Recent Posts

Atherstone and the unexpected locks

We had originally planned to go on a trip up the Ashby this weekend but with the forecast being poor for Saturday, we decided that a trip to Atherstone would be better because the canal runs close to the town centre. The Ashby canal is very rural and although there are some villages nearby, Market Bosworth is probably the best one for visiting on a rainy afternoon, however there is “heart-attack “ hill to climb. Atherstone by contrast has more shops and pubs (for research) and is easier to get to on foot. We left Hinckley just after four and moored near the Anchor Inn, four hours later. The journey was largely unremarkable except for an incident in Nuneaton when two teenagers decided that it would be fun to spit on the boat from the safety of a road bridge. Imagine their surprise when the boat stopped, reversed and got close enough for Sue to jump on to the bank and then chase after them. The wasters ran and hid in some bushes, their bravery evaporating as she was bearing down on them, can’t say that I blame them, even I was scared! Ha ha! The language was choice but effective, they didn’t reappear and we carried on with our journey. Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for this, our first “attack “. We actually have a pump action, high pressure water gun on board but hadn’t thought to load it, we’ll be ready next time.

We popped into the Anchor for a quick drink after dinner, it looked quite good but we were both tired so there will have to be further research done at a later date. The run to Atherstone is only about ninety minutes from the Anchor, so we showered and dressed before setting off at nine o’clock, the rain is forecast to put in an appearance after lunch so we know that we have plenty of time on our side. For the first time ever, there are no mooring places available, worse than that, the turning point above the top lock is unusable because there are two boats side by side at the water point. We have little choice but to descend the locks and either turn or moor somewhere on the other side of town. we have never been further than this so we are not sure how many of the locks we will have to go through, then the rain started just to make things even worse. There are no moorings until after lock five which is where we tied up and after checking that we could turn at Baddesley basin below lock six, we had breakfast. We had a little further to walk than we would have, had we been able to moor at the top of the flight but the sun was back out so it didn’t really matter. We wandered around the shops, past the farmer’s market which consisted of three stalls and no customers and then into the Red Lion for a drink and a read of the papers. The sun was still shining as we walked back to the boat, along Watling street and under the railway bridge. We had just got the chairs out on the back deck when the sky darkened and the monsoon came. Back inside then, where Sue spent the rest of the afternoon demonstrating how good she is at knitting and me demonstrating how bad I am with watercolours. The rain didn’t last too long but we didn’t venture out again. We ate, we drank, we chilled out.

Sunday had been forecast to be the best of the weekend, the wind dropping and the sun coming out. Well it started alright as we slipped our mooring at seven o’clock, down through lock six, turned and went straight back up again. Our ascent was straightforward since every chamber was empty and we didn’t encounter any oncoming traffic until we reached the second lock from the top. Half past eight and we we were on the way, optimistically wearing a short sleeved shirt, shorts and sandles, we were soon wrapping up as the wind picked up and the rain came on. I think that we’ve done enough now to combat global warming, it’s now too cold. I suggest that diesel engines are banned, petrol engines must be at least 3 litres and aerosols should be filled with that stuff that depletes the ozone (except for those aerosols in government who are already filled with hot air anyway!)

Water gun at the ready we made our way through Nuneaton but there were no bandits today, the little darlings probably all tucked up in bed with white cider induced hangovers. We breakfasted between Nuneaton and Bedworth before turning back on to the Ashby at Marston junction. It is clear that the wind is probably too strong to get back into the marina so we hatch some alternative plans. Plan “A “ fails because there are no moorings near the Limekilns on the A5, Plan “B “ fails because the canal is too shallow between the Limekilns and our house, Plans “C “ and “D “ fail for the same reason that plan “A “ failed, i.e. lack of mooring space near the house and outside the marina. Plan “E “, which was to travel up to bridge 22, turn round and moor near the Triumph factory didn’t stand a chance because Captain Jack Sparrow decided that he would attempt to take the boat back into the marina. A decision clearly based on too much confidence in his own ability and a complete lack of respect for mother nature! Getting in to the marina wasn’t a problem but with the Phoenix now at ninety degrees to the wind, the boat turned completely in the opposite direction. Fortunately, we were able to get the boat into the wet dock, not ideal but safe in the marina until the wind drops overnight.