Friday 25 November 2022

Back at the marina

After yesterdays rain we woke to a lovely sunny morning and set off at our normal 10am, we didn’t meet any boats in the morning but the 2 Glascote locks were both against us. These sparrows were making good use of one of the towpath puddles.DSCF7426

On the way we passed a house that has done some interesting pruning on his trees.DSCF7423

We chugged on to Fazeley Junction where I made a real pigs ear of turning up the Birmingham and Fazeley. It seems strange going up here and not seeing Kew on her moorings. We topped up with diesel and had a pump out at Fazeley marina before topping up with water and heading back to Alvecote.
Fazeley Junction  is much easier in this direction and went well. Just before the aqueduct the land to the towpath side is quite flooded.DSCF7428

Glascote top lock now has a plaque on a large stone by the bottom gates, it shows someone appreciated the service Keith put in.DSCF7429

From here we chugged on back to the marina meeting a few boats on the way. Thankfully the weather was calm this afternoon, unlike yesterday when we passed for the reverse back down to out berth.

Today’s Journeyimage

7 miles, 4 locks in 4½ hours

The full tripimage

Thursday 24 November 2022


Last night we had a takeaway from Ikbal’s Kitchen and to say the portions are generous would be an under statement. We ordered on line early afternoon and they rang when they opened to say one item was out of stock. I walked up and collected it at the appointed time and they were just completing the order, so all lovely and fresh.
Our mooring was nice and quiet overnight but we had an early call from two lady joggers chatting loudly as the passed the boat between 6 and half past.
Today has been lucky and unlucky, first the luck. We pushed off about half nine a boat had just gone by, but they winded at the top of the locks and didn’t go down in front of us. There were two Volockies on duty, one had the top gates open ready for me, the other was clearing leaves from the bywashes so set ahead for us down to lock 5. Between locks 5 and 6 a boat coming towards us was just mooring up so had turned the rest of the flight ready for us, some had leaked off a bit but most were good. We did the whole flight before it started to rain.
Now the bad luck, I felt something catch the prop as I pulled away from the mooring, it didn’t feel too bad so I carried on, not too much of a problem going slowly down the locks. Between 5 and 6 I decided something would have to be done, so in lock 6 I pealed off my top layers of clothes so I could feel down the weedhatch with a bear arm, I found 2M. of 14mm. mooring line tight round the prop shaft. DSCF7422

The water wasn’t as cold as I expected but it took some time to get it free, some unwound and then it would be tightly crossed, but slowly it all came free.
There are acres of land flooded to the east of the Atherstone flight along the line of the stream running up for as far as the eye can see.DSCF7419

his trip I have see three Royal Mail trains, I wonder if they have Royal Mail drivers or if they are just contracted out, as even the engines are in Royal Mail livery?DSCF7420

This trip is a bit different from most in that we have to end on a specific day, tomorrow to leave the boat on Saturday morning and as you may have realised we are now very close to out moorings, so we decided to sail straight passed the marina entrance and tomorrow go the Fazeley and back, that way we will only be moored in the marina overnight rather than just sit in the marina for 48 hour. Needless to say almost as soon as we passed the marina entrance it started to rain, heavy rain. Brolly up yet again which works really well until you have to stop and moor the boat up. We moored for the night between bridges 66 and 67 as this is a reasonable distance from the railway with housing between us and it.

Today’s Journeyimage

7¾ miles, 11 locks in 3½ hours

Wednesday 23 November 2022


Last night when we walked back from The Greyhound the grass definitely had a sparkle to it and it definitely felt much cooler, so we turned the stove up a notch. When I got the TV aerial in before bed the front deck was covered in ice, and the sky  clear and star light. During the night it started to rain and warmed up quite a bit, enough to start throwing bedclothes off. Thankfully the rain stopped before we set off , the sky turned blue and the sun came out.
I made bit of a hash getting round the junction and had a disagreement with the willow on the far side. Other than that things were going well.
In Nuneaton someone has painted their garden wall that backs onto the towpath which brighten things up a bit.DSCF7416

From the weather forecast we should have made Atherstone before this afternoons rain came, we made Springwood Haven, the wind picked up, the sky turned dark and we got the rain for probably half an hour before it moved away. After that we had a good run to Atherstone top lock where we have moored for the night with no more rain.

Today’s Journeyimage

11 miles, 1 lock in 3¾hours

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Sutton Stop

Well it rained well into the night and early hours this morning. We set off shortly before 10am. and we soon had a very light drizzle, enough to make you put a coat on, but thankfully it didn’t last long and occasionally we had a bit of sunshine. Almost as soon as we set off we were going through Newbold Tunnel, this isn’t the original tunnel, the bricked up mouth of that can be seen in the church yard.DSCF7409

Looking back you can see its dead straight, nice and wide with a towpath on both sides.
At Stretton Stop one of Rose Narrowboat employees kindly opened the bridge for us, so that saved Diana hoping off and on.
On our way out I mentioned the Black water before Ansty, today this pipe was discharging black water about 200Mt. north of the motorway bridge 25 onDSCF7411 the offside. However there was not a mile of black water today, so maybe it only discharges sometimes, or maybe its nothing to do with it.
Just before Coventry Cruising Club on the offside it looks as if someone has dug a fishing lake.DSCF7412

You can just see the rail fencing around it, lets hope it holds water because its just a hole in the ground at the moment. Just after this there was a mischief of Magpies on the ground.DSCF7414

It was then passed the high voltage distribution site where there is a lot of work going on, probably installing more transformers and on to Sutton Stop. As there was nothing moving and lots of moorings we decided to fill with water before mooring, big mistake, a small cruiser came through the lock and moored where I was going to go and then another boat came from Ansty and moored  just behind them so I had to reverse back and moor right on the bendy bit, two nice straight bits missed

Todays Journeyimage

11½ miles, no locks in 4¼ hours

Monday 21 November 2022


I light of the biblical amounts of rain forecast for today we set off at 8-15am on a fine but overcast morning. At Hillmorton Wharf there are now a couple of boats out on hard standing and the crane is still there, maybe the yard owns the crane. There are also two boats in the two wet docks by The Waterside pub (Hungry Horse, Royal Oak or which ever name you remember it as). DSCF7406I don’t know if Hillmorton Wharf have taken these over, last time I stopped there there was a suspended floor over them and it was a chandlery specialising in waterless toilets.
Hillmorton locks now have a paddle out on the top and bottom offside locks, for some reason the middle lock was with us.DSCF7407

We carried on past Clifton Cruisers with all their hire boats double breasted and being cleaned and headed towards Rugby. I was looking to see where the old loop of the canal use to be, the other end is Clifton Cruisers long term moorings, when I heard a door open behind me, it was nb. Oleanna. If they hadn’t opened the door and called I would have missed them completely.
I was very surprise to be able to moor so easily in Rugby, when we came through a couple of weeks ago it was packed solid, today the choice of half a dozen spots and we had got here in the dry. Diana set off for Tesco’s while I locked the boat up, by the time I set off to meet her it had started raining. Back onboard with the shopping the rain was steady, not the downpour that the TV had been going on about, so with coat on and brolly up we set off to Newbold Visitor moorings to moor for the night, like a couple of weeks ago, the moorings are empty, very surprising as there is a pub, shop, water and good mooring.

Todays Journeyimage 5½ miles 3 locks in 2½  hours

Sunday 20 November 2022


We woke to a nice sunny morning and by 9-30 we were ready to go if another boat came along, needless to say at 10am we set off down the flight alone with all locks against us. When we approached lock 2 there was a boat just leaving ahead of us and they offered to wait at lock one (the last one). The closed up as they left but I spotted a boat just exiting lock one coming towards us, so we opened up and waited for him.
True to their work the other boat was waiting in lock one. We carried on to Braunston Turn and headed up the North Oxford Canal stopping at Dunchurch Pools marina to fill with diesel, a sign the weather is getting cooler and the stove is on more and more refuelling stops needed. After leaving the marina we headed towards Hillmorton, stopping for the night just Barby Straight just past bridge 75.

Todays Journeyimage

6.75 miles, 6 locks in 4hours

Saturday 19 November 2022

Braunston Top Lock

Last night we ate at The Red Lion and I have never seen such a good vegetarian menu outside a vegetarian restaurant, nether of us are vegetarians but it looked so good we boat chose different vegetarian meals, the have all the meaty stuff as well.
This morning it was again sunny and we set off a few minutes before 10am as far as Crick Wharf to fill with water. We have stopped here in the past but I have never noticed the old narrow gauge railway lines running down to the wharf edge, two sets are very visible.DSCF7390T he other one terminating at a modern mooring bollard and disappearing under the wall at the front of Edwards Restaurant’s patio (long since closed) .
Opposite the water point there is a modified cruiser, maybe he should have measured a few bridges before he started construction.DSCF7391

Tank full and we headed off through the tunnel and down to Watford Locks, the same Volockie was on that helped up up almost 2 weeks ago, she saw us coming and had the top gate open ready, she also set ahead for us so we were down in short time, mind you she is a boater.

Watford locks consists of 3 standard locks and a flight of 4 staircase locks. The staircase locks have two paddles a red one which fills the lock from the side pond and a white one that empties the lock into a side pound.DSCF7392

To operate the locks going down, you first open the red paddle at the head of the lock in front of you, which draws water from the side pond  and fills the lock you want to enter, then you open the white paddle at the tail of the lock you are in that lowers that lock so that you can open the gates between the two lock chambers.DSCF7393

This is the same system as the Foxton flight.
We carried on down to Norton Junction where we turned right towards Braunston, between here and the tunnel we mat a couple of boats and a canoe as well as passing two moored bide beamed boats, as we entered the tunnel there was a boat coming towards us with an LED headlight. I was able to keep the headlight in line with my chimney until we were very close and then there was no escaping its brightness, I did twat the wall as we passed with the stern. We moored a short way after the tunnel just before the lock moorings, there have been several boats come up since we stopped but none going down.
After we moored up I started to disassemble the alternator I removed the other day and found one of the brush carriers to be shot. A new bit is about £15 if that is all it is, but I have no way of testing it other than refitting to the engine.DSCF7399

Todays Journeyimage
8¼ miles, 7 locks in 3½ hours

Friday 18 November 2022


A nice sunny morning and we were off just after 10, as expected after yesterdays rubbish weather and todays sun there were a lot more boats about. Some parts of this summit feel very deep where as others fell the opposite, OK we may not have been in the very best spot, but meeting a boat on a bend we both went straight forward bows into the outside of the bend.
We often talk about overhanging offside vegetation that requires cutting back, but along here there is a lot towpath side that needs attention.DSCF7389

When the sun went it it turned quite chilly, but that was only in short spells, once at Crick we went through bridge 12 to use the services before reversing back to moor opposite the marina near the southern entrance.
Since we have been here we have had some rain which wasn’t forecast, I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Todays Journeyimage

7¼ miles, no locks in 2¾ hours

Thursday 17 November 2022

Old Hemplow

It started raining yesterday evening and I don’t think it stopped until about 3pm today.
The weather forecast said it would stop raining at 10am. so we got ready and set off at quarter to, but they lied, it didn’t stop raining, not only that it was blowing half a gale.
When we came this way last week the water was almost up to the concrete towpath edging near Welford Junction, with all the rain last night it is now topped over.DSCF7388
I pushed on into the wind and weather catching up to a hire boat with him and her both out on the cruiser stern, they were going so slow even on tick over I was gaining on them. With the wind and weather they didn’t have a clue I was there so a quick toot and they pulled over, from the comment the steerer made the boat wouldn’t go any faster.
After over an hour the weather was showing no sign of improvement and just after bridge 33 I spotted a reasonably sheltered length of piling, so that was it for the day.

Todays Journeyimage

3¾ miles, no locks in 1¼ hours

Wednesday 16 November 2022

North Kilworth

10 o’clock and the sun was shining, we untied, Diana walked to the bottom lock with the rubbish and to find the Volockies. Needless to say it started to rain, but not to heavy and it stopped before we had done the second lock.For some reason the landing stage by the bottom lock outside bridge 61 is barriered off for some reason, just where you want to get off to set the lock. We had to wait about 10 minutes until the Volockie came down, they were working two boats up ahead, the other Volockie carried on with them to the top.DSCF7379 There were several people walking up and down the flight some who were very interested how things worked.
Once clear of the locks we filled with water and retied an escaped North Kilworth hire boat that had been left on the other waterpoint.
On our outward journey I spotted a bush or large Sloes on the offside so we decided to pause a while and just pick a few for the half bottle of gin we have onboard.DSCF7384

A little further on the fuel boat Callisto was refuelling a moored boat, keeping trade going on the canal.DSCF7385

We stopped at the east mouth of Bosworth Tunnel for a bit to eat, there was nothing about so we just floated around. Looking at the portal I noticed as well as the old BWB sign there ate also two dates.DSCF7386

We moored for the night just through bridge 43 to take a peep at the new North Kilworth Marina. As we moored up I noticed a CRT man on the offside poking a pole down into the canal bed, it seems the retaining wall is sliding out into the canal and will require a stoppage and dewatering to repair, so watch out for next years stoppage list.
We walked back along the towpath and over the entrance to the marina, the view from here gives an idea of the size.

IMG_20221116_141711 IMG_20221116_141726

From Google Earth we have this which gives an idea just how big it is.image


We walked back passed North Kilworth Wharf to the main road and walked down to the entrance of the marina with its twin fob operated electric gates and huge buildings.IMG_20221116_143107

Back at the boat there was a tap on the window, a boater who is moored round the corner walking his dog and found an Iphone by our boat and asked if it was ours.

Today’s Journey image

7½ miles, 10 locks in 3¾ hours

Tuesday 15 November 2022


We woke to poring rain and it carried on until about 2pm. so we decided to stay put until it stopped.
When I started the engine the alternator didn’t self excite, so a quick flash had it pumping out amps, not many as its only a 30 amp alternator.
We had 4 locks ahead of us, 2 with us and 2 against, we just cleared the top lock when it started again. The rain doesn’t bother me when there are no locks, I just shut the back doors and put the brolly up.
For a couple of hundred yards north of Saddington Tunnel the towpath must be the worst on the system, its so bad that probably BWB diverted it from the tunnel mouth along the top of the cutting.DSCF7372

Saddington Tunnel is well know for it bats, and to this end there are several man made bat houses installed throughout its length.

DSCF7376 DSCF7377

One thing that has always puzzled me, bats are nocturnal and they live in the dark, so how do they know when its night and time to come out?
When we left the tunnel the weather had improved greatly, the rain had gone and there was even a bit of sun peeping through.
As we passed Debdale Wharf they were about to put the boat they lifted yesterday onto a trolley, so maybe its off to a shed for blacking.DSCF7378

We carried on to moor for the night at Foxton just prior to the junction in the almost darkness.

Today’s Journeyimage

5½ miles, 4 locks in 2¾ hours


The outward bound trip on Google Maps.

Monday 14 November 2022


This morning at 8am I was in the engine room with the engine running. In daylight it was far easier to see what was what and I flashed the field on the alternator to get it charging. The strange thing is, all the time it was fitted to the engine in the early days it always self excited so so there was never a connection to the field. Anyway a quick spark and we were charging again, however this is only a 30 amp alternator but we have power.
The result of the above was we were on our way early for us as I didn’t want to be moored outside houses running the engine .
Yesterday was a very light mist compared to todays weather and it didn’t get much better until after lunch.DSCF7365

We went straight passed the the bottom of the Foxton Flight of locks and Bridge 61 pub towards DSCF7366

Leicester, passing Debdale Wharf where a boat had just been lifted for blacking, I can’t see that getting dry today.
It wasn’t long before  we were at Kibworth Top Lock. Its good to see that an old British Waterways sign has survived the years and CRT’s blue plastic signs.


The locks were in much better condition than I remembered, maybe they are worse nearer Leicester.The cast iron edging of the bywash of the top lock has somehow been broken.DSCF7368

At Taylors Lock there is a glamping site on the offside complete with a very large Tepee.DSCF7369

The flight was definitely not short of water as can seen by the top gates of Pywell’s lock with water gushing over the top.DSCF7371

We carried on down through Crane’s Lock where we had to wind as there are stoppages a little further down the canal.We came back up through the lock and moored for the night with fully charged batteries.

Today’s Journeyimage

7¼ miles, 6 Locks in 3½ hours