Tuesday, June 06, 2017

A surprise visit and a blowy trip.

We got a text at eight this morning – Paul Balmer wanting to know if we were staying at Nuneaton this morning, if so he would bring us the latest update of his excellent canal maps. With the weather being decidedly unsocial we hadn’t made up our minds at that point, so said yes, we’d stay put. We didn’t expect him to be with us by a quarter to ten, though!

Paul with his stand at Crick a couple of weekends ago.Paul at Crick
snaffled from his blog - Waterway Routes

It took me about 20 minutes to put the new England and Wales maps on my laptop, then copy them across for use on the iPad.DSC_0007
The maps are really useful for armchair route planning and tracking your position on the move. Go to the website and have a look, you won’t be disappointed… https://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk/wr/ There’s not just maps on there either. If your planning on hiring a boat you can get DVDs of canals you’re considering, taken from a camera mounted on the bow of NB Waterway Routes, complete with commentary and music!
Paul didn’t stay long, just long enough for a cup of coffee and a quick chat. He was off down to London from Nuneaton.

The weather forecast suggested that the heavy rain would turn to showers around midday, but then the wind would increase from brisk to strong. So we decided to get moving at soon after 11, catching the last of the rain but hopefully getting tied up down at Hawkesbury Junction before the wind got too “challenging”.

It was a steady cruise out of Nuneaton, the built up area giving shelter from the worst of the westerly. In fact the offside shrubbery on most of the trip afforded a degree of protection.

Apart from the several colliery arms that head west from the canal, there’s also one which used to serve Bedworth Mill. This leaves the canal just north of Marston Junction, and is completely engulfed by weeds.

The Bedworth Mill Arm heads off just the other side of the pipe bridgeDSC_0012
The mill was built in the late 18th century, original to produce worsted then later silk. The Our Warwickshire website talks of it being initially water-powered, using water from the canal, but this seems unlikely due to the possessive attitude of the canal companies. It also mentions Collycroft Locks, so can we assume that the arm was navigable? It appears so, in fact to the west of the canal was a whole network of canals and tramways running through the Arbury Estate and linking to the Coventry Canal and the Griff Colliery.

The Griff (Colliery) Arm, a little to the northDSC_0009

The two arms were linked by a tramway, running north from near Bedworth Mill to join the Griff Arm at Griff Hollows Wharf.
Griff Arm
From http://www.irsociety.co.uk/Archives/47/Griff.htm. To put it in perspective, the area of the sketch map is roughly here - Area map

We met several boats today, some coping better than others with the conditions…
That boat was already on the bottom before he came along – luckily!

It’s fairly busy here, but we managed to get tied up near the water points. Just managed, that is. The wind caught the fore-end and pushed it across the canal, luckily I was off with the centre line so could tie it off and spring the boat back in. Mags was inside to shut all the drawers afterwards…
We’re picking up a Tesco delivery at the wharf tomorrow morning, then we’ll turn around and head for Marston Junction and the Ashby Canal.

I didn’t use the new camera today, the last one didn’t like damp and I don’t suppose this one’s any better. But I did try it out around the junction after we arrived…
Not so bad, eh.

Locks 0, miles 4¾

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