Friday, April 22, 2016

A day off in Atherstone.

Wednesday was another beautiful day, warm and sunny as we headed to Atherstone.

Leaving Polesworth

I’ve always fancied having a go at one of these off-road courses…IMG_9393

The old swing bridge has seen better days…

…as has this boat near Grendon Dock
It’s a riveted iron butty (unpowered), and, judging by the bow, probably built in Northwich. Can’t make out the name, though…

We caught up with a boat at the bottom of the Atherstone Locks. Only to be expected, now we’re moving into the season. There’s a lot more boats about down here than up in the north in the winter!

Mags in Lock 10 of 11.
Unfortunately we’re counting down, not up!

We had boats both before and behind, so the crews helped each other as we went. There were a couple of boats coming down, as well.

And we had anglers!
They were quite a jolly bunch, actually. It might have been a different story had it been bucketing down!

The pattern for the cast iron ground paddle pedestals didn’t change…



In Lock 7, Baddesley Wharf, home of Barry Hawkins Boats, in the background.IMG_9409

We pulled in on the straight between L5 and L6. It’s not the quietest spot, sandwiched between road and rail, but it’s the closest to Cox Automotive, who were to repair a faulty alternator for me.
I dropped it off in the afternoon, and after testing said they had to get a part in. But I could have it back next day.
In the event I missed the call, and it was late yesterday afternoon before I realised. Too late to collect it, so I left it till first thing this morning.

So this morning, after walking Meg, eating breakfast and collecting the repaired unit, we were off.

Just around the corner was our first lock, and they come close together on this, the top half of the Atherstone Locks.

We were lucky, two early starters had already come down and we beat anyone else going up, so all the locks were empty for us.

First today, Lock 5

Plughole bywash weir

All the locks have side ponds alongside.
They are a feature designed to save water, by using them only half a lock of water is used each time a boat passes through. But they’ll all out of action bar one, and that is locked up, only to be used by CRT staff.

“Do you want me on or off, Dad?”

It was grey and cold compared to the previous few days. I started off in shorts, fine when working the locks, but  had to put trousers on later. And a heavy coat… and gloves!

We reached the top in good time, just 50 minutes for the 5 locks. At the top we were just topping off the lock when a familiar boat arrived. It was NB Ami Bovard, with Nigel and Glen. It’s been almost 12 months since we saw them, so we had a bit of catching up to do… It was a good job no-one else was waiting to use the locks!

A new crew member, 6 month old Bear.

After filling up the water tank and disposing of the rubbish we were on our way again. We had no clear destination in mind, it depended on the weather.

Good views to the north across Warwickshire

Twin brick bridges at Hartshill

Coventry Canal BWB BW CRT maintenance yard.

There are a couple of pleasant mooring spots between here and Nuneaton looking out over the Anker valley, but it was still fine so we pushed on.

A comfort break for steerer and co-pilot (Meg) at the Anchor near Bridge 29 and we carried on, into the built-up area around Nuneaton.

They must be well into fresh produce in Nuneaton; the allotments are huge!IMG_9435

Starline Boats at Boot Wharf

Moorhens do build precarious nests…

This area is smack in the middle of the North Warwickshire coalfield, the main reason the canal was built. Power stations in Longford, Coventry and further afield relied on regular supplies, carried by boat. Most of the collieries had canal arms, connected to the pits by narrow-gauge railway.

Griff Colliery Arm
There’s a large business park on the site of the colliery.

A little further on is Marston Junction and the entrance to the Ashby Canal.IMG_9444
Another canal whose existence is due to coal, this time from pits on the edge of Leicestershire.

Soft-top boat?

Charity Dock is always worth a look…

The Stig is still here…

and the other “staff” are modelling the 2016 Spring collection.IMG_9450

Another short loading arm, this one for the Newdiggate CollieryIMG_9452

The old Navigation Inn has been converted into a stunning private residenceIMG_9451

We finally pulled in on the first available spot on the moorings before Hawkesbury Junction.IMG_9453
It’s busy here, there were only a couple of spots free anyway.

We’re going to do a short-ish day tomorrow, hopefully mooring at All Oaks Wood. Sunday will be a day of rest… For us anyway. London Marathon day!

Wednesday- Locks 6, miles 3¾ , today - Locks 5, miles 11½

1 comment:

Adam said...

The side pond at Lock 6 at Atherstone is working and available -- at least it was the last few times we've been that way. I make a point of using it!