Friday, 9 September 2016

Quieter Day on the Canal - Friday 9th Sept

This morning we motored on towards Hillmorton and between Falls Bridge and Newbold we came across C & RT excavating an old brick drainage ditch which runs at the bottom of the cutting adjacent to the towpath. It will make a big difference to the dryness of the towpath through the cutting which rarely dries out as it is in the shade nost of the day.IMG_8030

Its a great shame that all the lights have now gone out in Newbold as it was a lovely feature of the North Oxford Canal.A1

Approaching Brownsover you can now look down onto the multi coloured back of the Elliot's Field Shopping complex which always seems very busy with shoppers and is in an ideal location for the passing boaters.IMG_8038

Much to our surprise there was plenty of mooring at Brownsover (Rugby) on both sides even though for some strange reason the Water Tap has been moved from the other side of Masters Bridge and placed in the centre of the mooring on the park side which is always a favourite of boaters. Temporary signs have now been placed in position on the grass to denote the water point mooring.a2

Clifton Wharf was very busy with moored hire boats as it is their main changeover day and on the other side of Bridge 66 it is such a shame to see what used to be beautifully kept and much admired allotments have fallen into disuse and are all overgrown.IMG_8037

Presumably this is because of the ground works which are being undertaken along the stretch of canal up to Hillmorton for the new housing on the old Radio Station site.


The mooring at Hillmorton was almost empty and so we could pick our spot. After lunch the wind picked up and became very strong and gusty with the occasional brief shower.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Beautiful Evening Sky - Thursday 8th Sept

Strange weather today, first light rain, then lovely sunshine, followed by a strong breeze and finally in the evening the wind died to a dead calm and the sunset created a lovely sky.




Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Another Busy Day - Wednesday 7th Sept

We had another late start for us and headed down to Sutton Stop Lock having passed several boats going in the opposite direction and when we arrived there were a few mooring places which had been vacated.


A boat had just come through the lock and another was just entering so we had to wait a few minutes before we could go through and wind in front of the Greyhound Pub. By this time there were another two boats in front of us. We were going up the Ashby canal but as we were told the Shackerstone Festival and just finished and the canal was very busy and having experienced it a few years ago we decided to turn around and head back the other way.




Just passed Tusses Bridge we were met two chuggers, one towing butty Gosport, all looking very smart in deed.


We met lots more boats on route and at Ansty encountered four boats as we negotiated the bend and moored boats just beyond the bridge where the canal is very narrow.

We stopped for lunch near to Bridge 26 and on the other side is this nice mooring, the cutting made a few years ago.


As we had to pass our marina we decided to call in and stop the night there.

After meeting Guide Dog Oakley at the Crick show some years back it is nice to see that he is still enjoying life working with Tracy on their narrow boat and we follow his exploits on their bog.

Busy Busy Canal–Tuesday 6th Sept

We had a late start this morning leaving the marina at 9.00 am and turned out onto the canal into a line of 4 boats. We thought we were on the M6 as we headed towards All Oaks Wood as so many boats were passing us going in the opposite direction.

At Stretton Stop we negotiated the swing bridge which connects the two parts of Rose Narrow Boats yard and motored down the lines of moored hire and private boats.


The canal from Nettle Hill to Squires Bridge was really murky and smelly, as a result of the boat traffic stirring up the sludge from the bottom. When we had come through on our spring trip the water had been crystal clear. We stopped in Ansty near to the bridge for Zola to spend and were passed in a couple of minutes by two boats.

We continued on under the M69 meeting boats at all the narrow stretches and unsighted bridge holes and moored up for lunch around mid-day. A couple of boats told us that they had had to wait in a long queue at the lock at Hawkesbury Junction so as the weather was nice we decided to stay where we were and pick Blackberry’s for tomorrows crumble.

The afternoon was even busier than the morning and I wondered where everybody who was travelling late would find a place to moor.

Monday, 5 September 2016

September Short Cruise - Monday 5th September

We arrived at the marina just around noon and after unloading the car we went off to Rugby for some lunch and provisions. The evening sunshine is lovely and the weather is very warm forecast at 18 degrees over night.


Our new pup Zola has taken to boating life like an old sea dog and made herself at home on the boat finding a nice secure place under the dinette to sleep.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Brinklow at Last - Wednesday 15th June

This morning we crept quietly off the mooring in Brownsover to avoid waking the other sleeping boaters as it was only 6.00 am and we wanted to get back to the marina before the forecasted rain later in the day.

The Brownsover mooring was full on both sides of the bridge as were the moorings at Newbold. The poor weather yesterday afternoon had obviously decided both privateers and hirers to put down their pins for the day. It was reported on the TV news that Rugby had had floods and a funnel cloud but we had not seen anything like that sort of rain, a couple of heavy showers but that was all. My sister who lives near Warwick reported that they had had 2 inches of rain yesterday so we were very lucky.

It was only an hours trip back to the marina and we did not meet any other boats on the move and all was quiet as we reversed onto our pontoon. We quickly packed up the car and did the necessary maintenance jobs on the boat before Autumn Years arrived for a pump out and to say our last farewells. It has been a great 8 weeks and we will miss Graham and Carolann dearly.


We waved off Autumn Years as they exited the marina and after an early lunch and chat to nearby boaters closed down the boat and wended our way home.

No sooner had we left the marina than the heavens opened and we had heavy rain all the way home where it stopped as we turned into our drive. Carolann told us later that they had stopped travelling because of the rain and it had not stopped all afternoon, so a wise choice on our part.

In the 8 weeks we have been away we have hardly encountered any rain and it has certainly not stopped us doing anything. We seemed to have just been in the right place at the right time.

Cruise Stats:

Total Distance                   455 miles, 7½ furlongs

Total Locks                        255 locks

Total Moveable Bridges      62 of which 6 are usually left open;

Total Small Aqueducts      117

Total Major Aqueducts       4

Total Tunnels                    11  which meant travelling 13219 yds underground                     

We travelled:-

144 miles, 7½ furlongs of narrow canals

172 miles, 3¼ furlongs of broad canals

32 miles, 2½ furlongs of commercial waterways

32 miles, 5 furlongs of small rivers

28 miles, 7½ furlongs of large rivers

44 miles, 5¾ furlongs of tidal rivers

93 narrow locks

143 broad locks

19 large locks

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Homeward Stretch - Tuesday 14th June

This morning we left a little later than usual hoping to reach Brinklow before the forecast rain set in. Just passed Willoughby Wharf this canoeist had camped over night covering his canoe with a canvas cover.


At Onley there was only one boat moored when it is usually full; perhaps it could have something to do with the fact that there is now heavy plant and equipment digging out the new Barby Pools Marina. The marina layout is to take the form of a ‘clover leaf’ with a small Central Pool at its heart. This Central Pool will act as a formal water piazza for the public buildings and as a focus for the canal entrance to the marina. Three further Pools will provide secure (non residential) moorings for boats. Together the pools are proposed to provide 550 berths. I am not sure where all the boats will come from and if they do manage to fill it then Hillmorton Locks will not just be the busiest on the network but they could well be over loaded.


At the newly renovated Bridge 80 somebody has already taken a large chunk out of the archway presumably hitting it with a boat.

Down the Barby Straight there is a 90 foot mooring for sale at £90,000 with water but not electric laid on. I don’t know what the going rate for such moorings is but it seemed a bit steep to me particularly as the Barby Marina is right behind it.Barby Straight

We stopped at Hillmorton Wharf for diesel which was 60p/ltr but a notice on the door says it now closes on a Monday and Tuesday until further notice. Not sure what has happened there.

We carried on and went down the locks which were busy with boats coming up.

All along the canal to Clifton Wharf there are ground works going on which looks as though they are bringing in a water supply for the new development at The Rugby Radio Station Mast Site. The area will consist of more than 6,000 homes and developer is to provide access to the northern side via the A5 and access to the southern side via the A428 Crick Road. Eventually the site will have a population of around 15,000.

We stopped at Clifton Wharf for diesel at 75p/ltr and for the first time I can remember there was lots of room to moor at the wharf side. Last time we were there  for lunch at Bridge 66 cafe they were just working on a steam boat they had acquired and I believe when it is finished they will be offering steam boat experiences.

clifton wharf

We moved on and moored up at Brownsover so that we could go and have lunch at the M & S store at the new Elliot Fields Shopping Centre which houses stores like M & S, Next, T K Max, Debenhams etc. It is a very busy shopping centre now and just a short stroll from the canal. They have moved the water point from by the foot bridge to the centre of the park side mooring which seems strange and as yet they have not altered the 24 hour mooring sign; stranger still is that that it is the old type of point rather than the new stainless steel version.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Back on the North Oxford - Monday 13th June

This morning we left Crick and motored through the tunnel which although straight was quite wet in parts. We arrived at the top of the Watford Flight of 7 locks and moored up for a coffee as we waited for a single boat to come. In the background can be seen the M1 motorway bridge.IMG_7961

Just had time to finish the coffee and then we were off down the flight with a Husband and Wife team of Volunteer Lock Keepers lending a hand.IMG_7958

As we reached the bottom lock a boat had come up and was waiting in the first short pound. Its name was Niblic and the owner was a golfer hence the name. As his wife said it takes one to know one.


Just below the locks we went under the main line railway bridge and it is at this point that Rail, Canal and M1 all pass within a couple of hundred yards of one another.IMG_7964

The section of the canal down to Norton Junction is narrow and very shallow but soon we were turning onto the Grand Union main line which is much wider and deeper.IMG_7966

As we headed for Braunston Tunnel  we saw this lovely display of wild poppies in the adjacent fields.


We waited for two boats to exit the tunnel then went in passing another two on route. Although it is over a mile long it is reasonably straight and dry and the other end can be seen.


At the top of the Braunston Lock Flight we caught up with another boat and followed them down passing the Admiral Nelson Pub next to lock 3. Last time we went up the flight somebody had drained the pound next to the pub and the moored boats were leaning on their ropes.IMG_7972

A little further down is the Crooked Cottage.


We moored up at the bottom near to the marina entrance and after some lunch went up into the village to do some shopping.

Afterwards we moved on to moor up for the night out in the country. Just after we moored June’s brother phoned to say that they were in Braunston and where were we. They walked out to us and joined us for afternoon tea and cakes.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

First Trip in the Rain - Sunday 12th June

This morning started dry but after a short while it started to mizzle and then a couple of heavy showers, necessitating putting up the umbrella, but dried up later in the afternoon. It was a fairly uneventful trip passing quite a few boats both moored and on the move presumably because it is the weekend and there are a couple of large marinas on this summit pound.

We moored up in Crick and I went and booked a table for Sunday Lunch at The Mooring Restaurant next to Bridge 12.

They were expecting a large party in at 13.00 hrs so we decided to eat early at 12.30 and had a very good meal served by excellent staff.

A lazy afternoon and then tea and scones to celebrate the Queens birthday on board Autumn Years.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Foxton Staircase - Saturday 11th June

This morning Wendy and Mark joined us for the trip up the Foxton Staircase Locks so when they arrived I went up and found the Lock Keeper to book us in. There were only our two boats going up and one to come down so Autumn Years went first and we followed with the boat coming down having to wait for us in the middle where there is a small pound.

Here at the bottom of the locks, to the left is the Market Harborough Arm and next to it the entrance to where the Inclined Plane would have operated in days gone by. The entrance to the first lock has a pub on either side but hopefully nobody will be drunk when they go up.f1

Autumn Years can just be seen through the lock gate going up in the lock in front of us. In a  Staircase flight the bottom gate of the one lock is the top gate of the one below.


June, Wendy and Mark are operating the locks remembering the import nmuemonic “Red before White and you are all right” and “White before Red and your Dead” being the order to open the paddles otherwise the water will not be used correctly from the side pounds.f2

We moored up at the top lock and went for a cooked breakfast at the café which was enjoyed by us all.

Opposite our mooring this signet was cuddling up to its mom on the nest. It was very small so must have been only a few days old. No this is not our horse power but a model of the horse which would have been used in days gone by.f3

After our breakfast we motored 5 miles to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel where Mark and Wendy left us to walk back to their car at Foxton. We continued on to Welford Junction where we moored up for the day and watched this plane towing up the gliders throughout the afternoon.  The Marina at North Kilworth at last looks as though some progress is being made with shuttering going in around the edges.


After lunch I walked down the arm to Welford where the towpath is diverted around the back of the marina to allow them to gain access to the canal.20160611_162510

At the end of the arm I found the Micron Theatre Boat moored next to the Cheese Boat. I am not sure where they were performing today.20160611_163221

I then went up to the Welford Reservoir which feeds the arm and took a short stroll around it. There were some nice views of the village and the surrounding countryside from the dam.20160611_164814

Friday, 10 June 2016

Narrow Broad Canal - Friday 10th June

We made an early start again today with the canal changing character once again. All along the sides are lovely large clumps of yellow Iris which make a great show.IMG_7935

Although  most of the locks were against us we made good progress the girls having got into a good routine and soon we were passing the Medieval Village of Wystowe which used to be roughly where this church now stands.IMG_7937

At Taylors Turnover Lock this horse and very tiny pony were grazing and in the field next to the lock was this a Marque which looked as though it was being set up for a wedding reception tomorrow.d1

Approaching Saddington Tunnel the canal got narrower and narrower and out the other side it continued to be narrow with 75% of the canal being taken over by reeds on one sharp bend. I believe the stretch of canal up to Debdale Wharf is designated an SSSI and therefore navigation takes second place.d2

We moored up at Foxton about lunchtime and the Foxton Locks Inn had a Jazz Band playing through the lunch service so we had music whilst we ate our delicious sausage baps from the café at the top of the locks.


After lunch we walked around the village of Foxton which is a little way down the arm and has lovely houses including this one just below the church which overlooked the valley.


Our walk took us back up Swingbridge Street to the top of the locks where we indulged in one of the cafes local ice-creams. On the way down the locks we spotted on a boat going up this article which we had seen floating in the canal at Kilby Bridge. We had thought that they were drums or flower pots but were informed by the boater that they were the replica containers that the Indian people use to send off the ashes of their dearly departed. He assured us that this one was empty.20160610_151953

Returning to the boat Jo and John and there granddaughter were visiting Autumn Years and we joined them for afternoon tea and a chat.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

What Chains - Thursday 9th June

All along the navigation through Leicester are these chains strung along the towpath wall. Searching the internet has not thrown up any reason why they should be there.


We made an early start before the day got too hot and were soon passing this tower block which had  letters in each landing window spelling Leicester Champions down from the top. In fact all along our travels for the last couple of days there have been Leicester Flags and bunting out on many properties backing on to the river.IMG_7926

Then at Freemans lock we passed the City Football Ground.IMG_7927

The river is getting narrower and windier by the mile and more difficult to see boats coming the other way although we did not encounter any until Whetstone Lock when there were 4 boats coming down.IMG_7930

The water is crystal clear on this stretch and there were hundreds of shoals of fish of all sizes.IMG_7931

Passing Blaby we could see the mill across the fields which was powered by the River Sence.


We moored up at Kilby Bridge just after mid day before it had got too hot.

Later we went to the Navigation pub by the side of the bridge for a meal.