Friday, 23 September 2011


Time to move on, the cupboards need restocking so we were Tamworth bound,
leaving our mooring on a glorious  morning.
 The 1st day of Autumn & the leaves are definitely on the turn
 Looking back at the M42, we have driven over it many times,
 it's nice to be cruising under it this time.
 The Glascote locks were busy, no water wasted as it was one up one down.
 The aqueduct over the River Tame
 & a pillbox left over from the 2nd world war, just in case the enemy tried to invade by canal.
Onto the Birmingham & Fazeley canal at Fazeley Junction, it's left under Watling Street Bridge for Birmingham but we're heading north west.

We stopped just before Sutton Road Bridge as planned & once moored  walked up to the Ventura Retail Park & did a biggish shop at Asda. Tomorrow we shall nip back up to the shops for a paper & try to get Mark some new footwear, he hates shopping so I expect a long face. Then onwards to see if we can find a nice quiet spot for the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Traffic jam on the Atherstone flight

We had our stroll up to Aldi yesterday & I'm glad we did as I got myself a pair of these thermal trousers, they will come in useful when winter cruising. :-)

 This morning the sun shone as we moved on to the water point at 8.30am, there was not a lot of point in being any earlier as the top lock is chained up until 8.30am & locked again at 4pm, as a water saving measure. As we filled the water tank 2 boats, nbs Compton & Uncle Mort went down & we followed at 9.30am
  The top lock was the only one we had to fill as we met a steady stream of boats coming up & it was all going well until we got to lock 6 where we came across nb Uncle Mort in the lock.
The pound between 6 & 7 had been emptied overnight as both sets of paddles had been left open on lock 7 ( which takes a fair amount of stupidity!) The water level was still down & Uncle Mort, being deep draughted, had been unable to exit the lock so they were refilling the lock.They reversed out & we went in, fortunately  we are shallow drafted & we managed to exit okay. 
 The queue was growing waiting to go up... 
 ...with an even longer queue at the bottom lock. 
I was surprised at the number of boats coming up, it felt like a bank holiday!

As we had been lucky with most of the locks in our favour it had only taken us 2 hours to do the 11 locks, the boats going up would be taking a fair bit longer.
 We noticed the wind was getting up & Mark had a job on to keep us from being blown into the bank so when we came through bridge 50 & spotted a likely looking mooring on some pilings we pulled in. It's about a mile & a half into Polesworth so we shall stay here for tomorrow. I need to get some washing done & Mark will walk into the village for any supplies.
 Just as I was typing a few minutes ago nb Uncle Mort has gone past so the water level must have improved. It is really windy now & Poppy is creaking & rocking, but we have a TV signal, a good internet signal & may light a fire later so it can blow all it wants :-)

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Last Thursday dawned sunny & the wind had dropped, good walking weather so we followed the route of the canal as far as we could before we had to divert onto a footpath which took us through Measham Lodge farmyard where we exchanged words with the fairly unpleasant farmer. He obviously doesn’t want riffraff on his property but seems to have failed to grasp that if the path has good signage walkers will stick to the path & not wander around looking for it! Apart from that incident we enjoyed the walk, stopping briefly in Measham ...
                                                 footpath near Measham

& then continued up the disused railway line to Moira where the canal terminates, we had hoped to find a pub for lunch but nowhere really appealed so following the restored  bit of canal we walked back along the towpath
The new locks at Moira, no leaky gates here
Moira furnace

The  Moira Furnace is adjacent to the canal & we took advantage of the cafĂ© for a snack before following the watered bit of canal to Donisthorpe then back on footpaths back through Measham, past the lodge (not spotted this time !) & back to Snarestone with tired feet, 11+ miles.

Later that afternoon I popped across to the Ashby Canal Ass’n hut, they sell bits & bobs including a special offer on loo blue (5lt for £7, a bargain !) I had a chat with the chap looking after the hut about how the restoration was progressing, quite well it seems, work was due to recommence on Monday & they hope to reach Measham in 3 years. I told him about our walk & the ‘exchange’ with the farmer, evidently some land has been compulsorily purchased for the restoration & said farmer wasn’t happy about it. Shame…..

Friday dawned grey & cold but it was time to leave as we’d had our 48 hours. At 7am we were on the water point & by 12 noon moored up back in Stoke Golding.

 Thundery weather at Stoke Golding

A not very clear pic of a water vole

Saturday & Sunday we travelled both days & it wasn’t very memorable as my diary entry for both days is sparse! On Sunday we had moored just south of Hartshill  so it was a short cruise into Atherstone yesterday. I was hoping a prescription would be waiting at the post office which it was,  it was dropped off at the chemist. Atherstone has a useful, busy little high street with a co-op, banks, bakers, hardware shops etc. 
We were going to collect my prescription this morning & then move on, tackling to Atherstone flight of 11 locks but we awoke to rain & the weather forecast had changed from a shower at 7am to showers all day so as we don’t have to move we aren’t :-) 
On collecting my meds we found it was market day, I wished it’d spotted it before I bought expensive veg at the co-op! According to Narrowboat Skyy there is also an Aldi which we hadn’t spotted, have now located it  so may have a potter up there this afternoon.
 Tomorrow a reasonable weather forecast  so it’s down the Atherstone flight & on towards Tamworth. 

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


We decided to err on the side of caution on Monday & stay put at Stoke Golding & just as well really as it was very windy. It was still fairly windy yesterday but it didn't give us too many problems as we made our way along this delightful canal. We stopped at Sutton Wharf services to fill the water tank, empty loos & rubbish. A heavy but fleeting shower managed to dampen the proceedings a little but we bravely soldiered on ;-)

We just managed to get on the end of the busy visitor moorings in Market Bosworth but it was quite shallow & our back end was hanging out somewhat so after a walk up into the village to get some supplies from the well stocked co-op we carried on for another hour or so before mooring up in a nice quiet spot just before the hamlet of Congerstone. 
More big skies as the sun starts to go down
 Last of the sun setting over Congerstone

It was really cold standing outside watching the sunset so it was nice to get back indoors to enjoy the fire we'd lit earlier.  A leisurely start this morning, it was 10 am before we set off to do the last navigable 5 miles of the Ashby. 
Mark didn't think there would be any space to moor in Snarestone but at least 6 boats passed us going the other way so I was more optimistic, there was a few spaces before the tunnel but  you have to go through the tunnel to the terminus to wind anyway & sure enough there was a Poppy sized space at the end. Mark turned & moored her easily glad that the wind has eased, then as I removed the tiller arm I managed to drop the tiller pin in the water, b****r!! Tried & failed to find it with the sea searcher, realised it was pointless when the magnet wouldn't 'stick' to the brass of the tiller....Popped across to the Ashby Canal Association shop & they sell all sorts of canal ware - but  no tiller pins so a screwdriver will have to stand in pro tem...

After lunch we had a walk round the village & on the way back we spotted a laden apple tree in the corner of the sports field, a few wind falls in our pockets meant apple pie for pudding, it must have been good....  

The weather forecast is good for tomorrow,  we plan to walk to Measham following the course of the canal &  maybe a pub lunch. Whilst checking out Measham on Google earth I spotted a hardware shop, always good for a rummage, doubt they'll have a tiller pin though...

 Bridge 61, last bridge on the Ashby Canal

 Moored on the end of the visitor moorings,
 the ginger blob is Sid watching the hedge.
 Behind us, the end of the canal & winding hole, the service point is the small building on the left  & the HQ of The Ashby Canal Association is on the right.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Stoke Golding

An empty Stoke Bruerne as we crept through at 6.30am last Thursday morning, Blisworth Tunnel gave us no problems & we had it to ourselves.
Needing diesel we called in at Stowe Hill Marine, the price was a reasonable 83p for domestic with self declaration no problem, a new gas refill, a bottle of fuelset & we were sorted.
By 11am we were moored up just past Weedon, nice & open with good views, just a bit noisy from the trains but they ease off at night so our sleep wasn't disturbed too much.

Friday was warm & sunny so the boat was cleaned inside & out, including the roof. We stayed put for the weekend & then Monday was another 6.30am start on a cold grey morning.

On the Buckby flight of locks, the trains are never far away on this stretch..

We moored in the cutting just past Whelton Wharf  before Braunston Tunnel, no TV signal & radio not too good but 3g was okay for the Internet. I can't remember much else about our couple of days there except it was cold & we had a fire both days! 

Braunston Tunnel

Wednesday morning  it was through the tunnel & locks, we had intended to stop off at A.J. Canopies, our cratch is 3 years old & the stitching is failing, I'm non too pleased about it as I would have thought it should have worn better... anyway A.J. Canopies said they'd take a look & may be able to restitch it. But Braunston was packed & we couldn't find a mooring, we went into the marina where their premises are but the only free spot was the diesel point so being a bit frustrated we left... I rang them to explain & to apologise, it's not as if the cratch is actually falling apart (yet!) hopefully we shall find someone to do it as we potter along. 
No problems mooring at Midland Chandlers & we parted with some more cash for a new chimney & a flue brush, all set for winter now!  

 Wise's Bridge needs some TLC
Lots of the fields show evidence of medieval ridge & furrow

a busy canal today, we're in a slow convoy here, time to stop for lunch & let them get on with it.. 

 & fit our new chimney...

Back to narrow locks again at Hillmorton

An overnight stop at Rugby where we did a Tesco shop then through...
...Newbold Tunnel with it's pretty lighting.

A full day's cruising on Thursday to get to...

... Sutton's Stop

& the Ashby canal, big skies...
& stone bridges.
View from the kitchen window, Stoke Golding church in the distance. 

Moorings aren't that easy to come by on the Ashby as the side tends to be shallow & sloping, so we were pleased to find this spot on some pilings & right next to a bramble laden hedge. There are lots of boats out & about including hire boats from Ashby Boat Company which is just back under the bridge.
There is a small shop in the village were we've been able to get the weekend papers & a bread loaf.  Sid's loving it, spending most of the day rooting about in the hedge bottom.
Not sure if we will move on tomorrow, may wait to see what the morning brings, the weather forecast isn't too good but it seems to be that the north is due to get the worst of it although some of the weather we have had over the last few days has at times felt quite stormy with squally winds & heavy showers one minute then warm sunshine the next.