Monday, July 03, 2017

A bit of a disappointment at Market Bosworth.

On Saturday I timed my up-town shopping trip so that I’d get back to the railway bridge in time for the first train of the day running south from Shackerstone on The Battlefield Line.
So there I was, two bags full of groceries, waiting on the bridge at twenty past eleven.

It’ll be coming around that corner…

I’d been joined by a couple of lads who’d interrupted their cycle ride to town to watch what I promised to be a steam locomotive passing under us. I was looking forward to the sight and smells of steam and coal smoke, evocative of a bygone era. It was late…

…then – here it comes….! A bloody diesel! And not even a decent one, an old Diesel Multiple Unit! I was so disgusted I didn’t even take a picture as it passed, but then relented and got one as it loaded passengers at the station.20170701_112925
I wonder if they were as disappointed as I was…
Ah well.

It’s been a fine weekend and there’s been lots of boats about. But we stayed put, not getting away till this morning.

A beautiful evening yesterday

The first requirement was to fill the water tank, so just 200 yards to the taps just south of the bridge. That done we were off again.

It’s very pleasant along here, but woefully shallow. In most places just passing oncoming boats left us scraping the bottom and tilting as the water was pulled from beneath us.

This lot were baa-ing in joy and trotting along happily, having just been released onto fresh pasture.

Their mates, still in detention, looked on in envy…DSCF0300

She’ll do well to keep that little lot.
Pike and zander will take them from below, while stoat and fox will threaten them on land. Even herons will have a go if they’re small enough. It’s tough being a duck.

I don’t remember there being a reservoir over there…DSCF0303
It’s below the canal level so no good as a water supply.

A closer look reveals it as a crop…
…maybe lavender?

A bit of dredging work constricts the channel near Shenton Aqueduct

The removed silt was being piled up on the offside bank, with, worryingly, several shovel-fulls of clay. The canal bottom and sides are lined with clay, known as clay puddle, to keep the water in. A couple of feet of clay was dropped into the excavation, trampled firm and watertight by borrowed livestock or even teams of navvies in big boots.

Removing it during dredging is a cardinal sin, especially on an embankment leading up to an aqueduct!

We hadn’t planned any particular destination and there was space on the end of the plastic pontoon at Sutton Cheney so we pulled in there.DSCF0315
We’d have been stopping here anyway to drop off the rubbish.

I was just lining up to come in when I spotted movement at the waters edge. I thought we were going to do this whole trip without a glimpse of the elusive Ratty, but no, there he was!

Water Vole, aka Ratty
OK, not a good picture. But I did have my hands full of throttle and tiller at the time…

Looks like a good week ahead, although we might have some thundery showers towards the end. I expect we’ll be back onto the Coventry Canal by then.

Locks 0, miles 3¾


Grace_ McLeod said...

Not lavender, linseed. Also known as flax. I once had a long arguement with a passing stranger, he insisting a field we had seen was linseed, me insisting it was flax! Neither would give ground, we parted agreeing to differ. When I got home and checked I found we were both right. šŸ˜‚ It does make a beautiful coloured field.
Kath (nb Herbie)

Unknown said...

The blue crop is almost certainly flax/ linseed. It's a beautiful colour, but only opens in sunlight. Go back at dusk and you'll wonder where it's gone to!

Alison said...

I think that might be linseed and not lavender :)

Lisa said...

We went on the diesel train a few years ago, yes it was a tad disappointing BUT then we met one of only a few women drivers in the country. She was really interesting.
Blue crop is linseed.
Greetings to Margaret,

Mrs. Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Geoff,

Lovely post. Les would have been standing right there with you, excitedly waiting for the steam rain and he too would have been disappointed all the way down to his boots with a diesel train instead!

Sending love to you and Mags. Please give her a cheery hello and a hug from me.

Jaq xxx

Caroline and Martin said...

The Steam trains usually run at weekends only. Topped up by the diesel trains during the week.