Wednesday, 2 October 2013

The Last Climb – Wednesday 2nd October 2013

We had expected to awake to heavy rain but once again the weather forecast was wrong and it was dry so we made an early start towards the Atherstone flight of locks. We passed, at Grendon Dock, the old working boat Jaguar which looked in real good shape although the butty behind it needed some proper TLC.
4176 Boats
We soon caught a couple of hire boats going up the locks in front of us, one was Nb. Susan, crewed by some Americans, which we had hired the year we decided to buy our own boat. June went ahead to help the Viking Afloat boat in front as they were a little slow and by this time we had another two boats coming up behind us.
We were surprised to see the boatyard at Baddesley Basin appeared to have closed and diesel and pump outs were no longer available. The shed was just its skeleton steelwork and the signs had gone. However on the plus side the embankment on the opposite side has been rebuilt and looks very smart.
Boat yard
At lock 6 next to Kings Head Bridge there is an operating side pond although the volunteer lock keepers we met further up the flight said that they had been instructed not to use it. Great shame as the flight is very busy at present and it would help save precious water, particularly if the others could be brought back into use.
Once we reached lock 5 we met boats coming down every lock, including the coal boat, and after completion of the flight we moored up a short way through Atherstone.  We have seen more boats on the canal today than we have seen all year, it was that busy. Even the moorings in Atherstone only had one space left, on our last visit there was not a boat in sight.
After lunch I walked back into Atherstone for the paper and a few treats and noticed that the Barge and Bridge Pub has closed, yet another canal side pub bites the dust.
I walked down to the Co-op Supermarket and outside they have a stone feature created by Michael Disley showing an adult and child reaching for a ball in the Atherstone Ball Game an event which has taken place on Shrove Tuesday for over 800 years. Both figures wear hats to represent the towns place in the hatting and felt industry. The child stands on a pile of books to reflect the towns status as a place of learning since the 16th century.
Atherstone Ball game
We spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the lovely weather.

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