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Exploring the Ashby

The forecast is showing good clear weather for Saturday and light rain for Sunday. We decide that we will go to the end of the Ashby canal today and back tomorrow, stopping overnight in either Snarestone at the top of the canal or Shackerstone on the way back. We go to the marina for 8am and while I check the water and oil, switch on the immersion heater and set the fire, Sue cooks us up a delicious cooked breakfast. At 9am we chug out of the marina and head in a north easterly direction towards the top of the Ashby. We have gone partially in this direction twice before, but never all the way. The canal passes between a Tesco distribution centre and the Triumph motorcycle factory before it is bounded on both sides by open countryside. After bridge 21 there are a number of boats in a private mooring, the first turning point is just after bridge 22, only 45 minutes from the marina. The next time we see boats is soon after when we encounter the home of the Ashby boat company with its hire fleet, resplendent in its red and cream livery. On to Sutton Cheney wharf with the Bosworth battlefield on the right hand side of the canal. The tea is flowing well until we reach Market Bosworth, when at midday it seems fitting with the sun firmly over the yard-arm to have a glass of wine. Do narrowboats have yard-arms? Of course not but it seems like a good excuse. All too soon we reach Shackerstone where the canal crosses a river and brushes close to the preserved Battlefield Line Railway. We reckon that it will be about another hour before we reach the end of the canal at Snarestone. We pass some more private moorings just outside Shackerstone including one with a sign on the bank proclaiming that it belongs to PhoenixIII. Was this a previous mooring for our boat? Or is there another PhoenixIII out there somewhere?

Shortly afterwards, the engine stops for no apparent reason, the first time since we bought the boat. Although this is a concern, it cranks over and starts again after a few minutes. We carry on without trouble until we reach the 250 yard tunnel at Snarestone. We have no trouble in the tunnel but the engine proves troublesome when we turn round at the end of the canal, not exactly welcome since the wind has strengthened and the tight turn is made more difficult by the positioning of some privately moored boats. We tie up briefly to check the boat before venturing back into the tunnel. Everything seems in order so we pass through the tunnel under the village of Snarestone before mooring up close to The Globe, the village pub. Needless to say it seems rude not to visit the aforementioned hostelry and we are not disappointed. The pub is in new hands, we get a friendly welcome and enjoy a couple of drinks in front of the open fire in the lounge, good luck to the new owners!

Just after four o’clock, before darkness falls, we return to the boat, light the fire and have dinner. We have moored near the tunnel mouth and as a result cannot get television reception so we settle down to watch some dvd’s from our collection before turning in for the night.

We’re awake about 7.30 and get washed and dressed before breakfast, another “full english “. I make a mental note to check out what a “full english “ actually entails and decide to compare the “full english “ with the “full scottish “ and the “full irish “.

We set off just after 9am all goes well, we pass a group of miserable fishermen and just as we clear their little group, the engine dies. We get it started again but it dies after another 25 minutes. This pattern continues until we reach Market Bosworth at which point we tie up, have a cup of tea and decide what to do. The options are to either try and limp back to Hinckley or get a taxi back from Market Bosworth and get someone out to look at the problem. After another cup of tea we decide to press on and try and get the old girl back home. The engine conked out pretty much every twenty minutes or so all the way back, the added complication of the strong wind meant that it was a difficult trip with the boat being grounded on more than one occasion. Eventually we made it back to the trinity marina, the strong wind made it difficult to get back on the berth but we did it in the end.

There is no doubt that we have to sort out the engine problem that we have, it’s probably the fuel but we will get the engine serviced and take out RCR cover, the canal equivalent of the AA.