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End of summer escapade

Friday 28th August

It’s time to go out for another week. We’ve decided to wait until Saturday morning before we head off on our second summer tour. It’s a bank holiday weekend and the weather forecast looks reasonable for the whole week. Unfortunately, the weather today has been wet and very windy so we have taken the opportunity to have a lazy start to the trip. Most of our gear is on board and tomorrow we will take the rest of our stuff, check the engine over, diesel up and get on our way. Our ultimate aim is Warwick so our route will take us along the Ashby, on to the Coventry before turning at Sutton Stop on to the North Oxford. Turning right at Braunston, we will make our way to Wigram’s turn where we will get on to the Grand Union, heading for Leamington and Warwick. We’ll turn round for the journey back at the bottom of the Hatton flight, saving that for another day! Of course with so many twists and turns along the way, we could end up anywhere.


Saturday 29th August

The day dawned, bright and sunny. A bit breezy but pleasant nonetheless. Of course we were still in the house so we thought it best that we got out of bed and made a move. Despite the fact that we had taken a car load of our stuff to the boat the evening before, we had another car load to go. Along the way, we bought a radio to listen to while we travelled and after fuelling the boat we eventually set off at 11.00am. Despite the wind and the large number of boats around, we reached Marston Junction not long after one o’clock. Turning left on to the Coventry canal, we made our way past the charity dock which seemed to have recruited a few more mannequins complete with stylish clothing. We had decided to moor at or around Hawkesbury junction if we could and sure enough we tied up about a quarter of a mile from the turn. After we secured the boat we took a walk to the Greyhound and had a couple of drinks, shopped at the Towpath Trading boat which was moored at the lock and then returned to the boat. Sue cooked up a steak pie and our home grown potatoes which we ate before rounding the meal off with cherry pie and cream. Some swans appeared and as Sue fed them bread and oats she noticed that the adult had a beak injury which was bleeding. She made a call to the RSPCA and hopefully they will bring some relief to the older bird.( I mean the swan of course, not Sue!)

Sunday 30th August

The sun rises at about six o’clock at the moment and this morning it was very bright. We left our mooring just before half past nine, made our way to the turn and negotiated the lock. Three boys and their father watched us and explained that they had just come for a look before going off to Worcester to hire a boat for four days. We saw quite a lot of boats on our journey south but the hire boat in front was the one that dominated the landscape. Usual stuff, no idea how to steer, missing every bridge hole, kids running up and down the roof and so on. We stopped at Newbold on Avon and visited the Co-op but they had nothing that we wanted so we carried on to Rugby and stopped for water and a quick trip to Tesco. Leaving Rugby, we saw the hire boat tied up, at least we wouldn’t have to suffer them again! We completed the rest of our chores as we ascended the three locks at Hillmorton and then carried on for another hour before mooring near bridge 79. The time was six twenty, so despite this being a trip without ambition, we had travelled for almost nine hours, no wonder we were tired and by half past nine, we were yawning so much we had to go to bed. The weather had worked in our favour, the early morning sunshine had given way to cloud and the occasional drizzle but we got tied up just before the rain started in earnest.


Monday 31st August

Bank holiday Monday and the sun is shining! After yet another lazy start we made our way first to Braunston and then to Wigram’s turn. A wide beam boat pulled of the marina, got caught in the wind and managed to block the whole junction. Well, we eventually got round the corner and made our way to the locks. The boat behind us was a private boat owned by a couple from Chesterfield who kept their boat at Ventnor farm. We had an easy trip down though the three locks with these experienced boaters before waving goodbye to them as they turned into their marina. We decided to moor near bridge 21 and make our plans for rest of the trip. After showering and eating we took a walk to the Boat Inn for a drink and a visit to the dessert menu. We then walked the mile to the Blue Lias for another drink before returning to the boat. We have decided to stay here another day before turning around on Wednesday and heading back.


Tuesday 1st September

Suzy and George go to Long Itchington, have a pub lunch and a few drinks.

Rosie and Jim stay on the boat and play cards.


Wednesday 2nd September

Our day of rest yesterday meant that not only would be travelling today but we had our chores to complete too. We got up early so that we could turn around in the entrance to the boatyard without getting in anybody’s way. By eight o’clock we had turned and were passing the place that we had moored for the last two days. We soon reached the first of the three Calcutt locks and since we were on our own, began the lonely ascent. These wide locks are well maintained and we were soon at the top, taking on fresh water. Sue then started preparing our evening meal, a Spanish style Chicken dish. After jointing the chicken, she combined the meat with chorizo and vegetables, leaving the whole concoction to cook slowly in the slow cooker all day. We made our way to Braunston in a variety of weather conditions ranging from full sunshine to showers. Even the heaviest showers didn’t last long and we were soon completing our chores for the day near Braunston turn. We were in the mood for cruising so we set off again, this time towards Rugby. We reached Hillmorton at half past one and despite the fact that we had not seen many boats all morning, there were three waiting to descend the locks, two hire boats and a privately owned working boat. It didn’t take long to descend the locks thanks to a number of boats making their way to the higher level. We passed the two hire boats after the bottom lock and then we carried on. We enjoyed more sunshine as we skirted around the edge of Rugby. The sky was darkening with rain clouds when we found a space on the visitor moorings just before bridge 58. We managed a quick trip to Tesco and back, set up the satellite dish before the rain started. By the time we had showered and sat down to our Spanish chicken, the rain was pouring down but obviously we didn’t care!


Thursday 3rd September

Heavy rain fell during the early hours but by the time we got up it was windy but dry. We were unsure Whether to travel or stay put and walk into Rugby. In the end we decided to get on our way. By nine o’clock we were on the move. We had a near miss at the entrance to the Rugby marina when a working boat emerged ,ignored our warning and narrowly missed us. After that our journey was g quite uneventful and by one o’clock we were approaching Hawkesbury junction. On rounding the turn, Sue saw the swan with the damaged beak. Thankfully still alive and well. We passed tie boat -‘Mr Mercury’ before making our way to Marston junction the sun was shining as we traveled along the Ashby canal towards Hinckley. Moored next to Nutts Lane and only a few hundred yards from home may seem like madness to some but this stop allowed us to visit home and the local shop. Tomorrow we will head off towards Market Bosworth .


Friday 4th September

The sun shone again this morning and so we headed towards Market Bosworth, hoping for a place on the town moorings. Stopping at the marina for a few minutes to dump our rubbish and empty the toilet, we were underway by half past nine. Sue took the tiller for most of the journey which lasted its usual three and a half hours. Most of the Ashby boats seemed to be in the Stoke Golding wharf, leaving a narrow route through and under the bridge. We had the impression before we had started that the canal would be busy with people heading towards Shackerstone for the weekend festival. As it turned out, the earlier activity on the water was unrepresentative of the rest of the water traffic. As a result we didn’t see that many boats on our trip. What we did see was evidence of dredging, something that has been long overdue. When we reached the stretch near Bosworth Battlefield we saw the dredgers at work.


When we arrived at Market Bosworth, we were pleasantly surprised to find only one boat on the mooring, allowing us to tie up easily and get ready for the walk up the hill to town.


Saturday 5th September

Today was the last full day of our holiday so we decided to stay put in Market Bosworth. After a lazy start we were locking up the boat when we saw our marina neighbour, Lee on board ‘Mamta’ heading for Shackerstone. We wandered up the hill for the second day running having decided to have lunch in the Red Lion. The meals were good, we had a couple of drinks and read the papers as we whiled away the early hours of the afternoon. Returning to the boat we ran the generator for a couple of hours to charge the batteries and heat the water. We completed our ‘lazy’ day by watching television before turning in for the night.


Sunday 6th September

We turned the boat around and began the final leg of our journey. Our lunch was already prepared and we planned to stop on the way back to eat it. Sue began to pack our stuff up, ready for our return to the marina. By half past eleven we had reached the Stoke Golding visitor moorings so we pulled in and ate our midday meal. Just after we started off again we saw the Red Arrows who were displaying at Shackerstone. We pulled up again and watched what we could of the display.


As we waited, we were passed again by Lee and his mate who told us that they had managed to get a mooring at Shackerstone. We followed them back to Hinckley in convoy and by the time we got there we had a couple more boats behind us. By two o’clock the boat was empty and the car was full, we were ready to reume our land based life.

Well, we’ve had a good time and maybe to the casual reader of these articles it may seem like we have hours of nothing much happening interrupted by exciting things like filling the water and emptying the toilet. Very often the only other living creatures that we see have four legs or wings or make quacking sounds. That’s it really, you either get it or you don’t. We do and after two years of boat ownership, we still enjoy our trips out on the canal.