Climbing up the Atherstone Locks brings the Coventry Canal through a short but intense area of stone quarries, before the pits of the Nuneaton and Bedworth coalfields take over.
We left our overnight mooring at 10:00, with just a few hundred yards to Lock 5. We fairly flew up, a volunteer helped us at Lock 5 before continuing downhill with a single-hander, and we met oncoming boats at all but one of the other four.
Mags heading for Lock 4
Top Lock, just 45 minutes later
Mags cruises past Rothen’s old coal wharf. There was coal here the first time we passed…
Visitor moorings above Top Lock, absolutely jammed!
Moored on the edge of Mancetter are a couple of boats.
A&R Rothen had branched out into canal transport and maintenance and were under contract to British Waterways for a while. The narrowboat beyond has been here a good while. It’s unusual in having rigid but removable hold covers.
As far as I can find out these boats were built in the 1950’s for the British Transport Commission, the body at that time responsible for waterways transport. (And also for letting it decay into almost non-existence, but that’s another story…) These were built to carry loose cargos, but were also able to take ten 2 ton fibreglass containers, in an attempt to integrate different transport strategies. Ugly and unpopular with the boatmen, they soon earned the unflattering nickname of “dustbin boats”.
This one doesn’t appear to have done much work at all…
Large roadstone quarries are still in production, but there were several smaller ones alongside the canal.
The stone here is Diorite, a hard granite ideal for roadbuilding. Canal transport was used to a degree, small wharfs of brick adjacent to worked-out quarries point to this. But nothing like to the same degree as coal.
Just before noon we pulled in between Bridge 33 and the Hartshill maintenance yard, our intended destination.
It’s been duller than yesterday but still very mild. I worked up quite a “glow” chopping up some firewood this afternoon.
Tomorrow we’ll pass deeper into quarrying country, then through Nuneaton and Bedworth to Hawkesbury Junction.
Locks 5, miles 3