Saturday, October 31, 2009

Get a move on

Got to use those daylight hours to get to where were going. Sue told us about an unexpected stoppage at Colwich Lock which we must get through before the 9th of November. No rush really. We are getting away early after breakfast and stopping for a rest and sandwiches midday. We have done all those locks at Atherstone and shopped at the Co-op, passed by Polesworth, down the two locks at Tamworth and even passed those lovely gardens in Whittington.
The Coventry still proves to be one of our favourite canals but there are so many other places, towns, villages and moorings which are spread all over the waterway system that we like so much. I am imagining a utopia waterway with all our favourite places and all the nasty boring bits removed. It is something to ponder about during a few otherwise idle moments? No more than 5 locks in a few miles then a long stretch and no wide ones. At least one tunnel which you can see through. Tow paths for walkers, not cyclists and wide enough in places to sit out under the shade of a tree in summer...... I do not know whether to take what we have and remove the bad bits or to make a list of the good bits and paste them together on an interesting track.
By the time we had got to Kings Bromley we had met both Roger n Pip on Windsong and Derek n Dot on Gypsy Rover.
We’ve been moving most days since turning at the end of the Ashby and now stopped for a weekend.
Now what is this? Well, well.......
This 'orable goolie was seen near Atherstone top lock. Ooooooooo!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daylight / Nightlight

Before we left the Ashby canal we made contact with friends on ‘At Last’ moored near Burton Hastings. We first met them when they stopped to say hello many years ago while on the Coventry canal between Nuneaton and Atherstone. It was good to see them again and have a good old chat on board. We do try to keep in touch with friends on the cut when we are nearby.
Changing those clocks and having to wake up an hour later takes a bit of getting used to. At the end of the day we now have the lights on for an extra hour. What was it called? Daylight Saving? Daylight is free but the nation is now paying for that extra hour of night light. Might have been better to have fallen forward rather than back! Altering our time does not change the fact that as winter approaches the daylight time is getting shorter anyway.
We moved on to the Coventry canal and pushed through Nuneaton early. Stopped at bridge 23 to dump some rubbish and go to the shops. There is a recycling centre nearby. “Old clothes over there, just chuck that lot over there lov”. Oh why did we bother to keep it all separate? Then we went the other way to find the butcher. Good quality at Frank Parker’s no less. Moving on we got diesel at Springwood Haven, this time being able to make our own declaration before continuing to Hartshill.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

More on the Ashby

We moved on a few miles to Market Bosworth visitor moorings and found them empty!
On the way we passed a dredger with one operator getting mud from the canal and depositing it on the tow path. Another operator was using a large rake to spread the wet mud level. “It looked like hard work.”
After a sandwich we walked up the hill to the town in sunshine with the copper leaves blowing about in the gardens.
More boats had arrived when we returned to the moorings. At least most of them are moving most days and we see them returning later. It is certainly slow going on this canal as we have averaged only about 2 miles an hour! Any faster and the boat drags on the bottom or makes a wash despite that dredging! The canal gets better after Shackerstone where there are a couple of miles of woodland to travel through. “Just have to clear the leaves from prop every now and then.”
Having heard that the canal trust had got their spades out of the shed we were disappointed to see what had been achieved. A side pond has been created for wild life between bridge 61 and the turn, but there was no progress north for boats. It is no longer possible to walk along the canal beyond the end of navigation. Having spent a packet on that side pond the trust are now waiting for yet more money to come their way. We found the Wendover Arm more inviting at its end.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Ashby Canal

Our next stop was at Stoke Golding. The visitor moorings were full as we passed so carried round the bend and stopped next to a muddy bank. The canal has been recently dredged but not edge to edge. Only our front end got near while our deeper back end was stuck in mud! It was a bad end to a damp grey horrible day. To their credit the Ashby Canal Association has been getting a fair bit of dredging done. Unfortunately the mud has just been left to dry out as hard lumps of dirt on the tow path.
We kept an eye on the boats at the mooring and when one moved off we reversed into the space and washed the mud off. We were then able to place an order to Tesco who delivered next day.
When it was all packed away we walked up to the village shop during a bright sunny day which was so different to the previous one.

After the two day limited stay we moved off heading for the facilities at Sutton Wharf where we took on water after using the washing machine. There are many moorings on the way but most still have that muddy dredging lying on top of what was a grassy edge. Perhaps one day it will get spread out to make a dry path. We eventually stopped for the weekend at the ‘Battle field’ moorings which was thankfully clear of mud.
It was here that the War of the Roses finally ended when Richard the third was defeated. Henry Tudor took the crown of England and became Henry the seventh. It is quite something to still be able to walk round the fields where the battle of Bosworth took place back in 1485, over 500 years ago!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Parted company

We went home on a bus, taxi, train and car for a long weekend while our friends looked after Molly and the boat. On our return Sue n Vic gave us a refreshing cup of tea before setting off on their long journey north. We cannot thank them enough for their kindness and help over the years that we have known them. Then we stopped at Hawkesbury Junction to top up with water and use the facilities. We simply lost count of the number of boats moving up and down through that shallow lock on October.
Turning on to the Coventry canal we found ourselves following a slow boat to China and decided to stay on the Coventry if it turns on to the Ashby. We headed for Nuneaton but turned at the next winding point and stopped for the night. Next day we got on to the Ashby at a normal speed. Many of the visitor moorings were full so we stopped on a rough edge near Hinckley.

Do we expect too much?

It was not that long ago when many canals were un navigable. Way back when canals were created only horses were available to pull the boats through the water. When diesel engines were put in the boats they were pushed from the back and moved much faster and made waves. There are now more boats moving about the canals than ever before when they were operated commercially. At least the commercial operators showed respect and consideration.
It is perhaps not surprising that the system is suffering from the strain. Pumps now push the water back up the locks so there is enough to let the boats go down. We are lucky at times not to run aground more often. Even when we started 15 years ago there were problems with the water supply. The use of some locks near summits were booked for use and limited to a few days a week. Many others were locked at night to save water.
With limited money and maintenance effort we all may have to realise that limited use will return, if not by design then by failures of the system.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Moving with friends again

Ann had gone off on the bus to Cogenhoe to find them moored on the Nene. A few days later we were together, No Problem and Moore 2 Life. “I knew they were near when I heard dogs barking. Lucy, Meg n Molly rushed up and each gave me a lick!” It did not take long to move on past Nether Heyford and Weedon. The wide canal is weaving its way past the hills of Northamptonshire with a variety of open farmland and woods. Both boats called at Fred Tarry’s for gas, coal and diesel before stopping past the noisy motorway. Next day we continued up the Buckby flight, across the summit, through the bent tunnel and all the way down to Braunston.
We were pleased to see that at least some work has been done at the tunnel to prevent further land slippage.
Sue and Vic went on next day while we took the bus into Daventry. Why do they all come at the same time? This time there were no less than three of them, two for Rugby and one for Banbury. At least the bus companies are running a viable service. We had done a pre winter clearout and donated the majority to charity in town. It was an enjoyable outing in sunshine and we had a snack at the local cafe.
When we returned we paid a visit to friends in Braunston Marina. There were many other boats gathered on the canal which we passed on the way out next day. It was a very windy Saturday as we progressed north to the locks at Hillmorton where we caught up with our friends again.