Monday, 30 April 2018


Having spent a couple of days at Hawkesbury Junction, we capped it off on Sunday 22/4. with a roast dinner at the Greyhound PH. The following day, Monday 23/4. we set off for the Ashby Canal. We manoeuvred the boat from the mooring and through the stop lock, then turned right onto the Coventry Canal. Stopping to refill the water tank took about 40 minutes, then we continued heading north towards Nuneaton. After a couple of miles, we reached Marston Junction and turned right onto the Ashby Canal. We soon relaxed into gentle cruising mode as we passed through rural tranquility. This was soon to be brought to an abrupt halt with a big bump. As we passed under bridge 4 we saw a hire boat approaching a sharp bend at speed. Not wanting to encounter this boat on the bend we slowed to a stop, holding a position just off the centre line towards the offside of the canal. As the hire boat rounded the bend, the steerer over steered the boat due to the speed, and we were now confronted with an impending ramming. I was able to put our boat into a hard reverse, which managed to take some of the sting from the impact. To make matters worse, despite having just rammed us under full power, the steerer of the hire boat made no attempt to slow down, but continued on bumping along the side of our boat. To describe the next 30 seconds of our encounter, would require an 18 certificate to be applied to this post, so I will leave it at that, but needless to say, we were not happy, mainly by his attitude, rather than the initial contact. We found our usual spot at Burton Hastings vacant, and secured the boat. We would stay here on Tuesday also due to inclement weather. Wednesday 25/4. After breakfast we set off for Stoke Golding, a little over six miles away. We passed through Hinckley, paying attention to Trinity Marina as we did so. We are booked in here for a couple of days next month so we can attend a family event. The remainder of our cruise was uneventful, and we arrived at Stoke Golding about two hours after we had set off. After securing the boat, the crew wandered off back towards bridge 23, where there is small farm shop for fresh meat and vegetables. They also do a nice line in pies. In the evening, we strolled up into the village to the Mango Tree Indian Restaurant for our evening meal. Fortunately after eating too much, the walk back to the boat is downhill all the way. Thursday 26/4. We departed Stoke Golding aiming initially for Market Bosworth. We needed the services at the Marina, and our arrival would around lunchtime. The Marina has a nice little cafe which would be perfect. You can imagine our disappointment when we found it closed, due to suffering a fire in January. 
Approaching Market Bosworth
The wind had been quite blustery all morning, but as we turned into the Marina it picked up even more, and I am sure we encountered small waves once through the narrow entrance. Once on the service pontoon, we emptied the waste tank and filled with water, then unable to use the cafe we set off again, heading for Congerstone. This final half of the Ashby Canal is the most picturesque, and the bit we enjoy the most. We found a spot just prior to bridge 50. It is a quiet rural spot, midway between the Horse and Jockey PH in Congerstone, and the Rising Sun PH in Shackerstone, so perfectly positioned. We planned to stay put for a few days, due to some heavy rain being forecast, and also to sample the roast dinner in the Rising Sun PH on Sunday. Today, Monday 30/4. We took the furry crew for a long walk, to make up for the short excursions he has had to put up with, over the last couple of days. This evening, the skies have cleared and the sun is making an appearance, so hopefully tomorrow will be a pleasant day for our trip to Snarestone, the terminus of the canal.
Congerstone, bridge 50
  • Totals Monday 23/4.      5 Miles 1 Lock
  • Totals Wednesday 25/4. 6 Miles
  • Totals Thursday 26/4.    8 Miles
  • Running total                75 Miles 19 Locks 3 Tunnels 

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Hawkesbury Junction

Well, we made a good choice weather wise departing the Marina this week, on our seven month cruise. Monday 16/4. we visited the service pontoon for a pump out, and to fill the diesel tank to the brim. We said our goodbyes in the office, and to a furry friend who visits the bird feeder at the end of our pontoon.
A healthy looking rat
We turned left from the Marina and headed towards Crick. Our transit of Crick tunnel was unopposed, but we got a thorough soaking from the leaky roof all the way. Once beyond Crick tunnel, the countryside comprises of open fields, which are slowly filling with new lambs. On arrival at the top of the Watford flight of locks, we were pleasantly surprised to find no queues, and were able to commence our descent immediately. The first mate, (the furry one) stayed on board with me, whilst the second mate performed their lock duties. Once at the bottom of the flight, we cruised the final couple of miles to Norton Junction, and found a mooring in our usual spot. The next day, Tuesday 17/4. a gale was blowing. We decided not to move as it would have been decidedly unpleasant, and we did not fancy buffeting around in the six wide locks we would have to navigate. Four legs was taken for a walk, beyond the New Inn and on down the Buckby flight. This took us past the canalware shop, which has often relieved me of so many of my hard earned pounds. It did it again today. Wednesday 18/4. we set off after breakfast turning right at Norton Junction, and joining the main Grand Union canal. Today was the beginning of the reported heatwave. After cruising a couple of miles, we reached the entrance to Braunston tunnel just as a boat was emerging. We were informed there was nothing following which is always nice to hear, especially until after we have navigated the kink in the tunnel. Our transit remained unopposed, and significantly dryer than Crick. No sooner do you exit the western portal you arrive at the top of Braunston locks. Unfortunately there was nobody waiting to share the locks with. Descending always seems easier than ascending, especially when the locks are in your favour, as was the case for us. Beyond the bottom lock we had a short stretch to navigate before arriving in Braunston, and we found the landing outside the Boathouse Pub empty. It was clearly fate, so we pulled in and stopped for lunch. Following refreshments we resumed our cruise, and at Braunston Turn, we took the right hand fork joining the Oxford Canal heading north. We passed our usual spot about a mile out of Braunston, and found someone occupying it. Luckily we didn't want it. We passed the newish Marina at Onley which is rapidly filling with boats, and then navigated the Barby straight passing beneath the M45. We found the spot we were aiming for vacant, and secured the boat. It was by now very hot.
Cruising beyond Braunston
  Thursday 19/4. was going to be another warm day. Setting off for Hillmorton locks about a mile ahead, we chuckled to ourselves about how it had taken four days to get here by boat, but only takes 10 minutes in the car from Yelvertoft Marina. Hillmorton locks was busy, but as the locks are in pairs, we were not held up. At the bottom of the flight we stopped for water. The tap here is well known as slow filling, but this suited our purposes today. About 40 minutes later, we were once again underway. Passing through Rugby, and navigating Newbold tunnel, we carried on towards our planned stopping point at All Oak Wood. Friday 20/4. started misty but soon the sun was up. Today we had a short hop to Hawkesbury Junction, with no locks, and only the small swing bridge by Rose Narrowboats to navigate. On arrival we found the mooring relatively empty, and so picked our spot. Once the boat was secured we took lunch at the Greyhound Pub, overlooking the junction.
Mooring at Hawkesbury Junction
Today Saturday 21/4. we took four legs for a walk along the Coventry Canal heading towards Nuneaton. This is the way we will be heading on Monday, as we aim for the Ashby Canal.
  • Totals Monday 16/4.      7 Miles 7 Locks 1 Tunnel
  • Totals Wednesday 18/4. 9 Miles 6 Locks 1 Tunnel 
  • Totals Thursday 19/4.    8 Miles 3 Locks 1 Tunnel 
  • Totals Friday 20/4.        8 Miles
  • Running totals              56 Miles 18 Locks 3 Tunnels 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Yelvertoft Marina

Following our overnight stop at Hemplow Hills, on Monday 26/3, we returned to the Marina, parking the boat for a few days over the Easter break, whilst we visited family. Back at the Marina following the holiday weekend, we are in the process of having a box made to store our anchor, and this is expected to be completed around the 15th April. Our intention is to stay put till then, before finally departing on our 7 month summer cruise. This morning however, we woke to clear blue sky and warm sunshine. It was far too nice not to be cruising. Sadly, the carpenter had phoned making arrangements to attend the boat for a final fitting of our anchor box. It was just after midday when things were concluded, we got underway turning right from the Marina. Once we cleared the outskirts of Yelvertoft village, we stopped for lunch. This was in the vicinity of bridge 22. Having secured the boat, Oscar the furry crew member, decided that a photo was required. He took up his position posing in the well deck, but was most put out, when he was photo bombed by a very noisy Chinook flying overhead.
Photo bombed by a Chinook
After a brief lunch we set off for the winding hole at bridge 28. On arrival we encountered a fisherman, who soon realised his swim was about to be ruined for the day. He took it in good grace though. Once winded, it was back to the Marina arriving a little under four hours after we had initially left. 
  • Totals Monday 26/3. 5 Miles
  •          Thursday 5/4. 6 Miles
  • Running total 24 Miles 2 Locks