Sunday, February 16, 2014

Moving on while the weather’s fine.

We were going to leave Fazeley yesterday, but Friday’s blowy weather still lingered, bringing the odd shower, so we decided to stay put. I had plenty to do, I seem to have spent the last couple of days with a varnish brush in my hand.

There are around 60 individual bits to the new dividing mini-bulkhead, not counting brackets, dowels and screws. All to be sanded and varnished twice before assembly.

I used to love Airfix kits….

Today promised to be good and sunny, so we decided to get off as soon as I’d made a visit to the the local Tesco Express for some provisions. It was shorter than expected; this end of Coleshill Road was suffering a power cut so the shop wasn’t open.

It’s not only trees that have succumbed to the gales…SAM_8235
It was only a matter of time judging by the corrosion at the base of the posts.

Peels Wharf, C&RT offices and services.SAM_8234
A bit calmer on the water this morning.

Just around the corner we passed Fazeley Junction where the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal heads south under Watling Street Bridge for Birmingham, and the Coventry Canal goes under Bridge 77 and heads east for a start through Tamworth.

Fazeley JunctionSAM_8238
That way be Brum…

I’m pleased to see the canal house overlooking the junction has been renovated and is now occupied.

Only two locks today, those at Glascote. about 25 minutes from Fazeley.

Glascote Locks.SAM_8246


These are notoriously slow to fill. Even Meg got bored waiting….

Alongside each chamber is a side pond. These would have been used to save water, if a boat was going down, the lock would be first emptied into the pond. The water would level off at about the half-full point. The remainder of the water in the lock would then be released downhill as normal.
A boat going up would first draw water from the pond before topping up from the pound above.
Quite a few locks around the network have these, but  don’t think any are still in use. It maybe wouldn’t be a bad idea to restore them if we keep having these droughts…

The top lock side-pond has become a receptacle for the normal urban detritus…

Steve Hudson’s Glascote Wharf, builder of fine narrowboats, is situated just above the top lock.SAM_8251

We left the built up area behind at Amington, having cruised at tick-over through a fishing match.

Our first of the year! And it was a whopper!

It had to happen, didn’t it. No boats all morning, and then….SAM_8256
….we meet one under a pipe bridge on a blind bend!

Alvecote is the place to be for those of a more traditional bent…

Fine josher bows in a rowSAM_8261
The term ”josher” was applied to boats of Fellows, Morton and Clayton, canal carriers from 1837 to the end of 1948. It came from the name Joshua, son of the founder James Fellows, who took over on his father’s death.

The canal winds through a section of scrubby, stunted woodland, the site of the extensive Pooley Hall Colliery. Most of the workings were on the right hand (south) bank, pit waste was dumped on the left, now being slowly reclaimed by vegetation. Slowly because of the infertile nature of the spoil.

The large spoil heap near the M42 bridge is now a local landmark.SAM_8268

And the coal wharf is now residential moorings.

I’d thought about pushing on to near Bradley Green, just below Atherstone Locks, but decided to pull in at Polesworth instead. I still need to do that bit of shopping, and tomorrow looks likely to be a colouring-in day, judging by the forecast.

SAM_8275Looking across the river valley to the squat tower of the Abbey Church dedicated to St Editha.

The church, gatehouse and a bit of the clerestory are all that remain of Polesworth Abbey, founded in the 9th century by St Modwena and the Saxon King Egbert. His daughter, Edgytha (now St Editha), was the first Abbess. Following Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the monasteries, the abbey was sold off and mostly demolished.

If the weather is at all clement tomorrow, I’ll go and have a closer look.

Hi Ray, Brian. I hadn’t spotted the mast at Hinks on the map, although strangely enough that and Sutton are both in the same direction from where I took the snap. I guess you’re right, the Hints mast is about a mile away, the Sutton mast nearer 5 miles. My camera zoom isn’t that good! Thanks guys.

Locks 2, miles 4½ 

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