|This Month's Totals and Average|
|104.84 miles||13 locks||44.21 hrs||2.67 lmph|
Although the forecast had been terrible, the weather doesn't check after the News to see what its supposed to do. A cold but dry morning greeted us and we were in no hurry, so decided to stay put after all. Had a chat with Tony & Jacqui as they moored "Timewarp" astern of us. Caught up with diary and daily maps ('plans' map still needs a little work). Gwyneth dropped by for lunch (she was working at the CRT Welcome Centre). Remained cold for the rest of the day, but we did get a couple of short spells of sun.
The forecast for today was dry and fine, if cloudy. Woke to a damp morning that had turned to drizzle before we had even got on the move! Although the drizzle cleared fairly quickly, the day remained overcast with hints of more.
Moved off fairly promptly and headed into Hinckley. Walked up to the supermarket again for emergency stores. On return, let go again and had lunch on the move so as not to be too late finishing tonight.
Continued back to Marston Junction. Met a couple of boats inbound, but generally quiet still. Turned left at the junction onto the Coventry Canal, and headed southwest. The poor day enlightened somewhat by seeing our first kingfisher of the year on the stretch between the junction and Charity Wharf. Arrived at "Sutton's Stop", noted that there was a mooring where we wanted it, but continued to the wharf for services.
After loo, water and rubbish, winded at the junction and returned to the stop we had seen earlier (nobody else had taken it in the interim) and moored for the night (possibly for tomorrow as well as the forecast is horrendous again).
|11.15 miles||0 locks||4.34 hrs||2.57 lmph|
Once again woke to rain! Admiral decided we were not getting soaked when it wasn't necessary so we staying put. Finally brightened up late afternoon, although the drizzle dribbled on.
Today's been cancelled because of rain.
Generally pottered around, a few routine chores. Held a 'Planning Meeting' to discuss revising our intentions, and have decided to head for the IWA Festival at St Neots.
Although cooler, a sunny start to the day, so moved off promptly for the half-hour trip to Sutton Wharf for services. Continued on to Stoke Golding, mooring by Bridge 23 to visit the two farm shops (Spinneybank at Bridge 23, and Tomlinson's at Bridge 25) - between them we got what we needed. After several changes of plan by the Admiral, we (she) finally elected to stay put for the night (and possibly tomorrow as the forecast is not great). Still no internet so late again with the diary (sorry).
|4.54 miles||0 locks||2.04 hrs||2.22 lmph|
Lovely sunny morning (but with a forecast of rain later) so off the boat promptly and walked up to the "Battlefield Heritage Centre" . Interesting displays, including audio-visual, about the history of the period, the battle itself, and the archeology of the site.
Just got back to "Paws" for a late lunch when the rain arrived again. Noted that someone had kindly knocked our mooring stakes back into the ground - they had obviously worked out due to boats passing too fast. Had hoped to move on after lunch but despite brief periods of sun, the rain continued most of the afternoon.
Yesterday's rain never materialised, and today dawned with 7/8 cloud cover, but fairly high cloudbase. Set off to see what transpired. Moved the fairly short distance to Shenton, by which time the cloud had thickened, the cloudbase lowered, and a light drizzle started. Decided to stop (so that we wouldn't get soaked), with the possibility of going to the battlefield tomorrow if the rain stayed away. Noted a mother duck with her brand-new brood (of 11!), proudly paddling down the middle of the cut - the ducklings scooting all over the place.
Phone signal still rubbish - managed to get the diary done, will get the maps updated as soon as I can.
|1.95 miles||0 locks||0.88 hrs||2.22 lmph|
Sun had been out since sunrise, but the forecast for later in the day was poor. On the move quickly to try to avoid getting soaked later. Left Snarestone and headed back southwards again. Passed through the tunnel and past the outskirts of Shackerstone. Cloud building and wind cooler. Very quiet on the cut today, only passed one boat the whole day (the fuel boat). Stopped as planned at Market Bosworth and walked into town for stores. Decided to stay put for the afternoon in case the weather turned. Phone signal rubbish again so updates delayed.
|6.89 miles||0 locks||2.52 hrs||2.73 lmph|
Although remaining wet underfoot, the overnight rain had cleared by morning. Got under way fairly quickly, continuing northwards, the bridges still coming thick and fast. Touched the outskirts of the villages (Market Bosworth, Congerstone, Shackerstone), but they still didn't really seem to want to get involved with the canal. Saw a reed bunting as we passed through the SSSI. As we neared Shackerstone, noted that the railway had managed to get the steam engine running today - we could only see the steam, not the engine (disappointing). Noted our first ducklings for the year. Just before Snarestone tunnel, a light drizzle started and we decided to moor up for lunch. Noted our first swallows of the year.
The drizzle didn't last long, and after lunch we moved off again towards the basin. Passed through the tunnel (it has quite an S-bend in the middle, and the tunnel-roof gets lower at the northern end). Continued the last half-mile to the current head of navigation (if you want to go further, you must be a member of the Ashby Canal Association, and the winding hole upstream is only about 50ft). We winded at the (locked) bridge, did the services and explored the Association stall (also getting ice-cream). Once ready, moved back to Bridge 61 where we moored for the night.
Phone signal better tonight so maps caught up.
|9.01 miles||0 locks||3.72 hrs||2.42 lmph|
Plans made yesterday to visit the "Battlefield Line" railway so on the move quickly on another hot sunny morning. Headed round to Bridge 35 and moored at the aqueduct. A short(ish) walk took us to Shenton station where we found that there were no steam-hauled trains on today due to a technical fault. Decided we'd still go up the 5-mile line to Shackerstone on the DMU. Nice round trip on the train, good lunch at the Victorian Tearoom. Had a wander around the small museum (collection of railway artifacts), then returned on the next train. Visited the glass-blower at Shenton station - he retires at the end of this year (2018) but his apprentice is taking on the business. Clouded over by mid-afternoon and was starting to rain by the time we got back to "Paws". Rain didn't last too long and turned into a lovely evening, but just as we were going to bed there was a heavy thunderstorm - torrential rain, thunder and lightning right overhead. Rain finally cleared well after midnight. Phone signal still very poor so updates delayed again.
|4.60 miles||0 locks||1.88 hrs||2.45 lmph|
A cloudy morning greeted us today, a slightly damp feel to the air. On the move at our normal pace, continuing up the "Moira". Seem to be a large number of great tits in this area. Beautiful views out over the farmland, with only a hint that villages might be mingled in. Cloud eventually cleared to another sunny day, but not quite as warm as the past two days. Moored at Bridge 16 in Hinckley and walked to the supermarket for necessary stores, then had lunch aboard on return.
After a leisurely lunch, continued on our way under the many accommodation bridges until we reached Bridge 23, where we moored for the day. The canal seems to barely touch the villages on its route, being just near enough for access but not letting them encroach onto the tranquillity.
Poor phone signal - no internet. Beautiful end to the day. Sat out on the afterdeck at dusk, watching bats hunting for breakfast.
|6.90 miles||0 locks||2.88 hrs||2.40 lmph|
Another lovely sunny morning. Took our time this morning as plans had been made to meet friends for afternoon coffee, and we only had a short run to do. Routine chores first thing, then reversed "Paws" back to the services berth for water, loo and rubbish.
Once finished, moved off northwards. Shortly after departure, saw a water vole swimming to its burrow in the banking. Returned to Marston Junction, about an hour, where we turned right onto the Ashby Canal (usually known as the "Moira Cut" as it originally terminated at the town of Moira where there was a blast furnace for smelting iron). This is new territory for us, never been this direction before. For today, went about 1.5 miles and moored at Bulkington by Bridge 5. So far, well wide enough and deep enough, and very pleasant rural surroundings.
Contacted Stephen & Gwyneth, as arranged, and they joined us for coffee late afternoon. Great to have their company and to catch up.
|4.35 miles||0 locks||1.99 hrs||2.18 lmph|
Beautiful morning! Looks like spring might have arrived (if only for a week). Let go promptly and headed towards Coventry basin. Noted that a lot of work on the offside vegetation had been done since we were last this direction. Also noted the amount of house-building carried out. Didn't meet any boats coming out of Coventry on the run down, and found only one space available. It is disappointing that CRT has allowed a hire-firm to take half of the basin for its fleet, reducing the number of visitor berths by half.
Visited the "Teddy & Dolls' House" shop in Spon Street - last time we were here Tina wasn't too well, but nice to hear she is now over the problem. Spent over an hour chatting, so running late for lunch. After lunch, had a walk round the market, including a long chat at the coffee stall, then went over to Ikea to see if they had a solution to a problem. Now running well behind time, returned to "Paws".
Let go for the return trip to "Sutton's" mid-afternoon, meeting a couple of boats coming south - they should have got in as two berths were left when we left. Day had remained sunny and hot, a great change from the spring we've had so far. Arrived back at "Sutton's" late for dinner so didn't get this diary written until the following morning.
|11.57 miles||0 locks||4.41 hrs||2.62 lmph|
Wind had increased further overnight, so quite cool with the windchill. Dull and overcast. Set off around 09:30, passing the CRT yard on the way towards Nuneaton. Quite a bit of birdlife out today, with goldfinches sighted along with the usual suspects. Despite the cool wind, several people out tending the allotments canalside in Nuneaton. Usual 'chaos' at the Star Line yard, with barely room to squeeze through, the wind making it even more difficult. Eventually moored at the north end of the moorings at Hawksbury for a late lunch inside in the warm.
Mid-afternoon, we noted "Josephine" passing - turned out to be Helen from IWA Lichfield with her crew-companion, Madeleine, on their way to Cavalcade in London. They moored ahead of us and came aboard for coffee and a chat. Great to see them - we wish them a good trip south, then on to Oxford afterwards. By the time they left, a light drizzle had started.
|8.54 miles||0 locks||3.09 hrs||2.76 lmph|
Sun back out again this morning, although the wind was stronger and just as cool. On the move promptly, continuing for Atherstone. An hour on the road and we started up the Atherstone Flight. Fairly quiet. Surprised to find CRT staff on Lock 7 (they usually only work the top 5), but grateful for the assistance nevertheless. Chatted to one of the lockies who was interested in the work of the Merchant Navy Association . Eventually moored in the pound above Lock 6 and walked into town.
Lunch (as usual) at "The Larder" which serves wartime-based food in an atmosphere from the 1940's. Dropped into the wool shop (as usual) to top up stores for Pat's knitting for charity. Did a small amount of shopping on the way back to .
Resumed our passage up the flight at 14:00, expecting CRT staff to be back from their lunchbreak, but no sign of them until we reached Lock 2. Steady run up the flight with a couple of boats coming down. Approaching Lock 1, we realised that a friend from BCF was out assisting, so had a chat with Stephen as we ascended. Crossed over to the services point on clearing the lock.
Resumed again once we had done the 'necessaries', heading for the Cherry Tree Farm area. Eventually plumped for the visitor mooring to the west of Bridge 32, at the CRT yard at Hartshill. Cloud had been slowly building during the afternoon, with no abating of the wind.
Contacted Stephen & Gwyneth after we'd moored and arranged to meet them on 'The Moira' on Thursday.
|5.49 miles||11 locks||3.87 hrs||4.26 lmph|
Forecast was for rain most of the day, so decided to stay put (rather than tackle the Atherstone flight in the rain). Greeted this morning by a yellowhammer sitting on the hedge next to the boat. After a bright but misty start, the rain finally arrived just before lunch, a little later than expected. Pottered about for the day. A lot more traffic today in both directions. The drizzle continued through to dinnertime. After a heavy shower, it finally cleared to a lovely evening, although the wind was rising slightly.
Beautiful sunny morning, so on the go quickly. Topped up water and dumped the rubbish, and were just ready to move over to services berth when a visiting boat pulled into the marina, so had to wait for her to finish. Once she was away, moved across and took fuel and gas, did both loo cassettes, and paid the electricity bill - all ready to go!
Cleared the marina around 10:30 and headed for the Junction. Had a brief chat with David as we passed their house. At the Junction, turned right onto the Coventry Canal and headed through Kettlebridge and up the two locks at Glascote - great to be on the move again with no fixed return time. Sun warm on our skin as we continued through Amington, eating lunch on the move. Noted a lot of the trees were now showing the start of blossom. Very quiet on the cut - apart from one boat just after we departed, not another moving boat seen all day! Continued through Alvecote and Polesworth, deciding to moor just before Bridge 50, a mooring we have used many times before.
|7.29 miles||2 locks||3.30 hrs||2.81 lmph|
Rain continued through Thursday morning, easing after lunch. Stores and routine chores in preparation for departure.
Very heavy rain overnight finally died out over lunch and the sky brightened. Everything ready to leave in the morning.
Good run north on Sunday to the house, although dull. Stopped off for coffee with Fhi & Nick as we passed.
Having collected a few things at the house, relocated to the Premier Inn hotel at Prestwick airport on Monday afternoon. Dull most of the day, but turning brighter in the evening.
Funeral Mass on Tuesday at St Quivox RC Church in Prestwick, followed by cremation at Masonhill. Great to see the family again, hopefully we can meet up later in the year under better circumstances. Rain arrived by lunchtime, but cleared again by evening.
Returned south Wednesday. Dull, misty start, a few bright spells during the day, but returning to dampness by evening.
The promised rain arrived over breakfast, so good we came in yesterday. Quiet day generally, pottering around, and preparing for the trip north for the funeral.
Mostly quiet night, silence almost deafening - no trains, cars, or other noise. Woken, however, at around one-thirty, by a fox barking outside our windows! Day broke considerably cloudier than yesterday, and with a rising wind. Heard a woodpecker tapping a tree nearby during the dawn chorus. Also amongst it, there was a bird song that I didn't recognise. Took our time getting on the go, then moved through the swing-bridge and winded at the junction. Returning back through the bridge, we headed back towards base, retracing yesterday's trip expecting to stop for the night at Hopwas. Stopped just after midday in Whittington for lunch, and to warm up (starting to feel quite chilly).
After lunch, got on the move again and continued towards Fazeley. Sun managed to get through in places during the afternoon, but it never got to the heat of yesterday (jackets and gloves required instead of sweatshirts). Approaching Hopwas, reviewed the forecast and in view of possible heavy rain tomorrow, Admiral decided to return to base tonight. Continued for Fazeley Junction, noted that John & Jan were away, and put "Paws" back on her berth until we return after the funeral.
|11.43 miles||0 locks||4.87 hrs||2.35 lmph|
Beautiful morning, with wall-to-wall sunshine. Last minute checks (catering had to go out for something forgotten). Finally on the move mid-morning - great to be out again. Headed to the Junction and turned left for Fradley (Admiral had decided that was the way to go). Waved to John & Jan as we passed "Jubilee" at their over-winter mooring with David & Mary.
Very few boats until after lunch, suspect the sudden rush at that point may have been those moored overnight at Fradley. Noted that the trees were well in bud, with quite a few starting to burst. Birds were plentiful (this is the best time of year to see them in the trees (fewer leaves hiding them)), singing their hearts out. Sun warm on our backs for the whole day, little wind. Had lunch on the move in the vicinity of Hopwas (our intended mooring on the way back tomorrow). Reached Streethay faster than we expected, and decided to continue to Fradley. Quick greetings to Eric (IWA Lichfield Branch) as we passed their house in Whittington. Noted there had been a lot of cutting-back of vegetation since we were last up this way - trees pruned and reeds cut.
Arrived at Fradley mid-afternoon, moored before the swing-bridge, and went for a walk. Posted letters, but the CRT office was closed (hours only 10:00-14:00). Helped a boat down a couple of locks, then sauntered back to "Paws" for the evening.
|11.13 miles||0 locks||4.41 hrs||2.52 lmph|
Word arrived this afternoon that a relation of Pat's had passed away on Saturday morning. The funeral is Tuesday next week, so we will be heading back north for it. Plans for departure for the summer put on hold again until we return (but going out for a couple of days locally in the interim).
Happy Easter to all our readers. The new month dawned bright and sunny, but with a forecast of heavy rain, possibly snow. Admiral decided we weren't going anywhere until rain moderates, so I continued with map work - completed backdating 2014 tracks and started 2015 tracks under new system, as well as adding a couple more derelict canals.
Trip to the local garden centre for herb plants on Monday. Routine shopping and chores.
Looks like there is to be a weather window from Thursday to the weekend, so tentative departure planned.