Saturday, March 08, 2014

The last leg to “Cut End”

The term Cut End is a bit fluid at the moment, thanks to the efforts of the Ashby Canal Association. In 2012 about 100 yards of navigable canal was added to the terminus, and more is due to be cleared and restored this year.
The association was formed in 1966 in response to the threat of closure. The canal had already lost it’s most northern 8 miles, mainly due to subsidence caused by the collieries it was built to serve. Loss of commercial traffic meant that the canal was under maintained and likely to be closed completely.
The association actively campaigned to keep the waterway open, even re-introducing coal carrying from Market Bosworth and Gopsall Wharf from 1968 until 1973.

Comet and Betelgeuse loading coal at Gopsall Wharf, 1973 tom_14_NBs%20Comet%20and%20Betelgeuse
Photo by Tom Henshaw, from

I took Meg for a short walk around by Shackerstone Station this morning.

Crossing the River Sence on the road up to the station, the canal aqueduct alongsideSAM_8527
The river looks pretty full…

Shackerstone Station

Something’s in steam ready for today’s tripsSAM_8531
The engine is The Blue Circle, built in 1926 to an 80 year old design. It’s more traction engine than your conventional steam locomotive.

We moved off from our overnight moorings at around 11:00 as usual, following NP for a change. They were up and off soon after 10:00.

It was a breezy and cool morning, not much in the way of sunshine till after lunch.

Timm’s Bridge at the end of Shackerstone Park CovertSAM_8534

I mentioned Gopsall Wharf earlier…

Snarestone village partially sits atop the tunnel, the only one on the Ashby.

Snarestone Tunnel, 250 yards longSAM_8538


With it being aligned almost due north, at lunchtime the midday sun shines into the southern portal at this time of year, lighting the bore more than my pitiful camera flash could ever do.

Out of the tunnel we encountered a small group of anglers, some prepared to acknowledge us, others finding items of interest in their tackle boxes.

There are fine views northward towards Moira and the original end of the canal between Bridges 60 and 61.SAM_8542

Moorings and winding hole just beyond Bridge 60

The coal boat, NB Auriga, turned up later this afternoon, Rick making short work of winding the full-length Ex GUCC boat….SAM_8544

… before selling Vic coal and us both coal and diesel.

We’re here for the rest of the weekend now, heading back the way we came on Monday.

Locks 0, miles 4

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