Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Halfway up the Atherstone Locks

You know I said yesterday seemed to be quiet? Well, all those boats we didn’t see then must have been out today! The first one went past us at 07:15, and from then till we untied ourselves there seemed to be a constant stream in both directions.

We got away at around 10:30, leaving a 10 minute gap to the last one to pass, but unwittingly pulling out in front of another just hidden around the bend…

There’s a derelict swing bridge amongst that mass of vegetation.DSC_0010
I don’t think it’s been used for a long, long time.

Flat countryside around here, till the rising ground of Ward’s Hill and Hartshill is encountered.DSC_0012

The Atherstone Locks climb about 80 feet along the flank of the hillside. And it’s these hills, or at least the granite that they’re made of, which was part of the reason for the canal. Quarries had produced high quality stone here for a long time, and the best transport for the bulk loads was by boat.

Grendon Dock


We pulled in for water and rubbish disposal at Grendon Bridge, then followed on, expecting a queue at the bottom of the locks….

…we weren’t disappointed, but it wasn’t quite as long as we’d expected.DSC_0016
Only two boats waiting and one in the lock on the way up.

It was only 30 minutes later that we were on our way up ourselves.DSC_0017

The first six locks are spaced in pairs, with longish pounds between each pair.DSC_0018

At first we were having to turn each lock as we were following other boats, but then we started meeting traffic on the way down so could swap locks.

Our last lock for the day was No 6, and a boat was waiting to come down. It was the fine-looking Sonoma, with the proud new owners now moving it from the Crick Boat Show to home moorings in Cheshire. It was built by Finesse Boats in Sheffield.DSC_0022

It was a longer day than expected, with the queues at the locks, but we were still tied up before 2 o’clock.

Up the remaining five tomorrow.

Locks 6, miles 3¼

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