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Spring Bank Holiday

Friday 22nd May

Unusually, the weather forecast for the bank holiday weekend is good. This time last year, we went to the Crick show on the Saturday but the last day of the show was cancelled due to high winds and heavy rain. Anyway, as usual we got our stuff on to the boat and we were underway just after three o’clock. A gusty cross wind hindered our departure but we were soon heading north on the Ashby. Not only is there a bank holiday on the last Monday in May, the week is also the school half term holiday. We saw evidence of this as we passed through Stoke Golding, home to the Ashby boat hire fleet, Other than that, the journey was pleasantly quiet as we made our way through Sutton Cheney towards Market Bosworth. The visitor moorings near Bosworth battlefield and Market Bosworth were fully occupied, so we cruised on to a point between Market Bosworth and Congerstone. The weather was as predicted; cloudy, breezy and a little cool out of the sun. We hoped that the forecaster’s predictions for the following days were just as accurate and we would enjoy a couple of sunny days.

Sat 23rd May

As predicted, the day dawned bright and sunny, The temperature rose quickly inside as the sun got to work on the outside of the boat, We eventually moved off the mooring at ten o’clock with no particular plan for the day except to enjoy the weather, As we approached Shackerstone we realised that there was a steam train running on the preserved railway. We were fortunate to find a space to tie up on the village moorings. The train was just leaving as we reached the station so we bought a couple of platform tickets and looked around the museum before settling down to a pot of tea in the station café. After we drank our tea we positioned ourselves on platform 2 and waited for the return of LNER 1306 “Mayflower”. Very soon we were able to watch her as she steamed gently into the station. After taking plenty of photographs before returning to Phoenix III, we took to the water just after


one o’clock and headed towards the canal terminus. The breeze and high clouds did not spoil the sunshine and we were all to soon at Snarestone tunnel. We were puzzled to see signs which declared that the canal ahead was closed, it is a dead-end after all! Work has begun to extend and restore the end of the Ashby canal through to its original terminus at Moira. As a result, the Canal has been shortened, hence the signs. A new winding hole has been excavated just after the last bridge and It was here that we turned around before we headed south again. We had to wait for two boats to pass through the tunnel before we could enter, with another behind us it seemed to be very busy indeed. Leaving Snarestone behind us we enjoyed a leisurely cruise in the afternoon sunshine. It was half past four when we reached Congerstone village moorings by bridge 47 and it was here that we tied up for the night. We sat on the back deck, in the sun, listening to music before eating dinner “al-fresco”. The sun finally dropped below the hedgerow just before eight and so we cleared the deck before going back inside for the evening.

Sunday 24th May

We awoke to hear a duck on the back deck and then the sounds of the boat expanding as the early morning sun started to exert its thermo-nuclear force on the steel work. We sorted ourselves out and headed off at half past nine for the one hour trip to Market Bosworth. We were fortunate to secure a mooring in one of our usual haunts before walking up to the town. All in all our visit was good one, we saw the Mayflower on its way from Shackerstone to Shenton before exploring the Farmers Market which was standing in the town, We bought the papers, went for a drink in the Red Lion and then made our way back down to the canal. We basked in the afternoon sun before barbequing some ribs on the towpath. The perfect end to a perfect day.

Monday 25th May

Bank holiday Monday dawned with less direct sunshine than the previous two days. We were keen to avoid the chance of showers later in the day so we headed back to Hinckley just after nine o’clock. It was a pleasantly uneventful trip back to the marina and although there was a good cloud cover, it was still quite warm. We reached the marina around half past twelve and before we brought Phoenix III into her berth, we re-fuelled ready for our next big trip in a fortnight’s time.