Congerstone

Since our last post we have spent most of the time playing around on one of our favourite canals, the Ashby. After departing from friends at Polesworth on Monday 30/7. we set off towards the Atherstone flight of locks. Stopping for water at the service point, several boats passed by going the other way. This was good news as the locks should have been in our favour. So it was for the first five of the flight, however at the point the volunteers were operating everything came to an abrupt halt, and we joined the queue of about five. What the hold up was we never found out, but it added an hour or so to our ascent. Once at the top we pondered stopping for lunch, but we needed a pump out and wanted to make sure we reached Springwood Haven Marina in plenty of time. Pushing on we passed our intended mooring spot near bridge 28, and winded in the entrance of the marina. Following the pump out which is done for you by the staff at this marina, we headed back to our intended spot, a couple of hundred yards away. Now facing the wrong way, it was not a problem as there is a winding hole very close to this spot. The next morning, we winded and headed off towards Marston Junction and the Ashby Canal. Turning left, we soon arrived at Marston Jabbett where we stopped for the day. After securing the boat, we headed off to the nearby pub for lunch. Part of a well known chain of pubs, it was adequate but nothing special.

 

Moored at Marston Jabbett

 

 

Wednesday 1/8. we set off for Stoke Golding about 8 Miles away. We soon passed the spot of our collision with a hire boat earlier in the year, this time without incident. Approaching bridge 23 we decided to stop for lunch. It was also close to the farm shop we like to support, so the crew went shopping, not for very much it turned out as the stocks were low. After lunch we had about one more mile to go to our aimed for spot, just beyond the marina entrance at Stoke Golding. Later in the evening, we wandered up into the village for our appointment at the Mango Tree indian restaurant. Thankfully the walk back is all down hill. Thursday 2/8. We cruised to a new mooring spot for us, about a mile beyond Market Bosworth Marina close to bridge 46. Friday 3/8. We headed for the end of the canal at Snarestone. After passing through the crooked tunnel, we took a mooring on the 48 hour section and secured the boat. Unfortunately this area does not afford much shade, an important requirement for four legs with his furry coat. Walking up to the wharf to see if there was anywhere more shady, we spoke with Michael who looks after the area for the Ashby Canal Association. He pointed us towards a spot on the wharf beneath a large tree, and this was to be our spot for the next few days.

 

 

Snarestone Wharf mooring

 

Michael the warden operates a pair of working boats, Draco and Success. Success is an original horse drawn butty, and was built in 1893. It is the boat which is moored directly behind us on the wharf. The other boat in the picture is a Hudson like ours called Diligent Too. After securing the boat in our new spot, we wandered off to the village to reacquaint ourselves with the Globe P.H. for lunch. We also booked in for a Sunday roast. Later back at the wharf we got the comfy chairs out and relaxed in the dappled shade watching the world go by. Whilst here we met the owners of Diligent Too, who were undertaking some voluntary work on the wharf. The work being done was repainting some large beams, which had originally been located in the nearby pump house. Sunday 5/8. we went to the Globe for lunch and the roast was excellent. Back at the wharf, the owner of Diligent Too informed us he was leaving the next day, and that the beam painting would be unfinished. I offered to finish it off. Monday 6/8. I donned a pair of overalls, and began a day of scraping and painting. Unfortunately for me, the beams were not afforded any shade from the nearby tree. After about six hours of work, the paint finally ran out which my excuse for stopping for the day.

Hard at work

After a long day of work in the heat of the sun, it was only right to cool down, with a tub of ice cream purchased from the wharf. Quite what four legs had done to deserve his I don’t know, but he got one anyway, and after scoffing his down, he preceded with an attempt to scrounge some of mine. He was out of luck.

 

 

Ice Cream for Four Legs

 

 

Tuesday 7/8. We manoeuvred from the wharf onto the water point, to refill the tank, then after saying our goodbyes, set off for Shackerstone. Wednesday 8/8. We took four legs for a walk, and then took lunch at the Shackestone Railway Station tea rooms. After lunch, we purchased some cake to takeaway for later. Thursday 9/8. We had a run down to Market Bosworth Marina, for diesel and a pump out. The crew nipped up the hill into town for some supplies, then we set off on a return journey as far as Congerstone. On route we spotted a hare playing in the fields.

 

Hare playing in the field

 

Friday 10/8. We walked into Shackerstone to post some letters. Saturday 11/8. We cruised the boat up to the winding hole in Shackerstone, and then return back to Congerstone, to the same spot we had departed forty minutes earlier.

 

 

Mooring at Congerstone

 

Today, Sunday 12/8. The weather today is a bit wet so four legs only got a short walk. Then it was off to the Horse and Jockey P.H. for Sunday lunch. Tomorrow we begin our journey off the Ashby Canal.

  • Totals Monday 30/7.    6 Miles 11 Locks
  •         Tuesday 31/7.    5 Miles
  •         Wednesday 1/8. 8 Miles
  •         Thursday 2/8.    7 Miles
  •         Friday 3/8.         5 Miles 1 Tunnel
  •         Tuesday 7/8.       3 Miles 1 Tunnel
  •         Thursday 9/8.     6 Miles   
  •         Saturday 11/8.    2 Miles
  • Running totals 418 Miles 186 Locks 11 Tunnels

 

 

Stoke Golding

Since our last post we have actually been quite busy. As planned, on Bank Holiday Monday 28/8, we departed Shackerstone aiming for Stoke Golding. Our first stop of the day was at Market Bosworth Marina for services, we are becoming regulars here this year. Then onwards to Shenton where we stopped for lunch, no pub this time as we still had a way to go. Unusually for a Bank Holiday, the weather was warm and sunny so it made for a pleasant cruise. On arrival at Stoke Golding in the late afternoon, we found far more boats moored than on our previous visit, but we were able to find a spot. We stayed put in Stoke Golding for a few days, making use of the nearby farm shop at bridge 23. On Thursday 31/8, I was another year older and now 3 years into retirement, to celebrate a trip to the Dog and Hedgehog P.H was the order of the day. Along with birthday lunches and Sunday roasts, we are becoming regulars here as well. Friday 1/9, we had a short three mile cruise to Trinity Marina at Hinckley. We had booked a week long mooring here, whilst we left the boat for a pre planned excursion the following week. We still had our car to collect from Glascote Basin, so a trip back to Tamworth was the afternoon activity. This was needed so that the furry crew member could be dropped off at his home boarding, aka posh kennels, whilst we went on our trip. The following day the two legged crew abandoned ship, leaving me and four legs to rest and recuperate in Hinckley. Tuesday 5/8, having secured the boat I travelled to London for an overnight stay in Victoria, ready for the next days jaunt. Wednesday 6/9, having been joined by the two legged crew, we made our way to Victoria Station to check in for our journey to Bath, on the steam driven Pullman train. The journey was to take four hours, being hauled by the steam engine ‘Tornado’, whilst inside the 1920s carriages we were wined and dined. On route a half hour stop was made at Newbury racecourse station, to allow the engine to take on more water. This was supplied by a fire brigade tender, presumably all the track side water towers are long since gone. During the course of the day, the engine would burn its way through approximately five tons of coal, and whilst capable of reaching speeds exceeding 100 Mph, is limited by regulations to 75 Mph. On arrival in Bath we enjoyed an organised coach tour, followed by a trip to the Roman Baths. It was here we were able to take the water, that supposedly cures all ills. It tasted disgusting. Once back on board the train, we returned to our comfortable armchairs, ready for our four course dinner en route back to London. Thursday 7/9, we returned to reality, using the everyday trains of the London Midlands service, to get us back to the boat, not forgetting to collect four legs on the way. 

Steam train ‘Tornado’    

 

   
Roman Baths

Saturday 9/9, we departed Trinity Marina heading back to Stoke Golding. For Sunday lunch it was back to the Dog and Hedgehog, and yesterday Tuesday 12/9, we walked the five mile round trip to Sutton Wharf. Last night a forecast storm was due to arrive, so before bed, ropes were tightened, and the satellite dish removed from the roof. In the end though, the wind did not amount to much. Our plan is to head off tomorrow, as we are in need of services at Market Bosworth Marina. Hopefully the wind will have dropped a bit more by the time we reach there.

  • Totals Monday 28/8. 9 Miles
  •          Friday     1/9. 3 Miles
  •          Saturday 8/9. 3 Miles
  • Running total  168 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 

Burton Hastings

So this morning after breakfast we pulled our pins and set off the short distance to the water point prior to the stop lock. We have now found a water point that seems slower that the one at Hillmorton. An hour and a half later the water tank was finally full. Then it was into the lock for the dramatic descent of about one foot, the difference between the two canals.

You can see from the water mark on the lock wall how much difference there is between the levels. Out of the lock it is a sharp right turn onto the Coventry Canal heading towards Atherstone.

Coventry and Oxford Canals

Either side of the bridge above, you can see both canals running parallel for a short while. The Coventry to the left, and the Oxford to the right. We now had a couple of miles to cruise before reaching Marston Junction, and the Ashby Canal. Before that though we passed Charity Dock, a boatyard, scrapyard and mooring all rolled into one. A feature at this location are the many manikins, which have been dressed up in all kinds of costumes. There was even a Stig from Top Gear. My favourite though has to be the woman placed in the pillory, I believe an old fashioned punishment for nagging in the Elizabethan era, ah the good old days.

Charity Dock

Marston Junction was only a short hop from here. As we passed beneath the bridge just prior to the junction, it was apparent what a tight, blind turn this was. One long blast on the klaxon, and we made the right turn onto the Ashby Canal. This is now new water for us, and the boat.

Marston Junction, Ashby Canal

Soon after making the turn onto the Ashby Canal it felt different. We had left behind the busy industrial areas, and were now heading into the rural countryside of Leicestershire. Our first stopping point, was to be just south of Burton Hastings, a small village on the outskirts of Hinckley.

   
Four legs checking I have secured the boat at our mooring

The Ashby Canal is one of the canals reported to be very shallow. As yet we have had no problem, however there are still 20 miles to go to the current terminus at Snarestone, so plenty of time yet to run aground.

  • Totals 5 Miles 1 Lock
  • Running total 63 Miles 19 Locks 3 Tunnels