Yes, Saturday’s course and exam at Willow Wren’s new training facility at Nelson’s Wharf went well, for all five of us on the day. It was a long day, though. 09:00 to 18:45. By the end my ears were leaking information. There’s an awful lot to take in during the day.
Steve had kindly let us moor on the wharf, so I could pop back at lunchtime to let Meg out for a pee and have a bite to eat before returning to the fray.
Moored at Nelson’s Wharf
The site was a cement and lime works, demolished in the 1960s by the simple expedient of getting the army demolition teams to practice there, then bulldozing the rubble into the old arm! Since taking over the site last year, Steve and his team have done an amazing amount of work, clearing and levelling, felling the out of control shrubbery and dredging and piling along the wharf and the entrance to the arm.
The canal-side groundwork is pretty well done, enabling the training centre to fulfill it’s function, but behind the scenes there’s still a lot to do.
At the moment the arm is truncated where it was crossed by the Leamington to Weedon branch line.
Rubble fill at the current end of the arm
The ultimate aim is to clear and reopen the arm, using it for a limited number of moorings. The whole facility so far is low impact and environmentally friendly, further developments will follow the same principal.
The team here are friendly and supportive. I would recommend them to anyone looking for the courses they provide. Lots more info here.
Yesterday morning NB Kangaroo came up and used the arm entrance to wind. The single cylinder Bollinder engine sounded fantastic, but I don’t think I could live with one.
We reversed back 100 yards to join Sue and Vic for an excellent Sunday lunch.
This morning we had a later start, waiting for the overnight rain to blow over. It was cool and gloomy when we set off, but dry. We didn’t have far to go before the locks started.
Passing Stockton Top Lock Marina
Wide beam Valhalla, last seen down on the Thames
Stockton Top Lock, the first of a compact flight of eight
We had a good run down the flight, meeting boats at three of the locks.
NB Kingfisher on the left, dwarfed by the fore end of an ex-working boat as they leave Lock 9
That candlestick paddle gear…
After the Stockton eight there’s a short pound before Lock 12. The canal passes the Blue Lias Inn, named after the popular Blue Lias shales found in the area. They’re sought after for paving and decorative features, and the associated limestone used in cement manufacture. The shale beds also contain a substantial number of fossil remains dating from the early Jurassic to Triassic eras, hence the unusual pub sign…
The last two locks took us to the end of today’s short trip, mooring near the main road bridge at Long Itchington.
Apple pie tonight…
Just two hours today, cool but enjoyable.
Locks 10, miles 1½