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Overnighting at Hillmorton

After a peaceful night, except for the sound of the odd passing train, we sorted ourselves out and were ready to move off by nine o’clock. It was breezy and the sun was obscured by white cloud but it wasn’t particularly cold. We rounded Marston junction a little while later and joined the Coventry canal. The mannequin population at charity dock, Bedworth has expanded and there are now a number of cameo scenes along the bank. We only encountered a couple of boats before we reached Sutton stop and were able to drive straight into the lock without waiting. As we left, we could see a Willow wren hire boat approaching so Sue got back on board in the lock and we left them to it. The crew, a stag party, made an interesting approach to the lock but by the time we reached the Longford bend, they had managed to get the boat into the lock. We encountered another stag party on another Willow Wren boat between the M69 bridge and Ansty but like the first they were well behaved although it was still only eleven o’clock.

The picturesque journey down the north Oxford was peaceful enough until a boat emerged from Brinklow marina causing us to stop rather quickly to avoid a collision. We weren’t so lucky as we emerged from the tunnel at Newbold on Avon. Despite there being enough room for two vessels to pass, the incoming boat still managed to hit us on the bow as he entered.

We stopped shortly afterwards and made a short trip to Tesco on the outskirts of Rugby. Our shopping trip didn’t take long and by three o’clock we were off again, hoping that we would find a mooring near Hillmorton. The hire boats were out in force as we completed this part of our journey but it passed without further incident. We found a mooring at the bottom of Hillmorton locks and tied up there for the night. We decided to go for a walk after dinner and so we headed in the direction of Hillmorton itself. We had only walked a few yards when we encountered ‘Big Phil’ with the braided hair and a couple of other refugees from the Ashby canal. It took us just under an hour to walk up to and through the village before returning to the towpath above the top lock. By the time we reached the Ashby pirates, they had a barbeque on the go so we passed the time of day and then returned to Phoenix III where we settled down for the evening.