Friday, May 01, 2009

The first day of May, it’s sunny and we meet up with friends again.

Although today started cloudy and dull, by late morning the sun was showing and it was back to T shirt weather.

About 3 miles from our overnight is Rose Narrowboats at Stretton Stop. They were very helpful when we had an electrical problem in 2006. I considered pulling in here for diesel, a gas bottle and some other odd bits, but had forgotten that it’s the last day before a bank holiday weekend.

Rose Narrowboats

They were so busy preparing boats for customers next week that we kept on going, not even bothering to ask.

The North Oxford Canal had a major overhaul in the early part of the 19th century. Originally built as a contour canal, it wound around the hills and valleys, following the 300 foot contour. Facing increased competition from planned (but never built) broad canals the navigation was straightened, using embankments and cuttings in the same way as the Shropshire Union.
This left loops of the old navigation redundant, and those on the towpath side were crossed using elegant iron bridges.

Horseley Ironworks towpath bridge.
One of the “new” cuttings, near Brinklow.
A little further on is a popular mooring spot, on the edge of All Oaks Wood. We’ve stopped here ourselves, in the past.

Through All Oaks Wood
Just before Rugby is the village of Newbold On Avon, a handy spot with pubs and a shop, as well as a water point and moorings. It is also where boats pass through the “Santa’s Grotto” that is Newbold Tunnel, lit with coloured lights.

Newbold Tunnel
Out into natural light at the eastern portal
Rugby is not so bad, with good moorings near Bridge 58, handy for Tesco. In actual fact the town itself is to the south of the canal, originally serviced by the short Rugby Arm. This is now the base for Willow Wren Hire Cruisers.

Relatively open country is reached after Clifton, and we started to look for somewhere to pull over. After 5 days cruising, we fancied an early finish. Spotting a likely spot we were pulling in behind a boat already tied up, when we realised that it was Chas and Anne on Moore2Life. We knew they were in the area, having had a new, larger, rear hatch fitted at Hillmorton, and were delighted to catch up with them again.

Moored near Moore2Life

We had a good hour or more chatting on the towpath in the warm sun, before packing up for dog walking and tea. They’re facing the wrong way at the moment, but are going into Rugby, turning around and will most likely meet up with us later tomorrow this side of Braunston.

I see the dry weather we’ve had early this year is having an affect already –

On the Leeds and Liverpool Canal -

Lock 51, Barrowford to Lock 30, Holme Bridge

Wednesday 6 May 2009 until further notice

Restricted Passage / Reduced Operating Hours (10 am till 6pm)

Following an exceptionally dry start to the year, we have had to rely on our reservoirs to feed the canals earlier in the season than normal.

As a result the reservoirs supplying the summit of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal all have holdings below their long term average for this time of year. Analysis indicates there is a moderate to significant risk that the reservoirs supplying the Leeds and Liverpool Canal will not have sufficient water to supply the canal throughout the boating season.

We are imposing these restrictions in an attempt to mitigate this risk and prolong the availability of resource for the remainder of the boating season.

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

Boaters should ensure that they have passed through the effected lock flights to a mooring point before the 6pm lock up time.

Mooring points are located at the following locations :-

• On the Burnley Pound (Below Lock 51)
• On the Summit of the L&L
• On the Marton Pound (Between lock 42 and 41)
• On the Bank Newton Pound (Between lock 36 and 35)
• On the Gargrave Flight (Between Lock 31 and 32)
• On the Skipton Pound (Below Lock 30)

Please follow instruction of Lock keepers and adhere to ‘Thrift’ notices posted at the lock side.

Enquiries: 01942 405700

More stoppages on this waterway:

My first thought was “How will this save water? Surely the same number of boats will go through, albeit in a shorter window.” Then the other brain cell kicked in. As these are broad locks, bunching up the customers will encourage more sharing, therefore less “lockings”.

Locks 0, miles 10½

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