Friday, June 23, 2017

Glad that’s over!

This sub-tropical, Mediterranean-type weather is all very well, but it starts to pale after a bit. Now the temperature’s lower at least we can get  some sleep at night!
And it had dropped considerably. Yesterday it was a full 10° cooler than Wednesday, and today, with a brisk westerly blowing, we’re back into the high teens. We even had a short spatter of rain earlier this morning.

Heading under Wooden Top Bridge under grey skiesDSCF0188

Good for the sun, maybe not so good for the wind and showers this weekend…DSCF0189

We stopped at Sutton Cheney Wharf for water and rubbish disposal. There was only one boat on the plastic pontoon, an elderly Springer.

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DSCF0193The canal passes under a railway bridge that carried the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway.
The track bed to the south (right) is inaccessible, but that to the north is a footpath to Shenton Station and the start of the preserved Battlefield Line.
The name of the railway derives from this being the area of the Battle of Bosworth, when the balance of power in England, and the crown, shifted from the Plantagenates to the Tudors with the defeat and death of King Richard III. I wrote a lengthy piece on the battle when we passed this way in 2011. If you’re interested click here…

We toddled on barely above tickover. The canal is very shallow in places and especially on the offside. Passing oncoming traffic often caused us to scrape the bottom, but going slowly meant we didn’t get stuck fast.

Near Shenton the canal crosses a road on an aqueduct, and a field down on the right used to be the site of Richard III’s memorial stone, it being thought to be the place where he met his end.
New evidence suggests that he more likely died a little to the south, and the stone has been removed to outside the Visitor Centre.  The moorings here and the footpath across the field have been officially closed, but it looks like the bankside, at least, is still usable.
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Crossing the open areas of pasture the wind was quite brisk, rattling the foliage.DSCF0199

Looking west across to Warwickshire
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I’d forgotten how pretty this essentially rural canal is.DSCF0203

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We pulled in just past the entrance to the new Bosworth Marina.DSCF0208

We’ll be here at least for tomorrow. We need some fresh fruit and veg and the town of Market Bosworth is a mile away up the hill.

Locks 0, miles 5

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Longest day, hottest day!

Yes it’s official. Today has been the hottest June day since the summer of ‘76. And with five days of exceptionally warm weather it’s also officially a heatwave. All change now though as we head further into the week…

We stayed put yesterday, no reason really, just that we’re in no rush. Today I was up early to get my morning run in before it got too warm, I was back, showered and breakfasted by half-eight, ready to take Meg out for a short walk.
Then we were moving on, heading up towards the terminus.DSCF0175

Unusually for this end of the canal Bridge 20 is stone-built. Most of those crossing the canal this side of Hinckley have been built of engineering bricks.
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It’s not looking so good, though…
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There are pleasant-looking private moorings next to Wykin Bridge, No.21. DSCF0178
Judging by it’s position alongside two roads I thought that it must have been built for an industrial or commercial use. But there’s no evidence of it’s existence on maps before 1950.

Stoke Wharf, on the other hand, is probably contemporary with the canal. DSCF0180
It’s now used by the Ashby Boat Company and has outlived the usefulness of the railway station opposite! The station was on the Ashby and Nuneaton Joint Railway (Joint because it was built by the Midland Railway and the London and North–Western Railway) which opened in 1873. The line ceased to carry passengers in 1931, and was completely closed in 1962.

Looks like we’re on the second brood now!DSCF0183

We pulled in after about 90 minutes near Bridge 31, Wooden Top Bridge.DSCF0185
Not a spotty dog in sight! You have to be of a certain age to know what I mean…
The Woodentops.
Wooden tops
The animation was a joy to watch. Video here.

Hi Steve, Ang. We’ll look out for you, we’re going to be on the Ashby for another week at least.

Hi Judith. Sorry, haven’t a clue where the thermometer came from, we’ve had it ages. It does have an outside probe, though, and is battery powered. Have a look on ebay, lots of choice there.

Thanks Carol, we did!

Locks 0, miles 3½

Monday, June 19, 2017

A VERY hot weekend!

I’m glad we didn’t cruise this weekend, it was just too hot to be out in the sun for any length of time.

Being in the marina and having wheels as well we were out on Saturday catching up with the shopping. Meg stayed on board though, There was no way we were leaving her for only a short time in a black car with black upholstery.
She’s been struggling with the heat, but we’re doing the longer walks early in the morning and later in the evening. Me too. On Saturday I aborted a 6 mile run, only doing 4½ because I didn’t set off till 8 o’clock and it was just too hot. Today I beat the heat though, I was back on board after my run at 07:15!

Inside and outside temperatures at 10:30 yesterday -
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We had some unusual boats come into the marina on Saturday afternoon…DSCF0170

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You don’t see too many of those on the cut!

Nor these…
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He was looking after the aircraft carrier. But shouldn’t he be wearing a naval cap?

Yesterday we went across country to meet the family at Dad’s. A good afternoon with good company. We don’t very often get the chance to all get together.

So, on to today. The car was due back soon after lunch, so after breakfast and Meg’s constitutional I went up to Morrison’s and got a load of shopping in. Opportunities are thin on the ground for bulk shopping on the Ashby, so we’re set up now for a week or so, apart from the perishables of course.

Yes, we’re staying on here for a while, taking our time up to the terminus and back. After filling up the water tank and disposing of rubbish we were ready to go.

Looking back across Trinity Marina
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Duck’s siesta in the shade
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We didn’t go so far, although a bit cloudier than of late it was still hot, too much for me. And we didn’t have to charge batteries after all. Just out of town and we pulled in on a grass bank near Bridge 19. DSCF0174

Might well stay here tomorrow, too….

Locks 0, miles ¾

Friday, June 16, 2017

Heading back to Hinckley

Today we did the trip that took three on the way up, and it still only took us 2¼ hours!

We had intended to head back yesterday, breaking the trip half way, but we got a phone call on Wednesday evening asking if we were stopping at Sutton Cheney, if so we’d have visitors… my sister Sue and her husband Trev are over from New Zealand and we’re having a family get together anyway on Sunday. But they decided they’d like to see us a little earlier.

So yesterday morning we moved from the 24 hour mooring next to the water point and tied up on the plastic pontoon. It was from here that we spotted a water rat on the bank, there’s a small colony next to the pontoon. But Mags was disappointed this time, the bank is so overgrown now that you could hide a small herd of water buffalo in there let alone a small water rat!
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Sue and Trev arrived about 2, and brother Andy was with them too so we had a good afternoon.

Feeding the ducks with rice krispies.
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This morning dawned clear and bright, in fact the sun as hot when I took Meg out at 8 o’clock. But cloud rolled in and it’s stayed mainly overcast but still warm.

Leaving Sutton Cheney Wharf
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We had a steady cruise back to Hinckley, you can’t do much else really, the canal is very shallow in places. Meg needed a comfort break so we hopped off at Bridge 29 and walked to Bridge 28.

Not a good idea, teaching the kids to play chicken with a narrowboat!DSCF0145
Even if you’re actually a swan…

Bad hair down day
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Basin Bridge.
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We spent our first winter on here, and the enduring memory is of the mud. Mud everywhere. Meg had just snagged a dew-claw and it was a nightmare trying to keep the wound clean and dry. The towpaths seem to be a lot better now.

One improvement that has been made in several places is repairs to the canal edge. The contractors are using a fabric barrier supported on stakes and backfilled with coir rolls and dredged silt.
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As the vegetation takes over the method gives a friendly soft edge, better than harsh steel piling, but I’m not convinced it’ll be as long lasting.DSCF0158

We arrived at Trinity Marina at around midday, booked in and moored up on a pontoon in the marina. After lunch I walked around to Enterprise and picked up a car for the weekend. So we’re all set now.

Locks 0, miles 5½

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A bit more good weather.

The wind has dropped, the clouds have blown away and it’s been a beautiful, sunny day.

We didn’t have far to go, just up to Sutton Wharf for water, so didn’t need to dash off. Do we ever?
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This bit of the canal is very shallow at the edges, so care has to be taken when meeting other boats. Unfortunately we met one who wasn’t, opposite a moored boat. He could have given way to us, or even got closer to the stationary boat, but he did neither, forcing us up on the shallows as he muscled his way through, then robbing us of water so we finished canted over at a considerable angle.
Too much of an angle for a glass and a dish of raw casserole steak on the worktop. The glass finished up in pieces on the deck, the meat in the cutlery drawer which had slid open just far enough to catch it.
Mags did a brief cleanup as we continued, I did a more thorough job once we’d tied up.

That looks like a familiar colour scheme on the back panel…
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It’s the same as ours! In fact the whole scheme is similar, the only difference being the dark grey handrails.

We were lucky to arrive at the wharf and find the one 24 hour mooring available. There was space on the plastic pontoon too, but we needed water and here we’re a hose length from the tap without moving.DSCF0135
We waited for the rush to die down a bit for filling our tank.

The cafĂ© here has been very busy this afternoon, a lot of people about enjoying the sunshine. I guess it’ll be heaving at the weekend.

locks 0, miles 2

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

After a cloudy day…

…a beautiful evening.
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The hedgerow is awash with dog roses…
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…soaking up the evening sunshine.
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There’s been quite a few boats about today, and we’ll be joining them tomorrow. Not too far though, just up to Sutton Wharf for water. We may stop there, or turn around and come back a little way.

Locks 0, miles 0

Monday, June 12, 2017

Just a little one

I was a bit concerned this morning when I took Meg for a walk. The moorhen nest across the canal was completely empty, not a sign of mother and the chicks.

The busy nest yesterday…
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I was relieved a little later to see them mooching about in the undergrowth on the bank, before heading back across the short strip of water to the nest.
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The horses in the field opposite are very friendly, too.DSCF0102

I picked up a few more bits and pieces at the farm shop before we left this morning.DSCF0107
There were a few caravans and the odd camper on the field over the weekend, but they’ve all gone now.

It was dull and grey as we set off, and it hasn’t improved much. Just the occasional glimpse of the sun through the heavy cloud.

Passing the Ashby Boat Company yard and hire base.DSCF0118
A lot of years ago Mag’s brother Walter and his wife expressed a wish to join us on one of our biennial hire boat trips, but Walt made it clear that it was a holiday, none of those locks! So we hired a boat from here, with 20 miles of the Ashby to go at, and another 16½ on the Coventry. Only the one stop lock to deal with at Hawkesbury.

Looking back at Stoke Golding
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To the right is Crown Hill, where Henry VI is supposed to have accepted the royal crown after defeating King Richard III. The actual site of the Battle of Bosworth is now in dispute, recent evidence suggests it was nearer the village of Dadlington, rather than on the side of Ambion Hill.

We didn’t go much further, pulling in before Bridge 28.DSCF0122
The low hedge on the left is high enough to deflect the wind but low enough to allow the evening sun into the cabin. That’s if we get any…
The canal is too shallow to get the stern right in, so the “plank method” of mooring has been employed.

We’ll probably stay here tomorrow, then move up to Sutton Cheney for water before turning back to head to Hinckley for the weekend.

Thanks for the comments, Carol and Lisa. The pictures are considerably improved with the new camera.
Hi Caroline, thanks for the shout. Hope you had a good trip back to base. We'll look out for you on the water in the future.

Locks 0, miles 1¼