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

 

 

Streethay

Quite a bit has happened since the last post, so here is a quick update. On Bank Holiday Monday 7/5. we departed Shackerstone aiming for Market Bosworth. This was an unplanned move, to facilitate a visit to a dentist the following day. We did wonder if there would be any space to moor at Bosworth, being a holiday weekend and with glorious weather, but to our surprise, we had our choice of spot being the only boat there. Wednesday 9/5. Visits to the dentist complete, our destination was Stoke Golding. The heat of the past few days had reduced, but it was still pleasant cruising weather. It was also much quieter, now all the workers had returned to their day jobs. On arrival at Stoke Golding we secured the boat, and after lunch wandered off to the farm shop at bridge 23 for supplies. Our evening meal was once again taken at the Mango Tree Indian restaurant, I can see this becoming a regular haunt when we pass this way. Thursday 10/5. we had a non moving day, instead taking four legs on a longish walk to Sutton Cheney Wharf for lunch. This is a round trip of about five miles, so it gave our legs a good stretch. The following day, Friday 11/5. we had a short hop of about one hour to Hinckley Marina. We were leaving the boat here for a couple of days, to attend a family Golden Wedding event near Newbury over the weekend. On returning to the boat, we took a further few days restocking the supplies and moving cars around, before finally getting underway again on Wednesday 16/5. Our intended destination was to be close to Springwood Haven Marina. As we navigated through Burton Hastings we spotted Nessie, a couple of hundred miles south of where he or she should be.

Nessie bobbing around at Burton Hastings

Turning right at Marston Junction, rejoining the Coventry Canal, we continued our journey north. We had to pass through Nuneaton, which as per usual meant encountering an increasing amount of rubbish dumped in the cut. As we approached Springwood Haven, we spotted a boat moored in our usual spot so we carried on on a bit. We found a nice spot just prior to a winding hole with some cows for neighbours.

Mooring near Springwood Haven

Thursday 17/5. We had a relatively short distance to cruise, but this did include the eleven locks of the Atherstone flight. We must have been righteous that day. Not only was the sun shining on us, and not so hot as to make it uncomfortable, but at all bar two of the locks we met oncoming boats. This meant nine of the eleven locks were set in our favour. At the bottom of the flight, we plodded on until reaching a usual spot for us, about a mile before Polesworth.

Mooring prior to Polesworth

We only stayed here one night before moving on to Whittington. So Friday 18/5. after breakfast we moved off. The weather was much cooler than it had been for the past couple of weeks. Our journey was going to take us by the birthplace of our boat, at Glascote Basin. We stopped above the top lock of the Glascote pair, at the water point. Whilst waiting we had a look into the Basin from the bridge. We will be back here in July for a boat gathering, which this year includes a hog roast. Once the water tank had been replenished, we set off again descending the two Glascote locks, and then continued on towards Whittington. We passed through Fazeley Junction, bearing right and joining the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. One feature of this canal, is that the bridges are named instead of being numbered. We only had a couple of miles to travel on this canal, before rejoining the Coventry Canal (detached section) at Whittington. Approaching Hopwas it was lunchtime, and the mooring directly outside the Tame Otter PH was empty. This was a sign, so we stopped for refreshments. After lunch we carried on for the remaining couple of miles to Whittington, and found our intended spot vacant. Securing the boat we took the opportunity to try out a new purchase, a sun parasol. Unfortunately, the nice shady seating caused four legs to misbehave, and following a disciplinary hearing, he has been demoted to third mate, for the offence of stealing the captains chair.

Four Legs committing a heinous crime

The demotion in rank also entails a restriction of privileges, meaning no Bonios for a week. A loose plan was to remain here for a week, whilst the crew popped home to do some dog sitting duties. This would give me the opportunity to complete some necessary maintenance tasks, including varnishing and wood staining. Wednesday 23/5. I moved the boat up to Kings Orchard Marina for services and took up a mooring just beyond the Marina entrance. Me and the third mate, will wait here til the crew returns on Saturday.  

  • Totals Monday      7/5.   3 Miles
  •          Wednesday 9/5.   6 Miles
  •          Friday        11/5.  3 Miles
  •          Wednesday 16/5.  11 Miles
  •          Thursday    17/5.  7 Miles 11 Locks
  •          Friday         18/5. 12 Miles 2 Locks
  •          Wednesday 23/5.  1 Mile 
  • Running total 125 Miles 32 Locks 5 Tunnels 

Market Bosworth

Having survived the storm, this morning after breakfast, we set off aiming for Shackerstone. It was still fairly breezy, but not so much, that would deter us from entering Market Bosworth Marina for services. We passed a relatively empty Sutton Wharf, where we had lunch a few days ago, and continued on our journey. The sun was warm through the broken clouds, and we encountered quite a bit of oncoming traffic. At one bridge, we had to wait whilst three boats came through, not normally a problem, but in the wind, a little tricky holding the boat straight. We arrived at Market Bosworth about two and a half hours after setting off, and made the turn into the Marina. We managed to secure the boat on the services pontoon, despite the best efforts of the wind, trying to blow us off. After filling with water, having a pump out and replacing a gas cylinder, we were ready to depart. However, at the Marina there is a bistro type cafe, and it was lunchtime. It is amazing how quickly plans change when hungry. We checked there was space to moor outside the Marina, and secured the boat. We will stay here now till tomorrow, unless the weather is rubbish, in which case it may be longer.

Obtaining services Bosworth Marina
View from the cafeteria

Whilst in the cafe I noticed they do breakfasts, so depending on our departure time tomorrow, a visit for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs maybe on the cards.

  • Totals 6 Miles
  • Running total 174 Miles 41 Locks 7 Tunnels 

Shackerstone Update

So this morning after breakfast, we headed off to Shackerstone railway station. As you would expect, it has an old world feel to it, complete with a proper ticket office staffed by a station master, no such luxury with modern stations. We purchased our tickets, 2 adults and a dog, and in exchange for our money, we received the old style card tickets that could be clipped by the guard. The furry one was a little put out, as his ticket was for either a dog or a bicycle, and for carriage in the luggage wagon.

Ticket Office

Once on the platform the carriages were already waiting, and at the far end, the engine, hissing and puffing away. First order of the day, was topping up the water tank.

Water tank filling

The furry one, still not happy about his relegation to the status of luggage, so we relented, and allowed him to travel in first class with us. He had to settle for the floor, as the plush seating was out of bounds.

Oscar in first class

Prior to our departure there was an opportunity to visit the footplate. The engineer and fireman were both busy making final preparations. As an interesting fact, the engine today would consume three quarters of a ton of coal, during its eight trips up and down the line. I also thought that the training to be an engineer would be fairly long, but was informed that the process can be completed in twelve months, with the right aptitude.

Footplate
Hitched and ready to go

The journey to Shenton takes about 35 minutes, with a stop at Market Bosworth on route. On arrival at Shenton we walked up to the site of the Bosworth battlefield information centre, and enjoyed a pleasant lunch in the warm sun. Returning to Shackerstone station, we visited the museum, where one of the staff shared their boiled egg lunch with Oscar.

   
Railway artefacts of a bygone age

Tomorrow we head off for services at Market Bosworth Marina, and then onto Shenton for a couple of days. Needing to enter a Marina will almost certainly guarantee some windy conditions.