Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Autumn is upon us

But sadly after the trees have dropped their leaves some Ash trees may not grow them again.  Look on the bright side, the Ash trees that grew along our towpaths may go without having to be CARTed away!
Plowing the fields after the harvest

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reeds to swans

With all those leaves falling we have seen operatives clearing weirs and sluices. Now that they have replaced the reeds with a swan on their logo perhaps they could remove the reeds from the canals! But don't stop there; it is more than just the reeds that are choking the waterways. 

We have just pushed our way through Woodseaves Cutting that was always going to be a problem since it was created. Rock falls early last year nearly closed it and we bumped over some of them! Now the trees are sliding down the steep sides. It is so bad that the muddy towpath has been closed.
CART are working there filling a hole.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The autumn tints

How good it was to spend the weekend with friends but now we continue north to get past the stoppages. They are not due yet but Ann is to go home to look after the grand children and when she gets back, work on the Shropshire Union will have started.

That is the other reason for our haste. We are keeping up to our schedule but having to pass many of our favourite moorings. We did manage to stop at Norbury Wharf and got an 'all day' breakfast.
We used to live near the New Forest and often drove through at this time to see the changing colours. Now we travel on the Shropshire Union and love to see the autumn tints while passing through the cuttings. Each season has its beauty to appreciate as the year unfolds.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Shropshire Union

On the way yet another friend of ours past enabled a quick hello and goodbye to Malcolm n Barbara on Pilgrim. Then it was a right turn on to the Shropshire Union. The first lock being hidden by the junction bridge forced caution in case another boat was there. "All clear so in we went."
The hire company were loading customers and getting ready to move so we left the gate open as we left.
Part of our reason for haste becomes apparent now because a few bridges ahead lies No Problem with the kettle on for tea!  "Must not be late for that!"  Later we all enjoyed a lovely meal together on board with Sue n Sir (Vic).  It has been a very long time since we last did that.  Even all 3 dogs (the girls) got on well together!

Staffordshire and Worcestershire

"Surely one of the longest names for a canal." We got diesel, gas and water at the junction and 'lost' the unwanted. On another sunny day we pushed on to Penkridge. Boys and girls were returning home from school crossing over the lock gate with their bags n bikes.

Is this another health n safety nightmare? Talking of which you will now have to supply your own hose to flush out the Elsan container. Back at Great Haywood boat yard we were told that they are not permitted to supply diesel at the water point. The hose is a trip hazard but only in the summer! What about our water hose then?
 Inside Otherton Lock

We enjoyed yet another sunny day after a night of rain progressing to Autherley Junction. "What a treat to find that two miles either side of Gailey the canal was deep n clear.

On to the Trent n Mersey

Sorry readers but this is a posting I missed.

Vegetation on the T n M is just as bad as it is on the Coventry. So it seems to be all over the system. Much of the water narrowed by increasing growth of reed beds as well as the trees n bushes often on both sides.

Another friend past by the name of Pete n Pat on Molly May II. We have known them since the start of our life style choice. We wonder what is going on, why is it that we are seeing so many friends on this trip north? They do not all have access to the Internet and we don't normally ring to see where they are.

We ended the day short of our planned destination by stopping at Rugeley. The shops are improving since last seen. 'Peacocks' have moved into the space left by Woolworths. "Certainly an upmarket move." Our next stop was at Great Haywood. A few days rest waiting for dental appointments.

Monday, October 15, 2012

River Trent

We have got as far as Great Haywood and stopped for a rest. There are dental appointments next week to look forward to!
As you can see the Trent river is well up.  This group of rescuers are all suited up for a swim.  They were going in up stream of the bridge and going with the flow under the bridge before being rescued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Doing the distance

We did not move on Sunday and enjoyed a roast lunch before joining the Coventry canal. Then we were slightly ahead of schedule having got past the Nuneaton rubbish and down the Atherstone flight on Monday.
The lock keepers house is up for sale here and perhaps CRT should ask any buyer to become a volunteer! At least the locks are easier to operate than those on the Oxford. After a quick dash to the Co-op by Watling Street, John helped us down to Bradley Green. He and Rosemarie from Devon Maid first met us before we got on the Thames earlier in the year.

While mentioning friends it has surprised us how many we have met on our journey north. Even before we set off Jill and Graham from Armadillo said hello to me at Banbury. While at Cropredy we met Dave and Georgina. When we got to Braunston Dave n Lyn paid a visit. Then at Rugby our friends John n Militza on Mud Skipper were seen. At Ansty there was Reg n Elaine on Relaine.

Just past the locks at Glascote there was Knot Normal with Mark and Margaret on board. Mark is a boat fitter who helped us with modifications on Moore To Life, our second boat.

Vegetation over growth is just as bad on the Coventry as it is on the Oxford canal. Our journey through Hopwas was a one-way street what with shallow edges, overhanging trees, bushes at bends, and blind bridges. Going slow was the only option to avoid possible head on collisions. The occasional moored boat forced us to travel on the wrong side with no room to pass.

The two bridges

You know, those two north of Braunston on the Oxford. Been left damaged for years but now at last work to mend them both has started. Not just Canal & River Trust but also Waterway Recovery Group are working on them. The foundations have been dug out and filled with concrete. Vegetation has been cut back so you can see round what were blind bends as you approach.
 The bridge back in 2009
 Rebuild in progress in 2012
A clear view

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Over the top

The new marina at Cropredy is being dug out with huge machines. There is a lot to do to get it open by early next year.

Rock n Roll met us here for tea and a chat. Then they followed us up the Claydon flight of locks. With several boats coming down most locks were ready for us, so we got up quickly. Ann would lift a bottom paddle to prepare the lock for Rock n Roll but George was often there already. At the top we moved on a bit but realized they had stopped for the day. So we said our good byes on the phone. They were a day early for leaving their boat at Fenny Compton while we needed diesel there. 
 We passed Nuneaton towing Brighton with a broken rudder!

Then we went on to that mast and stopped for the night lit the fire and set up the TV. Found the signal easily pointing northwest for Birmingham. Thankfully it then rained over night and we were off again next day in sunshine. Heading down the Napton flight with boats coming up. Many boaters were coming up, some more helpful than others. Presumably heading to Banbury for the weekend gathering.

We are pushing ourselves on, doing about 5 hours a day. Trying to meet up with Sue n Vic and to get past some of the stoppages up north. We have reached Braunston. That for us is the start and end place for our travels, but it is full of boats and we were lucky to find a mooring for the night.