Monday, 25 September 2017

Snarestone

Since our last post we have been somewhat busy. We spent a whole week at Shackerstone, and took full advantage of the events and hospitality the village had to offer. On Saturday 16/9, we departed Shackerstone railway station by steam engine, heading to Market Bosworth. The reason was the annual 1940s event, taking place in the railway yard over the weekend. We were joined on the platform by some German soldiers, although, as the only ones to make it here in reality were prisoners of war, they seemed to be missing their guards.
  The trip to Market Bosworth from Shackerstone takes a little over 15 minutes, and unlike our last steam hauled journey, this time we did not travel in luxury. In fact the carriage was marked third class on the door. Oscar was most unimpressed. On arrival at Market Bosworth, the station was teaming with people dressed of the era, some in military uniforms, and some wearing civilian clothing. It was like stepping back in time. The railway yard was effectively divided between the allies and the axis forces in their respective encampments. Although it appeared as if the German forces had all the heavy weapons.
 
After looking around the various stalls and exhibits, we decided to walk up to Market Bosworth town for some supplies. The walk is uphill all the way, but worth the effort as most of the shops are contained within a small square. Another benefit is, that when laden with shopping, the walk back is all downhill. We had a spot of lunch back at the railway yard, but decided not to hang around for the battle re-enactment, as the bangs and smoke would upset the furry crew member. Sunday 17/9, we returned to the Rising Sun P.H. for a roast dinner, followed by some rest and recuperation back on the boat. Most of the remaining days involved taking four legs for a walk, although on Tuesday 19/9, we did find ourselves at the Horse and Jockey P.H. in Congerstone. I knew the following day I had a particularly onerous job to do, so treated myself to a fillet steak. Wednesday 20/9, in preparation of impending winter, it was time to service the Morso solid fuel stove. This is our main source of heat during the cold winter months, and rarely goes out between November and March. For this reason we wanted to ensure it was clean and fit for purpose. The stove itself needed little work other than a bit of a clean, and polish. The flue however was a different story. The diameter of the flue is approx four and a half inches, however due to a build up of soot etc. this had been reduced to two inches, at the bottom end of the flue nearest the stove. The soot was not the nice soft soot, easily removed with a flue brush, it had set like concrete. After various different attempts were made to loosen the said deposits, the answer finally presented itself in the shape of our heavy, metal spiked boat hook. Half an hour later, we now had a flue back to its original diameter. Friday 22/9, we set off in glorious sunshine for the end of the canal at Snarestone. It was a very pleasant cruise, and not very busy which is always good.
In the second picture above, during our cruise to Snarestone, a heron photo bombed the picture and can be seen flying to the right of the chimney. On arrival at Snarestone, we passed through the tunnel and reached the end of the canal. The visitor moorings were empty, but the new section beyond the footbridge did have several boats moored. We opted for the 48 hour visitor moorings, and secured to boat.
Heading off in the direction of the Globe P.H. for lunch we looked back to see the boat all alone. It wouldn't last. Whilst at the pub we booked in for Sunday lunch. It was very nearly fully booked, so just as well we did not turn up ad hoc. This morning having enjoyed our stay, we needed to move off. Not very far though, as we are due to meet up with family tomorrow. We set off back through the tunnel, and found a nice open spot on some fourteen days moorings, we will wait here.
The photos above are us emerging from the crooked tunnel, and the view of our mooring. We will stay put till Wednesday when we may need services at Bosworth Marina.
  • Totals Friday 22/9.   3 Miles  1 Tunnel
  •          Monday 25/9. 0.5 Mile 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 180 Miles 41 Locks 9 Tunnels 

Friday, 15 September 2017

Shackerstone

This morning we were in two minds whether to stay put at Market Bosworth. The sky was very grey, and a fine misty drizzle was in the air. We delayed our decision for half an hour or so, and it cleared a bit so we got underway. En route we met several oncoming boats, which is always good news, as this means plenty of mooring spots would be available. As we arrived at Shackerstone the skies began to darken,  and it would touch and go as to whether we secured the boat before the downpour. The mooring area was virtually empty, in complete contrast to how it was when here two weeks ago. We picked a spot near the reed beds and tied up, just in time to avoid a drenching. Once the rain passed we set off to the Rising Sun P.H. for lunch.
  
Mooring at Shackerstone.
Whilst in the pub we met an old boatman from the Black Country. He had seen us when we passed by earlier, and had recognised the sign writing on our boat, as having been done by Dave Moore. We had a chat about things, and he asked us to remember him to Dave next time we are at Glascote Basin. We will not be there till next year now, so if anyone at Glascote Basin reads these ramblings, can you say hello to Dave, from ' the blacksmith ' on nb Themis.
  • Totals 3 Miles
  • Running total 177 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 
 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Market Bosworth

Having survived the storm, this morning after breakfast, we set off aiming for Shackerstone. It was still fairly breezy, but not so much, that would deter us from entering Market Bosworth Marina for services. We passed a relatively empty Sutton Wharf, where we had lunch a few days ago, and continued on our journey. The sun was warm through the broken clouds, and we encountered quite a bit of oncoming traffic. At one bridge, we had to wait whilst three boats came through, not normally a problem, but in the wind, a little tricky holding the boat straight. We arrived at Market Bosworth about two and a half hours after setting off, and made the turn into the Marina. We managed to secure the boat on the services pontoon, despite the best efforts of the wind, trying to blow us off. After filling with water, having a pump out and replacing a gas cylinder, we were ready to depart. However, at the Marina there is a bistro type cafe, and it was lunchtime. It is amazing how quickly plans change when hungry. We checked there was space to moor outside the Marina, and secured the boat. We will stay here now till tomorrow, unless the weather is rubbish, in which case it may be longer.
Obtaining services Bosworth Marina
View from the cafeteria
Whilst in the cafe I noticed they do breakfasts, so depending on our departure time tomorrow, a visit for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs maybe on the cards.
  • Totals 6 Miles
  • Running total 174 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Stoke Golding

Since our last post we have actually been quite busy. As planned, on Bank Holiday Monday 28/8, we departed Shackerstone aiming for Stoke Golding. Our first stop of the day was at Market Bosworth Marina for services, we are becoming regulars here this year. Then onwards to Shenton where we stopped for lunch, no pub this time as we still had a way to go. Unusually for a Bank Holiday, the weather was warm and sunny so it made for a pleasant cruise. On arrival at Stoke Golding in the late afternoon, we found far more boats moored than on our previous visit, but we were able to find a spot. We stayed put in Stoke Golding for a few days, making use of the nearby farm shop at bridge 23. On Thursday 31/8, I was another year older and now 3 years into retirement, to celebrate a trip to the Dog and Hedgehog P.H was the order of the day. Along with birthday lunches and Sunday roasts, we are becoming regulars here as well. Friday 1/9, we had a short three mile cruise to Trinity Marina at Hinckley. We had booked a week long mooring here, whilst we left the boat for a pre planned excursion the following week. We still had our car to collect from Glascote Basin, so a trip back to Tamworth was the afternoon activity. This was needed so that the furry crew member could be dropped off at his home boarding, aka posh kennels, whilst we went on our trip. The following day the two legged crew abandoned ship, leaving me and four legs to rest and recuperate in Hinckley. Tuesday 5/8, having secured the boat I travelled to London for an overnight stay in Victoria, ready for the next days jaunt. Wednesday 6/9, having been joined by the two legged crew, we made our way to Victoria Station to check in for our journey to Bath, on the steam driven Pullman train. The journey was to take four hours, being hauled by the steam engine 'Tornado', whilst inside the 1920s carriages we were wined and dined. On route a half hour stop was made at Newbury racecourse station, to allow the engine to take on more water. This was supplied by a fire brigade tender, presumably all the track side water towers are long since gone. During the course of the day, the engine would burn its way through approximately five tons of coal, and whilst capable of reaching speeds exceeding 100 Mph, is limited by regulations to 75 Mph. On arrival in Bath we enjoyed an organised coach tour, followed by a trip to the Roman Baths. It was here we were able to take the water, that supposedly cures all ills. It tasted disgusting. Once back on board the train, we returned to our comfortable armchairs, ready for our four course dinner en route back to London. Thursday 7/9, we returned to reality, using the everyday trains of the London Midlands service, to get us back to the boat, not forgetting to collect four legs on the way. 
Steam train 'Tornado'    
 
   
Roman Baths
Saturday 9/9, we departed Trinity Marina heading back to Stoke Golding. For Sunday lunch it was back to the Dog and Hedgehog, and yesterday Tuesday 12/9, we walked the five mile round trip to Sutton Wharf. Last night a forecast storm was due to arrive, so before bed, ropes were tightened, and the satellite dish removed from the roof. In the end though, the wind did not amount to much. Our plan is to head off tomorrow, as we are in need of services at Market Bosworth Marina. Hopefully the wind will have dropped a bit more by the time we reach there.
  • Totals Monday 28/8. 9 Miles
  •          Friday     1/9. 3 Miles
  •          Saturday 8/9. 3 Miles
  • Running total  168 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Shackerstone

Thursday 24/8, as planned we departed Snarestone. We have enjoyed our stay at the top of the Ashby Canal, and during our time there, we met several of the members of the Ashby Canal Association. The aim of the association is to maintain, and ultimately complete the link, between the current terminus of the canal at Snarestone, and its historic terminus at Moira. The first step to this restoration is to reach the town of Measham, just under three miles away. It is hoped that with fundraising efforts by the association, and some money from lottery funds, this first step could be achieved in three to five years. So, having enjoyed several weeks on this canal, we have decided to become members of the association and support the restoration efforts. Whilst filling the tank with water we had breakfast, then forty minutes later set off for the crooked tunnel. An hour later we arrived at Shackerstone, and were amazed to find that the spot we had vacated a few days earlier was empty. We slipped into our spot, and after securing the boat made our way to the pub for refreshments. On Friday we walked along the canal to the next village, Congerstone. The canal towpath was by now starting to fill with trading boats, in advance of the Shackerstone festival next weekend. In Congerstone we did our bit supporting local business, by having lunch at the Horse and Jockey P.H. The food was very good and the pub is dog friendly. The weather over the past few days has been very warm and sunny, and unusually for a bank holiday weekend is going to remain good. Today it was back to the Rising Sun P.H for a Sunday roast, which we can thoroughly recommend. Tomorrow we plan to head off for Market Bosworth or beyond.
  • Totals 3 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 153 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Snarestone

Since our last post, we have spent a week on a very pleasant mooring in the village of Shackerstone. We departed Market Bosworth, on Wednesday 16/8 on the four mile journey. The top end of the Ashby Canal, is by far the best for scenery, and we could easily spend weeks at a time, just meandering up and down. On arrival at Shackerstone, we found the mooring spot we were after and secured the boat. It was by now lunchtime, so a short stroll took us to the Rising Sun P.H. and liking what we saw, we also booked in for a Sunday roast. The next couple of days had been forecast to be fair and dry, so it was an excellent opportunity to sand down and varnish, a few areas of weathered wood, by the rear doors and side hatches. All went well, despite the fact that the good old Met Office, as usual got their forecast wrong. We encountered several showers, some heavy, but were able to protect the newly varnished wood from the rain. We had always planned on spending at least a week in Shackerstone, only moving when our water tank needed a refill. During our time there, we also met fellow bloggers from nb Freespirit, whose blog which is far more extensive than these ramblings, can be found in our blog list at the side. ( It was nice meeting you again, there was space at the end ). Since Saturday a few trading boats have started arriving at Shackerstone, presumably for the canal festival in a couple of weeks. It appears as if Shackerstone is going to get busy, so our plan to return to the same spot, after spending a few days at the canal terminus is looking doubtful. We also want to avoid encountering too much traffic, on our return if we can, during the upcoming bank holiday weekend. With this in mind, we set off today for the end of the canal at Snarestone. Trundling slowly for the final three miles, we met only one oncoming boat, just as we were preparing to enter the crooked Snarestone Tunnel. The tunnel is single way working only so, after they emerged it was our turn. The tunnel is fairly short at 250yds, but due to a serious kink in the middle it is also fairly dark. Still this would be no problem for the Francis searchlight to illuminate. Pressing the switch for the tunnel light, and nothing. Note to self, check tunnel light actually works, and not just looks pretty on the front of the boat. Once through the tunnel, moorings are fairly limited, and we had been told it was full. Fortunately the newest section of the canal which has been recently restored, also has moorings beyond the small swing bridge. Our boat at 60 feet is too long for the winding hole at the terminus, but we were able to wind before the swing bridge and then reverse a 100 yds or so onto our spot. We can stay here for 48 hrs for free, and then extend our stay if we wish for a fee of ten pounds a night thereafter. As is usual for us, it was lunchtime again so we walked over the top of the tunnel to The Globe P.H. taking the furry crew with us.
Snarestone mooring, new section
We are currently planning to move off on Thursday and hope to be settled somewhere before the bank holiday. It is possible this will be back at Shackerstone, but we are expecting it to be busy there, so who knows.
  • Totals Wed 16/8. 4 Miles
  •           Tue 22/8. 3 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 150 Miles 41 Locks 6 Tunnels 

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Market Bosworth

Yesterday we stayed put at Stoke Golding, and during the day we took four legs for a walk along the canal to Sutton Wharf, a round trip of about five miles. In the evening, we joined the crew of nb Barolo No.3 at the Mango Tree curry house in the village. At the conclusion of a pleasant evening, we said our farewells for another year and returned in the dark to the boat. Note to self, remember torch if staying out late. This morning as forecast the sun was shining, we commenced our trip aiming for Market Bosworth. First stop was at the Wharf for water. It was around here that we must have picked up something on the propeller. Fortunately, not enough of a problem to stop us, but a trip down the weed hatch was on the cards later. We continued on through peaceful, rural Leicestershire, passing Ambion Wood, the supposed site of the Battle of Bosworth Field and meeting few oncoming boats. On arrival at Market Bosworth we attempted to moor prior to the Marina entrance, but it was very shallow. Pressing on we turned into the Marina for services, then took up a mooring spot 100 yards beyond.
Mooring at Market Bosworth        
Market Bosworth Marina is fairly new, so some of the freshly planted trees have yet to grow, however once established it will be a pleasant setting. Whilst the two legged crew visited the town, a mile up the hill for supplies, me and the furry one acquainted ourselves, with the remains of a pair of ladies jeans that had wrapped themselves round our prop. The next job of the day was to descale the floating element of our holding tank gauge. The gauge has not been working due to the float sticking. I will let imagination explain why this might be. Tomorrow we will aim for Shackerstone, where we hope to spend a few days dealing with some more maintenance tasks, the main being, varnishing the front, rear and both sets of side doors, so fingers crossed for fine dry weather.
  • Totals 6 Miles
  • Running total 143 Miles 41 Locks 5 Tunnels