Sunday, 8 October 2017

Norton Junction Update

I just knew even entering the canalware shop by lock 8 would be a mistake, as I would be bound to see something I wanted, and so it was. Yesterday during our walk with four legs down the Buckby Lock flight, I was drawn in and purchased a brass oil lamp we had seen the previous day. I even knew where on the boat it was going to be installed. We arranged to collect it on the way back from our walk, once we had visited the garden centre at the bottom of the flight. Back at the boat armed with a bradawl and a screwdriver, the lamp was fixed in our back cabin.
Brass Oil Lamp
Today as planned we wandered off to the New Inn P.H. to reacquaint ourselves with their roast dinners. We were not disappointed. The afternoon will be spent relaxing, in readiness for the ascent of Watford Locks tomorrow morning. We expect to continue past our winter mooring at Yelvertoft, and end up somewhere near bridge 28, as we are not quite ready to stop cruising just yet.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Norton Junction

After a pleasant night just outside Braunston, this morning we woke to bright strong sunshine, and a crystal clear blue sky. The temperature reading on the cabin thermostat read 10 degrees, so still a degree or two above a morning frost, but you could feel the nip in the air. We set off around 9.30am, and soon we reached the water point by the 'gongoozerlers rest' cafe. Needing a top up we pulled in, and began filling the water tank. This also gave us time to see if any other boats would turn up, so we would have a locking partner for the ascent of the Braunston lock flight. No such luck, we would have to proceed alone. However all was not lost, as we began ascending, we were fortunate to meet boats descending at all six locks. On arrival at the top lock, we were even assisted by the grass cutting team. Next was Braunston Tunnel, all 2042 yards of it. As we entered, we could see the telltale light of a tunnel lamp ahead, indicating at least one opposing boat. Fortunately we passed in the middle of the tunnel, and not near the southern end, where there is an 's' shaped kink, caused by a directional mistake made during construction. We cruised for a further two miles, before reaching Norton Junction where the Leicester Arm branches off to the left, and away from the Grand Union main line. We made the left turn towards our usual mooring spot, and found it jammed solid with boats. Lady Luck smiled on us again, as we spotted a boat just preparing to depart. We had timed it to perfection. We secured the boat and had lunch on board, then took four legs for a walk. Heading off down the Buckby flight, we popped into the canalware shop by Lock 8, to see what new items had been stocked since our last visit. Rather like a chandlers, this shop could easily tempt you into emptying your wallet. In fact, currently for sale is a water can which possibly dates to the late 1800s, and the art work on it is amazing. I would love to own it just for its history, now, how to justify the expense.
  • Totals 6 Miles 6 Locks 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 231 Miles 51 Locks 11 Tunnels 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Braunston

Last nights forecast of high wind and heavy rain, proved to be a bit of a damp squib. Apparently it happened, but I slept right through it. After breakfast we got underway and were soon passing Barby Moorings, a Marina which seems to be still unfinished, many years after it was started. Once we had navigated the Barby Straight, we identified a couple of alternative mooring spots for future reference, that would meet our criteria. Next to pass was the brand new Marina at Dunchurch Pools. This Marina looks vast, and now has a good few boats in it, despite being unfinished. I suspect very favourable introductory rates have been offered, to encourage boat owners to move in. The entrance which was closed when we passed by earlier in the year, is now open, and the bridge almost complete.
   
Dunchurch Pools Marina
It was not much further to our intended mooring spot, a favourite of ours located just outside the village of Braunston. The first clue you are getting close, is when the unique spire of Braunston church comes into view.
   
Braunston Church Spire
Passing under bridge 87, we rounded a final bend towards our mooring and it was empty. This allowed us to choose our spot, lining up the side hatch with a convenient hole in the hedgerow, granting us views over open countryside. The field opposite contained a herd of brown cows, that appeared interested in our arrival. 
  
Mooring Spot
  
The gathering herd
After securing the boat we walked into Braunston, a distance of about one mile and had lunch in the Boathouse P.H. The crew then popped up to the convenience store in the village, whilst I paid a visit to Midland Chandlers. My wallet stayed firmly in my pocket, this must be a first in a chandlery. Early evening, the view from the side hatch through the hole in the hedge paid dividends. We were treated to a stunning sunset.
Sunset at Braunston
Tomorrow we have a flight of wide locks to navigate and a fairly long tunnel. We could quite easily stay put but we have an appointment with a roast dinner on Sunday at the New Inn, Long Buckby.
  • Totals 4 Miles
  • Running total 225 Miles 45 Locks 10 Tunnels 

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Barby

During yesterday evening the mooring at All Oak Wood slowly filled, all the way back to the Easenhall Lane bridge. This morning before getting out of bed we were aware of a constant stream of boats passing by, although with the porthole bungs still in we were unsure which way the traffic was heading. At nine o'clock the furry crew had his breakfast and stepping off the boat to allow him to stretch his legs we saw that barring a few long stayers we were alone. The boat traffic had all been heading towards Hillmorton, and we would shortly be following. The weather was fairly chilly but fortunately the wind speed had dropped substantially. We got underway around 9.30 and almost immediately began to encounter oncoming boat traffic. At Hillmorton there is a flight of three locks and we had decided to ascend the flight then stop for lunch. The plan was after lunch to head for a nice mooring just outside Braunston. First we had Newbold Tunnel and Rugby to navigate. On exiting the tunnel the canal is narrowed by overgrown bushes on the offside and with mooring and a water point on the towpath side, the bend is blind and ripe for chaos if boats meet head on. This time we were lucky. At Brownsover it appears that lots of new mooring rings have been installed, but again this short stretch of canal is overgrown and bendy, so not an ideal location for a line of moored boats, although handy for the shops and retail park. Safely through we arrived at Hillmorton to find two boats waiting in the queue for the locks. However, we were told by several people that our arrival was perfect timing as earlier the area had been chaotic with waiting times of two and a half hours. I felt smug taking that extra half hour in bed now. The only slight issue was the two boats ahead of us were hire boats, the crews of which did not seem to want to work other boats up and down the flight. This slowed our progress a little.
Hillmorton bottom lock
Hillmorton locks are set in pairs so working through them should be quick. Sadly the middle lock on one side has been out of action due to a broken balance beam, I believe for some time now. It seems as though for some reason the navigation authority are taking their time in repairing it.
The problem middle lock
If anyone is wondering where all the boats are, we have found them. Rugby, Brownsover was full up and so was the entire stretch above Hillmorton Locks. We have not seen so many boats here previously. This put paid to our planned lunch stop and we now had the prospect of getting to Braunston without a break. As we left Hillmorton behind and just prior to joining the Barby Straight we saw a single boat length of pilling. This is nice a rural spot by bridge 75, and opposite a Christmas Tree Farm. This will be our stop for the night and has been recorded in our guide book. The mooring is nice and deep, we have a sky satellite signal and 4G.
   
Mooring at Barby by the Xmas Trees
We plan to travel to Braunston tomorrow and maybe visit the chandlers. We won't be making any purchases though as Midland Chandlers are holding a Freaky Friday event next week when we will get 20% off.
  • Totals 9 Miles 3 Locks 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 221 Miles 45 Locks 10 Tunnels 

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

All Oak Wood

Following our night at Hawkesbury, this morning we woke to a less windy, but slightly chillier day. After breakfast and disposing of some rubbish, we set about our departure. There had been a steady stream of boat movement, and just as we untied the boat another one appeared through the stop lock. We waited for it to pass. Once underway, we were soon travelling parallel to the noisy M6, and ahead of us the equally noisy M69. It seems so long ago since we left the peaceful tranquility of the Ashby Canal. It was about an hour before the drone of the motorways could no longer be heard, but just as we escaped their noise, so we began merging with West Coast Main Line, and its diesel trains thundering past. Rose Narrowboats was the next hurdle, here the canal is narrowed by the long lines of moored boats, and some triple parking of the hire fleet. There is a small footbridge to move, so the crew jumped off the boat, to facilitate our passage through a narrow channel. It was at this point we passed a boat on the water point that had been ahead of us leaving Hawkesbury. This was to prove to be very fortuitous for us a short while later. We travelled the final mile to our intended mooring spot just prior to All Oak Wood, and on arrival found it to be very busy. There was however one solitary gap in the line of moored boats, and as we slowed down it was just big enough to shoehorn ourselves into. We had the last spot. 
  • Totals 8 Miles
  • Running total 212 Miles 42 Locks 9 Tunnels 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Hawkesbury Junction

Today was a blustery day. We set off from our mooring spot at Dadlington just after breakfast, and settled into our journey. Ahead of us lay three canals, the remainder of the Ashby, a short stretch of the Coventry and an even shorter bit of the Oxford. The trip down the Ashby was uneventful, but we did meet several oncoming boats. At Marston Junction we turned sharp left onto the Coventry Canal, and gained some wind assistance on the bow during the turn. Once on the Coventry, it was immediately evident that the water was deeper as we travelled the two and a half miles to Hawkesbury Junction. Once again we had a sharp left turn onto the Oxford Canal, and once again the direction of the wind assisted the turn. We passed through the stop lock rising a grand total of about nine inches, and took up a mooring adjacent to a grass field. Later we walked back to the Greyhound P.H. for supper leaving four legs to look after the boat.
Our fearsome guard dog
  • Totals 12 Miles
  • Running total 204 Miles 42 Locks 9 Tunnels 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Dadlington

Tuesday 26/9, we stayed put at Snarestone waiting for family to arrive on their hire boat. The weather was warm, so we decided to take four legs for a walk. We headed off towards Shackerstone, and on route decided that we may as well aim for the Rising Sun for lunch, a distance of three miles. On arrival we found the pub shut, so we ended up walking a total of six miles without refreshments, unlike four legs, who had regular drinks from the canal. Later in the afternoon the family arrived, and moored just ahead of us. In reward for our exercise earlier in the day, dinner was take at the Globe P.H. where I enjoyed an excellent steak and ale pie. We will be returning in the future. Thursday 28/9, marked a turning point for us. Each day we move now, we will be heading closer to our winter mooring at Yelvertoft. First stop was Bosworth Marina for services, during which time we we took lunch in the cafe there. After lunch, we continued heading south, and on reaching the village of Dadlington we found a nice spot to moor.
The mooring is a quite rural spot although a little shallow, and is nicely placed for our trip on Sunday, to the Dog and Hedgehog P.H. for our roast dinner. Saturday 30/9, we took a walk to the farm shop located by bridge 23 to top up with supplies, including meats, cheeses and bread. We also could not resist some of their savoury and fruit pies. Today we visited the Dog and Hedgehog and were not disappointed with the cuisine. Three courses later and it was back to the boat to relax. The weather is currently a bit wet and windy but hopefully this will settle down overnight.
  • Totals 12 Miles
  • Running total 192 Miles 41 Locks 9 Tunnels
 

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 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Stoke Golding

Yesterday we had a more leisurely start, moving forward to the water point at the BW yard Hartshill at 9.30 am, and finishing breakfast whilst waiting for the tank to fill. By 10 we were underway, with just Nuneaton to pass through before reaching the rural splendour of the Ashby Canal. At Marston Junction with a blast on the klaxon, we turned left and navigated our way through a small narrow trough. Almost as soon as you leave the Coventry Canal behind it feels different. Our target for the day was three miles away, adjacent to the village of Burton Hastings. On arrival we found several boats already moored in the location, however we were able to find a spot, on the end of the line of boats.
Today started gloomy but soon brightened up. Our first stop was to be the water point at Lime Kilns two miles away. A boat was just finishing as we arrived. Next was our passage through Hinckley, which gave us the opportunity to check out Trinity Marina as we passed. We encountered a few boats on route, but it is not as busy as you would expect at this time of year. Back into open countryside with sun shining, and chugging along at a slow walking pace, what could be better.
Rural Leicestershire in the sunshine
Just under three miles and an hour later, we arrived on the outskirts of Stoke Golding. When we were here in March it was a popular spot, so we were pleasantly surprised to find only one other boat moored. After securing the boat we had lunch onboard, then later we walked back to bridge 23, to visit the canal side farm shop for supplies.
Mooring at Stoke Golding    
Side hatch view to 13th C church    
Side hatch view to bridge 26
  • Totals Friday 11/8.     8 Miles
  •           Saturday 12/8. 6 Miles
  • Running total 137 Miles 41 Locks 5 Tunnels 

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Hartshill

Following the past two days of wet weather, today broke with blue sky and bright sunshine. Unusually for us we were awake at 7.30 am, and with a flight of eleven locks ahead decided to to get up. We were underway by 8 am, closely followed by another Hudson boat, nb Rhea. The water point at the base of the locks was busy so we carried on, and it was a decision that paid off. Not stopping put us at the front of the queue going up, and we benefited by meeting several boats descending, thereby having the locks turned in our favour. Our ascent of the Atherstone flight was pleasant in the warm weather, and at the top we were able to dispose of some accumulated rubbish. We are also pleased with how the new, larger sized Axiom propeller is performing. Beyond Atherstone, we had about a mile and a half cruise to our intended mooring spot at Hartshill. We met several oncoming boats, always at a bend or a bridge 'ole. The moorings at Hartshill were unusually empty, so we had our choice of spot, opting to stop just prior to the old British Waterways Yard. It was by now lunch time, and another reason for stopping here was its close proximity to Dobbies Garden World. During our repaint at Glascote our broom went adrift, so a replacement was needed, they also have a cafeteria. After lunch a snooze was the order of the day due to our early start.
BW yard Hartshill from side hatch
BW yard Hartshill viewing forward
Tomorrow with luck we will be back on the Ashby Canal for the second time this year.
  • Totals 5 Miles 11 Locks
  • Running total 123 Miles 41 Locks 5 Tunnels 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Back on board, Polesworth

Several months have passed since our last post. Having spent three months in Somerset whilst our boat was shot blasted, and having a full repaint at Glascote Basin, we returned to Tamworth in mid July, to a nearly finished project. Although not quite complete, we were able to move back on board briefly, for the Hudson owners gathering over the weekend of 22/23 July. This year more boats and owners turned up than previously so, despite some torrential rain a great time was had. During our period away, we had ordered a new set of fenders, to adorn our newly painted boat. These were made and fitted by the Glascote fender maker, whose website is fendermaker.co.uk. Rather than having a standard button fender on the stern, we opted for a more decorative Barlow Button, however this caused a bit of fender envy, (you know who you are) so we are now not the only ones, sporting some fine rope work. After the weekend event, we handed the boat back to the boatyard for the works to be completed. On Friday the 4th August we returned to Glascote, and started loading the boat with our worldly goods. The weekend was spent dealing with some final snagging, then on Monday, after having a pump out and filling with diesel, we were ready for the off. With some expert use of the bow thruster, we reversed from the Basin onto the Coventry Canal, and headed gingerly in the direction of Polesworth. The reason for the extra care is, whilst the paint is dry, it will be a few months before it has fully hardened, so keeping away from overhanging vegetation is the priority. The trip to Polesworth was pleasant enough, although rain did threaten, it failed to materialise. The canal was fairly busy though to be expected, as we are now at the height of the holiday season. We found a spot at a usual mooring site for us, about a mile from the foot of the Atherstone lock flight. The next couple days are forecast to be wet, so we will probably stay put until Thursday. Now for some pictures,  
Newly painted bow and button fender    
Side view    
Sign writing by Dave Moore    
Hand painted pigeon box    
Rear fenders with Barlow Button
  As can be seen from the photos above we are pleased with the end result, and especially the work done by Dave Moore on the sign writing, and painted pigeon box. What all but the most eagle eyed observers will miss, is the small detail in his work. In the photo showing our rear panel, if you zoom in on our boat number, you will see that the 2's are in fact little swans. 
  • Totals 5 Miles
  • Running total 118 Miles 30 Locks 5 Tunnels 

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Glascote Basin and Exmoor

So, it has been a while since our last post, and we have moved on a bit from Dadlington. After departing the Ashby Canal, we turned right at Marston Junction, and over the next four days, we travelled to Achernar's home port at Glascote Basin. We broke the journey with stops at Hartshill, where we visited the largest garden centre I have ever been to, and half way between Atherstone and Polesworth, having descended the eleven lock flight. Glascote Basin was very busy on our arrival, but we managed to shoehorn ourselves onto a berth. Over the next couple of days, we packed up our things, as we prepared the boat for its impending paint job. The boat colours will be remaining the same with only a few subtle changes, and we will be having a couple of smaller jobs completed whilst there. All in all, we will be living off the boat for twelve weeks. We have therefore rented a cottage on the edge of Exmoor for the duration, which allows for the exploration of an area of the country, distinctly lacking in canals.
Whimbleball Lake    
The Dam
A Long Way Down
Walking on Exmoor
On top of the moor
The above are just a few snaps of our local area, and the walks that we will enjoy. We have also introduced the furry crew member to the seaside, and he loves the beach. So this is us until mid July, when hopefully all the works will be completed, and we can once again move back on board. Otherwise, we will be sleeping in the beer tent, during the Hudson Owners gathering in July. I will run through all the jobs we had done, and how the end results are, once complete, but just one mention of some excellent customer service. In a previous post we wrote about changing our propeller to an Axiom. When we ordered the new prop, I gave the size needed to Axiom, using the paperwork supplied with the boat. Unfortunately the paperwork was wrong, and instead of getting a prop sized the same, we ended up with the next size down. During a phone call with Axiom, they suggested I try the new one, but if unhappy they would swop it. Well I can report that with the Axiom fitted, many of the benefits claimed are evident. We now stop quicker, but more importantly maintain a straight line. Reversing is easier, and the stern of the boat does not dig in as much when underway. I have also noticed a significant reduction in tiller vibration and wash. The only downside is, that with the smaller prop, the engine revs are higher now to achieve the same cruising speed. True to their word though, despite it being my error in the initial ordering, and the fact that their prop has had a couple of months of use, Axiom have supplied a new one, now correctly sized. This will be fitted during the course of all the other work. So, anyone thinking of an Axiom for their boat, I can certainly recommend them and their customer service is excellent.
  • Totals 24 Miles 11 Locks
  • Running total 113 Miles 30 Locks 5 Tunnels