Shackerstone

Knowing fine weather was forecast for the next week or so, and it being a Bank Holiday Weekend, we expected it to get busy on the canal. With this in mind, we decided we wanted to be settled in our chosen spot well before the chaos ensued. We were also approaching the end of our 48 hour limit at Snarestone, although, we could have taken a mooring just beyond the small footbridge for a further seven days, being members of the Ashby Canal Association. So, on Thursday 3/5. we slipped our lines at about 9 am, and moved up to the water point. We had a nearly empty tank, so even with a fast filling tap, it would still take forty minutes or so to fill up. We said our goodbyes to the staff at the Wharf and winded, just as the first of two boats arrived. Back through the crooked tunnel, and then on towards Shackerstone, about three miles away. The sun was up and there was a gentle breeze so it felt warm even by mid morning. Not wanting to end our cruise too soon, we chugged along just above tickover, taking nearly two hours to cover the three miles. We passed beyond our usual spot, this time opting to moor opposite the festival field. This side of Shackerstone is much quieter with foot traffic on the towpath, it seems. On Friday 4/5. we walked four legs to Congerstone, to visit the Horse and Jockey PH for lunch. Today, Saturday 5/5. the glorious weather arrived. On waking there was not a cloud in the sky, and it has remained that way virtually all day. After our morning walk, we wandered up to the railway station to see the steam train which is running this weekend, and also to take lunch in the station tearoom.

  
Mooring at Shackerstone

This afternoon it was time to tackle some of the more onerous tasks, polishing the mushroom vents. The portholes have already been done, but the mushrooms hadn’t been touched since last summer, and to say they were heavily tarnished would be an understatement. In circumstances like this, Google is your friend. I googled tarnished brass and got a multitude of results. One however caught my eye, as it had pictures to support its descriptions. To cut along story short, the web page had conducted many tests on tarnished brass, with various substances. The overall winner for ease of application, and the lack of elbow grease required, was tomato ketchup. I half imagined an individual somewhere in the world, laughing his head off, at the prospect of dozens of people smearing their brass with ketchup. Anyway, hating the task enough to try anything, here is the result of a small test area.

Patch test

I was amazed, a small dollop, left for ten minutes then wiped off. It really was that easy. Next was to tackle a whole mushroom.

Before tomato ketchup
After ketchup applied

  As can be seen above, a mere ten minutes of ketchup with no rubbing required, most of the tarnish has been removed and it is now ready for finishing with Brasso. Credit to https://www.littlehouseonthecorner.com/ultimate-guide-how-to-clean-brass/

The finished result

It was in fact so easy, that the whole process from the initial application of the ketchup, to the final buffing of the last of five vents, took no more than half an hour, including the ten minutes of doing nothing, with very little exertion. What is even better is, it does not have to be premium Heinz tomato ketchup either, this was done with Tesco own brand. One member of the crew thought even this amount of work unnecessary, and found himself a nice shady spot in the grass to watch the proceedings.

Oscar being lazy

Now all that is left to polish is the Houdini hatch and the fairleads. Just one final benefit of this glorious weather is the amount of power we now generate from our solar panel. Today we achieved 100 amp hours for the first time this year, which is approximately two thirds of our daily consumption, and its free.

  • Totals Thursday 3/5. 3 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total 82 Miles 19 Locks 5 Tunnels 

Snarestone

Following our roast dinner at the Rising Sun PH on Sunday, we had another wet day to endure on Monday, although we did manage to give four legs a walk into Shackerstone before the rain arrived. Tuesday 1/5. the weather finally turned, and got to see the sun once again. We set off after breakfast for the end of the canal, a little over four miles away. As we passed through Shackerstone, we noted that there were not many boats visiting, and so it would be at Snarestone as well. We trundled along at just above tickover in the warm sun, the wind however, was still biting.

Cruising towards Snarestone Tunnel

  The tunnel at Snarestone is fairly short but very crooked, and as such only single way working is permitted. We approached slowly, as it is not until the final few yards prior to the entrance, before you can see through to the other side. It was all clear so in we went, remembering to duck as we proceeded, due to the roof lowering towards the northern end. 

   
Cruising the final section beyond the tunnel

Once beyond the final bridge, we found the mooring empty so had our choice of spot. Several boats did arrive after us, but did not stop long, so we have had the place to ourselves.

                        

   
Mooring at Snarestone

We are moored about 50 yards from the winding hole at the end of the canal. There is a Wharf here run by the Ashby Canal Association, and beyond the winding hole is a newly restored section of canal. We disposed of some rubbish, and popped into the association office for a catch up. Last year we took out membership, and we have since updated this to become life members of the association. The next major project in the restoration, is to build an aqueduct over Gilwiskaw Brook, which is hoped to be commenced this year. Once that is done there is only the small matter of two miles of canal to reinstate, some of which, is having to take a new route to that of the original cut. I was told that they hope to be in Measham in about five years. Today we wandered off to the Globe PH for lunch. I had the steak and ale pie, with proper shortcrust pastry. I can definitely recommend it. Our plan tomorrow is to fill the water tank, wind, and head back to Shackerstone settling for the Bank Holiday Weekend. We expect it may get busy as some fine weather is forecast.

  • Totals Tuesday 1/5. 4 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  • Running total          79 Miles 19 Locks 4 Tunnels