Thursday, 20 October 2016

Captain's shore leave

As skipper of the boat it is rare that I take shore leave and only tend to do so when we are safely secure in port. Such an occasion occurred on Tuesday, so I departed for Kent leaving the crew on board. Whilst away the crew got busy. I was the proud owner of eight shirts, but now I only have four. I do have a nice rag rug which seems to resemble the colour of my now missing shirts.
Missing shirts rug.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Yelvertoft Marina

Having departed Glascote Basin, we put on a bit of a spurt to get back to Yelvertoft before the arrival of some bad weather. We ended up doing in four days what we would normally do in fourteen. On Wednesday 12/10, we set off early to fill with water at the foot of the Atherstone flight. The flight consists of eleven single locks, and today luck was on our side. At each of the first five locks we met a boat coming down so the lock was set for us. The next three locks, we had a little assistance from the volunteers, and then again at the top lock. Soon we were passing through Nuneaton. This town has a bad reputation for rubbish in the canal. We passed through earlier in the year and we were pleasantly surprised, it seemed as if the town had cleaned up its act. Not so, it was once again squalid. We passed the junction with the Ashby Canal, we are planning on doing this next year, following the Hudson boat owners gathering at Glascote in July. We turned left at Hawkesbury Junction in front of the Greyhound P.H. and picked up a mooring just beyond the stop lock. We were now on the Oxford Canal. Following our epic day, it was justifiable to reward ourselves with an evening meal in the pub.

Thursday 13/10, we travelled 18 miles to the outskirts of Braunston. The weather was a bit warmer, the wind coming from the south rather than the east. This change whilst welcome, was also the reason why we wanted to get home before Sunday, when some heavy rain was due. We saw very few boats moving today, and just after navigating the relatively short Newbold Tunnel we stopped for lunch. The afternoon session took us through the three locks at Hillmorton, then passed the new Marina under construction at Dunchurch. By the time we arrived on the outskirts of Braunston we were both ready for a rest. No pub this time as we had stopped in the middle of the countryside.

Mooring outside Braunston.

Friday 14/10, we made our way towards Braunston. At the junction we joined the Grand Union Canal heading towards six wide locks. Just as we were entering the bottom lock another boat arrived, which would make the ascent of the flight much easier. We navigated Braunston Tunnel without meeting any oncoming boats, and then it was a short cruise to Norton Junction. Here we turned left onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union. We moored in our usual spot, and after securing the boat walked the short distance to the New Inn for lunch. We also booked in for our Sunday roast.

Saturday 15/10, the final leg of our journey. On arrival the foot of Watford staircase locks we were second in the queue. Shortly after our arrival, the single boat descending emerged from the bottom lock, and we were on our way. Once on the summit level of the Leicester line we navigated through Crick Tunnel, receiving a good drenching on the way through. As Cracks Hill came into view, the crew took four legs off the boat and walked him over the top, whilst I took the boat the long way round. They were waiting a good ten minutes for me to arrive at the other side of the hill. Back on the boat, we turned into the Marina and onto the service dock for a pump out and diesel. Now safely secured on our berth we have a few trips home over the next few weeks. Any further cruising will be restricted to the summit level and subject to the weather.

  • Totals Wednesday  12/10. 14 Miles 12 Locks
  •           Thursday      13/10. 18 Miles 1 Tunnel 
  •           Friday           14/10.  7 Miles  6 Locks  1 Tunnel 
  •           Saturday.      15/10.  7 Miles  7 Locks  1 Tunnel 
  • Running total  424 Miles 241 Locks 17 Tunnels






Tuesday, 11 October 2016


Today the crew rejoin the boat, and shortly after lunch with our business at Glascote Basin complete, we made our way towards the cut. Under the bridge turning left towards Coventry the sun was shining, but there is the distinct feel of autumn in the air. After a few miles we reached the village of Polesworth and our chosen mooring spot was not much further. We opted for a short easy day today in preparation of the 11 locks at Atherstone we will face tomorrow.
Mooring at Polesworth.
Whilst at Glascote with the benefit of being able to moor against the side of the dock, bother sides of the boat have received there biannual wash and wax. The solid fuel stove was also lit to burn off any stove polish residue in readiness for its winter usage. We are aiming for Yelvertoft on Sunday so a couple of long days (for us) are on the cards.
  • Totals 5 Miles
  • Running total 378 Miles 216 Locks 14 Tunnels 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Glascote Basin

Today we travelled four miles passing through the countryside between Lichfield and Tamworth, before arriving at the foot of Glascote Locks. We had filled the water tank at Fazeley Junction, and had short wait whilst two boats ascended the locks ahead of us. Once through the top lock it was a sharp left turn into the basin. Almost as soon as we had secured the boat to the side of the dock, Neil and Clive appeared and promptly removed our old oven and installed the new one. We are staying here until Tuesday as the crew are having a long weekend away. I will use the time wisely, relaxing.
  • Totals 4 Miles 2 Locks
  • Running total 373 Miles 216 Locks 14 Tunnels

Tuesday, 4 October 2016


Only a short hop of three miles today. The remains of the early morning mist were soon burnt off by the sun and just after breakfast we were underway. We met one or two boats on the way, mainly in the narrow or shallow sections. Just as we were approaching the Whittington Military Range we spotted a familiar boat, nb Telemachus moored. A quick blast on the klaxon resulted in a wave from the crew on board as we passed by. The visitor mooring at Hopwas was empty so we picked our spot and secured the boat. The furry crew member was then left on board whilst we visited the Tame Otter P.H. for lunch. Just one night will be spent here before we attended our boat's home port of Glascote Basin tomorrow.
  • Totals 3 Miles
  • Running total 371 Miles 214 Locks 14 Tunnels 

Monday, 3 October 2016


We only stayed one night by the pig farm, so on Thursday 29/9 we set off for Fradley Junction. We had a brief stopover in Rugeley, to stock up on supplies at the large Tesco store by the canal. Then it was on through Armitage, the town made famous for its toilets. The weather was fine for the time of the year, and there was very little traffic. On arrival at Wood End lock we encountered a hold up. The lock has a defective ground paddle, and is very slow to fill. Today it was made worse by a huge island of reeds that had been sucked into the gate paddle reducing the flow further. Each fill was taking nearly half an hour. Once we got through it was only a short hop to Fradley. We dropped down a further two locks and then made our turn onto the Coventry Canal. Once through the swing bridge, we had our pick of position on the visitor mooring as it was empty. It didn't stay that way for long.

On Friday 30/9 we walked to the canal village of Alrewas, about two and a half miles away down the Trent and Mersey. We can actually return to Yelvertoft that way, but it involves a couple of river sections for which we would need an anchor, and this time we are stopping at Glascote Basin for a few days to have some work done.

On Saturday 1/10, the weather was forecast to rain later in the afternoon, so having stayed our allotted 48 hours at Fradley we moved on. We were aiming for Huddlesford. We needed a pump out and diesel so planned to visit Streethay Wharf on route. Not long after tying up it became apparent the pump out machine was kaput. We continued on to Kings Orchard Marina, and fortunately, unlike our last visit it was not too windy. The forecast rain however had arrived early and as we exited the Marina the heavens opened. Quickly mooring just outside the entrance, we avoided the worst but we're still soaked by the time we finished.

On Sunday 2/10 we walked in glorious sunshine to Huddlesford Junction where we found the Plough Inn. We have eaten here before and the food is great, today would be our first Sunday roast there. The pub is dog friendly, but four legs had been left behind to guard the boat.

Today we moved just one mile to the spot we had intended to reach on Saturday. The weather is again glorious for the season, but we have noticed that in the mornings the boat is colder now. We have yet to light the solid fuel stove but the diesel heating is getting some regular use.

We are only staying here one night as the cuisine at the Tame Otter, Hopwas is beckoning. After lunch we walked into Whittington to visit the local shop. One final point is that google have stopped supporting the app for iPad using blogger. This is a new app so I have no idea how it will appear once posted.  
  • Totals  Thursday 29/9. 9 Miles 3 Locks
  •           Saturday  1/10. 4 Miles
  •           Monday.   3/10. 1 Mile
  • Running total 368 Miles 214 Locks 14 Tunnels

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Pig Farm, Bishton

This morning we departed Tixall Wide having spent a few wet and wild days there. Over the weekend period, the wide had been very busy accommodating Stafford Boat Club during their regatta. We enjoyed watching the boat manoeuvring skills competition, well until the rain started, then we went inside, battened down the hatches and left them to it. We got straight onto the water point at Great Haywood Junction and topped up the tank. Whilst waiting, we chatted with the crew of nb Maple Knot who informed us of a food festival in Stone next week. Wrong way for us, but we will chalk it up for another time. We had two locks to navigate and our timing at each was impeccable. On arrival at the pig farm we found our usual spot vacant. After securing the boat, the two legged crew gave four legs a brush. He had not been done for a while and was a bit knotted, so he was somewhat resistant to the process. There was only going to be one winner, and it wasn't him. Tomorrow we head for Fradley after a necessary stop at Tesco in Rugeley.

                                                                   Pig Farm mooring.

Totals 4 Miles 2 Locks 

Running total 354 Miles 211 Locks 14 Tunnels