So having secured a partner to ascend Hatton Locks, this morning we had a leisurely start. Following breakfast we dumped some rubbish, and settled our bill with the Saltisford Arm Trust. At 10.15 we departed the Arm, closely followed by nb. Joss from Braunston. We began the ascent at 10.30, and decided that one crew would operate the Lock the boats were in, and the other would walk ahead to set the next lock.

Still a fair way to go
Looking back at what we had done

As expected on a warm and sunny bank holiday Monday, there were many Gongoozerlers out and about, watching the action. As we ascended the Top Lock we said goodbye to our Lock partners, we were stopping for refreshments, they were carrying on. It was now 14.00, the ascent had taken 3 and a half hours. We tied up on the rings, and had a late lunch at the cafe. The mooring at the top of the flight is heavily wooded, and having just washed a ton of tree sap off the boat, I did not want to remain under the trees for too long. Using a combination of the Nicholsons and Pearsons guide books, and Google Earth, we had identified a suitable spot, a couple of miles away. So once again we set off, soon passing through Shrewley Tunnel, with its unusual towpath Tunnel above.

Shrewley Tunnel and towpath tunnel, 433 yds

Rounding a couple of more bends, we arrived at our intended spot. There were some boats moored, but also plenty of room left for us. We picked a spot on the open embankment, with good views across the countryside.

Mooring at Rowington

Not an official mooring spot, and with no piling to attach our mooring chains, out came the pins, for the first time this year.

The views from our side hatches

We think we will probably move on tomorrow, but in the morning we may have seized up, so may be not. This is a nice quite spot, if we decide to stay put. We are now just over a mile away from the link between the Grand Union Canal, which continues north to Birmingham, and the Stratford on Avon Canal, which is the way we are planning to go.

Totals 5 Miles 21 Locks 1 Tunnel

Running total 34 Miles 59 Locks 3 Tunnels

Warwick (part 2)

So during our stay in the Saltisford Arm, we have taken the opportunity to visit a few places of interest. On Wednesday we took four legs for his walk, and decided to have a look at the Hatton flight of locks, 21 wide locks, stretching over a distance of two miles. It was a warm sunny day, and the weather for the next week is forecast to get even better. Located by the top lock is a cafe, and as it was lunchtime we thought we’d try it out. I had a lock keepers lunch, aka a ploughmans. It was very good. The pork pie was very tasty, and the mature cheddar cheese and pickles plentiful. Walking back was much easier, downhill all the way.

Part of the Hatton flight

Thursday was a fairly lazy day, although the crew did go shopping, to top up on some fresh supplies. Then on Good Friday, we walked into Warwick to visit the castle. In addition to the castle, we also had a talk about their Trebuchet, normally working but sadly not at present, due to a fractured throwing arm. Following that, a display of birds of prey, this was definitely the highlight of the day. We then had a snack lunch, before finishing with a tour of the dungeons, complete with ghoulish actors.

Warwick Castle is a pricey day out, but you can save a bit, by booking in advance online. Saturday we wandered back into Warwick, this time to visit Lord Leycester Hospital. A very attractive timber framed building approaching 900 years old. It has since at least Elizabethan times, been used to provide support accommodation to ex-service personnel, something that continues today. Currently six are in residence, and they perform various duties, in exchange for their grace and favour accommodation. For history buffs, this beats Warwick Castle. The kitchen doubles as a cafe, and has been in constant use for 500 hundred years, so patrons today, are continuing a long standing tradition. The food produced was of an excellent standard, and the salad was one of the best I’ve had.

Today, Easter Sunday, we headed off for Sunday lunch, at the Cape of Good Hope P.H next to Cape Locks. We had been told the food here was very good, and we were not disappointed. On the way back to the boat, we met another crew also moored in the Arm. During a chat it became apparent, they are also departing tomorrow. We now have locking partners for the Hatton flight. Our stay in the Saltisford Arm has been pleasant. The only issue is the tree cover, which has resulted in copious amounts of sap, dripping onto the boat. There was nothing for it, once lunch had been digested, out came the bucket and sponge.

Warwick (Saltisford Arm)

Today our destination was Warwick. The weather reports were forecasting showers later in the day, so by 9am we were underway. We navigated through the final Fosse Lock, and then shortly after, Radford Bottom Lock. We had a brief period of cruising in the countryside, then we were into the outskirts of Royal Leamington Spa. You could tell we were moving from a rural, to a more urban environment, due to the increase in graffiti. However on closer inspection, the graffiti on the run into Leamington Spa, was of an altogether better class than your usual graffiti. It was in fact, some very clever and detailed art work. First we passed through an area of light industry, then housing and finally a retail area. Soon we were crossing an aquaduct over the river Avon, leaving Leamington Spa behind, and entering Warwick. The river Avon is not navigable at this point, but we intend to join it, in Stratford upon Avon in a few weeks. At the hire boat base for Kate Boats, next to bridge 49, we stopped for a pumpout. We could have done with a top up of diesel, but they don’t sell it to the public, despite what the Nicholson’s guide book says, due to the paperwork that needs completing. We now had two more locks to complete, and as a indication of things to come, the direction of travel has changed. Instead of descending, we are now ascending.

Navigating through Cape Locks

Above the top lock, we passed by the Cape of Good Hope, a canalside pub, with a good reputation for its food and ales. I’m sure we will visit it for ourselves, during our stay in Warwick. A few hundred yards further on, we arrived at the junction with the Saltisford Arm. A sharp left turn into the arm, and we manoeuvred to the winding hole. It was lunchtime and no one was around to direct us, so we reversed a bit further along the arm and squeezed our 60 foot boat, into a 61 foot gap.

Moored in the Saltisford Arm, Warwick

After lunch we checked in, and fortunately did not have to move. There are a full range of facilities here, including an electric point, so now we are plugged into the mains once again, for a few days at least. Unfortunately the trees to the left in the photo above, block the signal to the satellite dish. We do however have a strong 4G signal, so TV will be streamed for the next few days. Thank goodness for the unlimited data usage on our mobile phones.

Totals 6 Miles 4 Locks

Running total 29 Miles 38 Locks 2 Tunnels