river, I bet even in this heat the water is jolly cold. I didn’t notice the gull on the barrier until I was sorting the snaps.DSCF3820

There were still quite a few boats moored in Alrewas but non across the winding hole this time. As it was such a nice afternoon we changed our plans and carried on, up through Fradley Junction which again was packed and along the Coventry canal to Fradley village where we have pulled in for the night.

Today’s Journey 13.7 miles, 12 locks  6.15 hoursmap 14

Saturday 18 July 2020

Branston Water Park

Yesterday evening the canal at Fradley was busy until well after 8pm and the towpath even later. The boat behind us started his engine about 7-30 but he  push off until 8AM.

When we left at 10 there had been several boats come past but only a few had left. As we approached the swing bridge I spotted this littleDSCF3784 beauty in the garden. CRT were going to fit a locking mechanism to this bridge a few years ago, its good to see they didn’t waste our money on it.
There was a CRT Volockie on Junction Lock and he looked our way to see which way we were going. The moorings below Junction lock were also still full and with a boat ahead on the lock moorings I had to hold well back for an upcoming boat. By the time we had got to Hunts Lock the Volockie had arrived there and was helping boats through.

Work in ongoing slowly at the new marina down at DSCF3787Common Lock, lots of the pontoons are in but less water when we came through 2 years ago, they are still excavating the northern basin and  I don’t knowDSCF3788 when they plan to open it, but they have a web site Fradley Marina.

I just love this wall painting in Alrewas, DSCF3795again it was wall to wall moored boats, even across the winding hole. We stopped to top the water tanks up and while we were doing so at least 4 boats came past because when  the tank was full we were the fourth in the queue for the lock down to the river and there were boats arriving behind us as well. The river was well in the green  but its still surprising how much flow there is on that top end before the weir. By the time we had got to Wychnor Lock we had caught up with the boat ahead and that would happen at every lock for the rest of the day. Once we reached Barton marina it started to ran, not to heavy but a nuisance. At Tatenhill lock there is an ex working boat, its looking a lot smarter than the last time we saw it .DSCF3801 Today’s Journey 8.6 miles 9 locks in 5.33 hours map 13

Friday 17 July 2020

Fradley Junction

Well its getting a lot like summer out here and if you are not moored by 3pm in popular spots like Hopwas and Fradley you aren’t going to get in. We arrived at Fradley and dropped into a space about 80 foot long, unfortunately the 70 foot boat we were following went to the junction to wind, when he came back we were sitting at one end of it. The boat ahead of us offered to draw forward and we did the same thing leaving a 72 foot gap. Moorings full and its just before 2 pm. Boats have been passing in both directions ever since. Well that the end done, now the beginning.

We left at or normal time or around about 10 am ish. by then all the 48 hour moorings were empty, last night they were full and half the boats had gone from the free moorings ahead of us.

We had a pleasant run catching up with an ex working boat, or a replica after about an hour, he was traveling slower than we would have liked but was faster past moored boats than me. I also stopped at Whittington to drop some bits off on a friends boat so we didn’t catch him up again but we did see him pass our mooring spot, I expected him to pull in but he didn’t.

Today has been much warmer with the sun really hot, last night I put the wooden louver in the engine room side hatch and we were still hot.

Todays Journey 9 miles in 3.5 hours.map 12

Thursday 16 July 2020


Last night we chose our mooring spot to be the furthest point from the railway with a very small hill between it and us. What we didn’t barging on was them working on the line all night directly opposite where we moored with lights and machinery running.

We didn’t set off until 1140 this morning, before leaving I remade the coax ends on the Moonraker TV aerial which hopefully will make it more stable in windy weather. Just as I was about to untie NB Briar Rose came by and we exchanged greetings, as you do.

There are a lot of young ducklings around at the moment, I expect these are probably second brood DSCF3773when the duck lost her first clutch and not doing too well with this clutch.

We had a good run and at Glascote top lock a boater who was taking on water kindly opened the top gate for us.We met more hire craft today than we have all trip, only one in a bad spot but several pulled over to far and took a trip through the trees.

Passing through Fazeley there were hardly any boats moored which is unusual whereas Hopwas was pretty full and we had to pass through to the far side to find a spot, and now even more boats have arrived.

Todays Journey 11 miles, 2 locks in 4 hours.map 11

Wednesday 15 July 2020


A very nice Indian Take-a-way last night from the Raj Mahal in Atherstone, I went in and ordered early evening for a later collection, just the set meal for 2 but it will also go a long way towards tonight's dinner as the portions were so large.

The towpath was very  quiet overnight and this morning which was good. I received news last night that lock 9 was broken from a boater moored below it, so this morning were were a bit undecided, but CRT were there early and said it was sorted, so at 1015 hrs we were away. There was a boat going down some way ahead and the lady Volockie was emptying the top lock when we arrived, but no boat coming up, she was letting water down a lock full at a time. When the lock was full again we went down with the next lot of water that almost flooded the towpath, I suspect the bywash on lock 2 is well bunged up. One, of the allotments above lock 3 is brightening things up a bit.DSCF3762By lock 4 we had caught up with the single hander going down, as he sat in lock 4 there was another single hander waiting to come up, so Diana went down to help them while I slowly worked lock 3. The single hander stopped below lock 5 and we were away, but not for long. Just above Lock 8 a CRT chap waved me down and said there was a problem on Lock 9 (the one that was fixed earlier) and they were cleaning the cill and paddles. I didn’t shop where he said but carried on to lock 8 lock moorings as I didn’t want to be grounded when they refilled the 8 to 9 pound, this is what it looked like when we arrived.DSCF3763The CRT chap removed several lumps of brick from lock 9 top gate cill which were stopping it fully closing and was well on the way to finishing when we arrived, walking down Diana spotted these DSCF3764footprints in the mud of the drained pound. I think they were too widely spaced for a Mink but what ever it was must have been down there this morning while the pound was low.

We were soon on our way again heading for lock 10 but we didn’t get there without being observed. DSCF3767Once clear of the flight we stopped for a bit of lunch on the moorings below the bottom of the flight. Even this was problematic, Diana tied the front rope to one of the mooring rings and immediately a swarm of ants appeared from the brickwork around the ring and headed straight up or mooring rope, so we let lose and moved backwards to the next ring which looked clear, but as soon as the rope was on out they came, round the steel ring and straight up the rope towards the boat, I suppose they could smell where the others had gone. In the end we used a mooring hook a little further up.

After lunch we moved up to the water point to top the tank up and then continued North, we were hoping to moor a short way North of Grendon DryDSCF3772 Dock where the canal loops away from the railway and there is a small hill between them, we were in luck as there was only one boat there so just after 3pm we tied up, just before the rain.

Todays Journey 3 miles 11 locks in 3.6 hours.
I am still trying to find the most user friendly map, this could well be it unless I can find a downloadable one that users can open.map 10

Tuesday 14 July 2020


Another early shout this morning, the boat moored about a yard behind us left before 6am this morning making our rudder bash about.

We were away a little after 10 and it was less than a mile to the junction, but in that mile we were to see our only single Water Vole of the trip, we normally DSCF3756see a few when we come this way. So only a quick photo from well passed it.

We just cleared the junction before a boat coming from the Coventry direction wanted to turn in, we turned left heading north again.

Some of the gardens in Nuneaton are quite interesting, some tidy gardening and some with a sense of humour like the end of this shed.DSCF3757

Between bridges 24 and 25 there is a sunken, burnt out cruiser that is hardly visible as most of it is submerged, the duck on the corner makes a good marker.DSCF3760

Once at the top of the Atherstone flight we found a spot to moor and the other vacancies soon filled up, but now several of them have left and the four boat ahead of us all look unoccupied now. A quick trip into town to do some shopping including getting a couple of face coverings/Chinese foam dust masks in case they are required before we get home.

Today’s Journey 9.8 miles in 3.5 hoursmap 9a

map 9

map 9b

Monday 13 July 2020


Well the day started damp, very light rain which stopped before we left, but it ended wet with real rain, we did get some sun in the middle.

We were away at half ten but several boats had come by in both directions by then.
The moorings at Stoke Golding on the long bend were completely empty, just as they were on our outward journey. I mentioned earlier about the stateDSCF3752 of some of the bridges along this canal, here is another example, but not due to vehicle impact this time.

CRT contractors are still working on the towpath at Hinckley with a floating digger with a flat half full of DSCF3754surfacing sand moored alongside. Later in the day I was to meet another flat full of surfacing sand being pushed with a small tug, of course I met it on a bend with a row of moored boats on the outside of the bend and an overhanging tree on the inside, We passed green to green with a cheery wave.

As we passed the Lime Kiln pub I noticed this canal marker set well back into the lawn, this would donate the where the the ownership of the canal company ended, now CRT.DSCF3755 We pushed on a bit further looking for a mooring before the junction, we found one just through bridge 3, there were three boat here already well spread out but there was a 60 foot gap between the last two. Just as we were pulling in 3 more boats came the other way, the last one being a Sea Otter who was able to pull in at the other end.

Todays journey 11 miles in 4.5 hours and a new map.
map 8

Sunday 12 July 2020

Sutton Cheney

We overslept this morning, I think it was due to the early morning ducks and then dropping off again. Its even hotter today, around the 25° mark but in the early hours it dropped down to 4°C. It was getting towards 11am when we set off, Diana went to dump the rubbish and open the bridge but was beaten to it by the boat ahead, they were stopping for water so I went on ahead, The moorings beyond the bridge were already full with new boats arriving, some even opposite the winding hole, the last boat to arrive asked it it was OK to moor where we had come from, he said it was 25 years since he last visited.

Just as we were about to enter Snarestone Tunnel a boat headlight arrived at the other end so we pulled back and waited. There were 13 boats moored the far side. It wasn’t long before we passed another DSCF3741defaced mile post. This time they didn’t paint out the original 10 mile marker.

There were lots of people out enjoying the sunshine today, Magnet Fishermen, Walkers, Fishermen, Canoeists and even a couple of Stand Up Paddleboarders, non of which caused us any problem.DSCF3743 
Some of the cloud formations today were quite interesting from this very light wisping through toDSCF3745 the small fluffy blobs.DSCF3749

We made a short stop at Shenton Aqueduct for Diana to replenish supplies from Aqueduct Farm shop which is close by.

If the visitor Moorings at Sutton Cheney had have been open we would probably stopped there for the night, but they are closed for refurbishment. At theDSCF3748 moment they are made of recycled plastic and haven’t stood the test of time, so we carried on for about a mile before mooring in the middle of nowhere.

Today’s Journey 12 miles in 5 hours Map 7a

Saturday 11 July 2020


A fine day but still quite chilly when we set off at 1015am. The offside willows at Market Bosworth will so require some attention, the canal is down to one boat width now.DSCF3729Again in the first hour we met 5 boats, 3 of them at bridges. We stopped for a short chat with Derwent 6 who we hadn’t seen for some time, but knew they were this way from their blog.

It is important to stop water getting down the chimney into your stove as the cast iron soon rusts and blows the joints, so people fit purpose made caps but others just use what’s to hand.DSCF3730Lots of the bridges on this canal are in need of some attention, some moor than others, I wonder it the wall was hit by a passing vehicle and if so did they own up to it.DSCF3731The Ashby Canal Association (ACA) have gone to a lot of time and expense installing new “Mile Markers” when they did this they decided to future proof them and stat from the final terminus, unfortunately someone disagrees with them and think it should be from the present terminus so have defaced 3 of them by changing them to 1 2 & 3 painting out the correct number.DSCF3733 We stopped just prior to the full size winding hole for lunch before walking the restored section and then the unrestored length as far as the Snarestone Road where the route of the restored canal will leave the original line. The ACA erected so interpretationIMG_20200711_145837 board on the old route indicating what use to be there, there is also a marker showing the depth of the Ashby coal seams.IMG_20200711_145651

We wandered to the ACA shop for ice creams and buy a few bits and bobs before returning to Harnser to reverse the newly restored length. To access the new length you have to pass through Swing bridge 61a which our old friend Mike opened for us, it wasDSCF3734 then backwards all the way through the new bridge 62 to the terminus, there is a winding hole at the DSCF3739terminus but it is slightly too small for us to get round. Once we had done the photo at the very end we came back under bridge 62 to moor just beforeDSCF3735 the swing bridge over night. It has got very busy here this afternoon with all the visitor moorings taken on the CRT section of canal and 4 of us down here on the ACA section.

Today’s Journey 7.5 miles in 3.5 hoursmap 6