Looking out this morning the grass was a bit white and frosty in places, but it was quite bright, HS2 have set load of trees opposite where we were moored so I am not sure what they are planning for the site. We timed our departure well for a change, Diana was on the boat hovering while I was setting the lock when a boat came up behind us. Just round the corner HS2 have now cut a swath through the offside trees where the crossing will be. Looking at the plans I think this is just a spur. We could see people moving down at Shadehouse Lock and sure enough there was a small cruiser coming up, they had just closed the bottom gates when we arrived but only used one top paddle to fill the lock, but it did mean that Middle lock would be full. At Fradley junction we carried straight on down through Junction Lock. It was while I was working the lock I was approached by a CRT “Chugger” after money. Trying to engage me in conversation while I am working a lock is not the best time, that’s how accidents happen, I also pointed out I give them enough already so he wondered on his way. There looked to be a second one seated in the car park for the café. At Keepers lock there was a boat on the lock landing below the lock, both the bottom gates were closed and paddles down but the lock was empty so I proceeded to lock the single hander up before we could continue. I don’t know how long he had been there but Hunts Lock was down by about 2 foot. I think it was about here that it started to sleet. Nothing for it now but to continue down through Common Lock where I noticed that there was actually ice on the canal in amongst the reeds. The sleet got heavier and wetter as I pushed on through Bagnall Lock, departing the lock I left the bottom gates open as we only went about 50 yards to the winding hole before retracing our steps. There seem a lot more new properties here than I remember from our last visit.
I was interested to see how the new marina by Common Lock was coming along, there are probably a dozen boats in there now with a good entrance from below the lock, of course they have the no turning notice up but there would be tons of room to wind without going into the actual entrance, just using the splay. Common Lock had leaked a bit since we came down, probably 6” to a foot. I must admit by now the weather was unpleasant and with wet cold hands I couldn’t get any gloves on. Back up to Hunts Lock, still almost empty and Keepers right empty, whereas Junction Lock was full. Leaving Junction lock it was hard left back onto the Coventry Canal. The swing Bridge was open but we closed it on leaving. They are doing a lot of building on the offside after the mooring and bridge and have dug some very large ponds to take storm water. Passing under the A5 road bridge for many years there has been a Dutch Barge style narrowboat moored on the offside, it looks as if its had a good scrub and cardboard put behind the broken window, but then obviously failed to raise the sunken ex BWB work boat moored behind it, it was well on its way to coming up last time we passed with a couple of chaps working on it. You can still see the pumps on site, so I guess they plan to try again.
Our planned stop for the night was the Brookhay waterworks, as we approached hoping it was vacant we spotted a goods train going by behind it, The train line gets very close to the canal after Brookhay Wharf, but I understand its just a non electric goods line and I have no idea were it goes. We were in luck the mooring by the waterworks was empty so we pulled in here for the night. Officially its for CRT workboats but the signs have long gone and its unlike one is going to turn up to load tonight.
Todays journey 6¾ miles 13 lock in 4½ hours