We’ve had several ideas about where to cruise this spring, way back it was possibly the Gloucester and Sharpness, culminating in a trip down the Severn from Sharpness to Bristol. But this one died in infancy…
Then we were going to head down to Cropredy, to meet up with Ann and Chas when they had a bit of time on Moore2Life. What with one thing and another they aren’t able to boat this early, so that idea was shelved.
Finally we intended to be at Braunston for the grand bottom-wetting of George and Carol’s new boat WB Still Rockin’, before heading north to Manchester for my first run of the season in May. That would have been fine if the build was on schedule…. but it’s not likely to launch now till sometime in May, and we’ve got to be “oop north”.
So, what to do? This morning we had a chat, and we’ve decided to go for the easy option, a steady and gentle trip back up the Coventry, then the Trent and Mersey north and west, finally using the Bridgewater to take us into Manchester. With 9 weeks to go it would be “steady and gentle”, so we’re going to include a side-trip up the Caldon and back, and maybe a bit of time on the Weaver on the way.
After Manchester it’s likely we’ll be going up the Rochdale 9, then leaving the city via the Ashton and Peak Forest Canals. So that’s from now till June taken care of…
After a splendid day yesterday we set off this morning at around 11:00 (start how you mean to go on, I always say), travelling the 2½ miles to Marston Junction.
Away from Burton Hastings
It was not as pleasant as yesterday, but pretty good nonetheless.
Just before the junction we had our last encounter with the denizens of the Ashby as a water vole crossed the canal in front of us.
A swirl of water and he was gone into his bank-side hole.
Junction Bridge, oddly Number 15a of the Coventry Canal.
Maybe it’s because the now removed stop-lock was administered by the Coventry Canal Co., so technically the bridge crosses CCC water.
Out onto the Coventry, heading north to Nuneaton.
Colliery and quarry spoil heaps dot the landscape
Not a lot to say about passing through Nuneaton, allotments on one side, and a good towpath to encourage the dog walkers on the other.
Some of the allotment sheds look a bit third world…
We left the town, travelling along the winding section below Judkins Quarry on the left and open fields stretching down to the West Coast Main Line on the right.
Springwood Haven looks a pleasant spot to keep your boat
Passing redundant loading wharfs, demolished bridges and ducking under overhead conveyors, we left the remnants of the quarrying industry behind and arrived at Hartshill, mooring just before the maintenance yard.
A pretty long day for us, 3¼ hours cruising.
Tomorrow will be a short one, just to the top of Atherstone Locks, girding our loins to drop down all 11 in one go.
Oh, and I see the "silly season" has started early this year... No-one hurt, this time. Just spoiled holidays.
And Maffi's dug up a cracking story...
Locks 0, miles 8½