Monday, 30 September 2013



This week we are moored in Coventry Basin at the very end of the Coventry Canal.I’ve wanted to get here since 2007 when we came into the basin on a hire boat.Back then we couldn’t find a mooring so we had to leave and,as there was nowhere for us to moor for the next 5 miles,we missed out Coventry all together.This time the basin is virtually empty,with only three other boats moored.The journey down from last nights mooring at Hawkesbury Junction,where the Oxford Canal leaves the Coventry Canal,was uneventful,I have no recollection of what it was like in 2007 so it all seemed new.It reminded me of one of the reasons I like the canals so much,it was like a secret passage flanked with trees and hedges with just the briefest of glimpses of familiar places.Everything looks so different from a canal,even places only a few yards away that you travel almost daily,can look as though you’ve never been that way before.The Coventry is pretty much like any urban canal,there’s some rubbish,but that could largely be wind blown,there was just one old tv and that was well out of town.There isn’t any more graffiti here than on any other canal,in fact there’s probably less.Some years ago the local authority spent a lot of time and money on brightening this canal up and,though it now looks a little careworn,it doesn’t look like the urban jungle that so many people would have us believe.

Last Tuesday we steadily made our way off the Ashby Canal,in the company of John and Sheila on Water Ratz,turned onto the Coventry Canal and headed to Atherstone.We were to part company with John and Sheila on Wednesday morning as they were heading back to Trent Lock and we intended to stay a day or two before heading here.We helped them down the first five locks of the Atherstone flight and then said au revoir,we plan to meet up with them again sometime next year around Northampton.After they left us,it was into Atherstone for a bit of good old retail therapy and some pleasant surprises.Atherstone is a great little place with quite a bit of interesting history as well as a number of,what can best be described as,inexpensive shops.Anyone getting the chance to visit Atherstone should make for The Larder Restaurant,it’s a 1940’s Pie and Mash eatery offering a different experience in dining out.

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A haven for the Ducks and Moorhens in the side pond at the top of the Atherstone Flight.John bringing Water Ratz into the top lock with Lisa and Sheila looking on.

Lisa & Sheila John & Fred

Sheila with Lisa and John with me as we said au revoir.

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Just a couple of the strange and varied sights you can see on our canals.These are just two of the scenes on the Coventry Canal at a place called Charity Dock.

We left there on Friday morning intending to take a very very gentle cruise to Coventry,taking the best part of three days and a bit to cover the 17 miles.One day we didn’t move at all,letting the solar panels top up the batteries,while we took a stroll along the towpath collecting firewood to give us a bit of warmth on the chilly nights that we are now experiencing.On Sunday we stopped a hundred yards or so from the junction of the the Oxford Canal and nipped into The Greyhound for a very pleasant pint or three of Pedigree.

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The Coal Boat Auriga moored just past the junction at Hawkesbury,and the stop lock on the Oxford Canal just before Hawkesbury Junction,referred to as Sutton Stop.The Greyhound pub is at the Junction,just out of shot.

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A statue of James Brindley at the basin here in Coventry and a view of the basin with Mr Brindley standing with his back to us.You can see how empty the basin is in this shot.

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We’ve just had a few hours to spend in Coventry today but we’ll get more time tomorrow.On the left is a pic’ of the old Cathedral that was fire bombed on the 14th of November 1940 and on the right is good old Lady Godiva who took her clothes off to protest at high taxation.

Well that’s all for this week I’m afraid.Since last Monday we have done 0 Locks and 32 Miles,giving us a grand total of 480 Locks and 767 Miles since October last year.Take care everyone.

Monday, 23 September 2013



This week finds us back in Hinckley,we’ve spent the last week cruising up to the end of the Ashby canal at Snarestone and then back down to here.We’ve covered some familiar territory and moored in places we’ve moored before,so this weeks blog is likely to be a bit thin I’m afraid.I’ve got a few pictures so I’ll do my best with them.We’ve had Lisa’s sister and brother in law stop with us on Saturday night,while we were moored at Market Bosworth,and the rest of the last week we have spent with the crew of Water ratz,John and Sheila.

The highlight of our week was on Saturday when we took a trip on the Battlefield Line on a former British Rail Class 73,electro diesel locomotive,called Stewarts Lane Traction Maintenance Depot.Apparently,this is a large railway servicing depot in Battersea in London,unfortunately,I can’t find out how the engine came by that name.The rest of the week we have spent at Snarestone or Market Bosworth doing odd jobs on Chyandour and generally catching up with the experiences that John and Sheila enjoyed on their four month tour of India.

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Richard III’s remains,or is it a copy?These are in the grounds of the Dixie Grammar School in Market Bosworth.The Old Workhouse,also in Market Bosworth.In 1881 there were 5 staff and 100 inmates here,the youngest was only 3 years old and 11 were classed as imbeciles,not a term you would hear today .

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The services at the end of the Ashby Canal at Snarestone,there’s me gathering up John’s hose after filling Chyandour with water.We join hoses together to save having to move up to the waterpoint.Lisa and I as we set off from the end of the canal on Friday morning,this was taken by Sheila.

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Looking down the canal towards the winding hole just before the end of the canal,we’re moored out of sight around the corner to the left.John,Sheila and Lisa with Water Ratz.You can see who does the work.

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A lovely view of the Ashby Canal near Snarestone,Bridge 61 in the background,and one of my many attempts at taking a photo’ while we negotiate a tunnel.This one’s not too bad.

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The Class 73 Diesel Electric Loco’ at the terminus of the Battlefield Line at Shenton and the station at Market Bosworth,not very busy when there are no Steam Trains running.

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There was Steam Train running on Sunday,this one is a Great Western Railway,2884 Class Locomotive,number 3803,built between 1938 and 1942.There’s Chyandour on the visitor moorings at Market Bosworth,the Battlefield Line is just a short walk from there.

Well,that’s all for this week.Since last week we have done 0 Locks and 22 Miles,giving us a grand total of 480 Locks and 735 Miles.Take care everyone.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Market Bosworth.


This week we are at Market Bosworth which is about 15 miles up the Ashby Canal from Marston Junction,where the Ashby canal leaves the Coventry Canal.We are here with some friends John and Sheila on their boat Water Ratz. We haven’t seen them since the end of October last year when we parted company on the Nottingham Canal,in of all places,Nottingham.A month or so after that they went away to India for four months and then,when they got back,they spent the next few months cruising on some of the Southern Canals.They’ve detoured up here before heading back to Nottingham and then jetting off to Sri Lanka for a few months.What a life hey?

We finally left our mooring near Congerstone last Wednesday,after being there 11 days.All the little jobs that we had wanted to do for our daughter were done so we thought we would go up to the end of the Ashby canal just past Snarestone,and see what remains of the last 8 miles of canal that were closed due to mining subsidence.There’s a very active Ashby Canal Association that is working towards reopening these lost miles and it was our pleasure to meet some of the members of the ACA.There are some lovely moorings at the end of the navigation so we spent a couple of days there and on the Wednesday night we took a walk to the nearest pub,The Globe,a friendly place,well worth the walk.On Thursday we walked along a short stretch of the old line of the canal which has been filled in but is earmarked for restoration in the near future.

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That’s us moored at the end of the navigation,nice quiet moorings,with the ACA shop etc. in the background,it was here,and the Globe,that we met some of the ACA members who made us more than welcome,so much so that we joined the Association ourselves.The old Hinckley Pumping Station which is at the end of navigation.This was built in the 1890s to pump fresh water to Hinckley,the pumps were originally steam driven,but there’s little of them left and the building is now a private house.

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The shaft for the flywheel still in place on the side of the building,it is still possible to see a small part of the flywheel through one of the house windows.The two beams from the pumping engine,these have been bought by one of the ACA members who is to have them mounted on a plinth as a feature alongside the canal.

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Lisa at the very end of the navigation and a view along the line of the old canal back towards the pumping station.This has all been backfilled with waste from the coalmines to a height well above the original towpath.

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A private mooring on land that is part of the Manor of Snarestone,I can’t find anything about this feature but it’s obvious what it was used for.The approach to Snarestone Tunnel,The Globe pub is above the tunnel.

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A few wood sculptures in a garden as we walked into Market Bosworth and Lisa with,not a doggy bag,but a few Blackberries that we picked on our way back to the canal.They went into a lovely crumble for tea

On Friday we left there and made our way here to Market Bosworth,to do a bit of shopping,before moving on to Hinckley,where we had arranged to meet up with the crew of Water Ratz.We spent the weekend there,catching up with all the adventures they’d had in India,and then cruised back here,to Market Bosworth,this afternoon.

Right,that’s all for this week folks.Since our last blog we have done 0 Locks and 30 Miles,giving us a grand total of 480 Locks and 713 Miles since we set of last October.It’ll soon be a year.Take care everyone.

Monday, 9 September 2013



OK,here we are again and we are still moored just before Congerstone Bridge on the Ashby Canal,the same as we were last Monday.Since then we’ve had a great time at the Shackerstone Family Festival which was held about twenty minutes walk along the towpath from here.There have been lots of boats at the festival,as well as Traction Engines,vintage cars and tractors,stalls selling all sorts of goods.The nearby Battlefield Line Steam Railway has been in operation and we’ve had the highlight of the weekend,the Red Arrows.There’s been Llama racing,Lawnmower racing,Jousting and other activities in the main arena,as well as entertainment around the site.We’ve had a great Beer Tent selling over twenty Real Ales as well as a dozen or more Ciders.You can take my word for it that a lot of the ales and ciders were very nice,thank you very much.Lisa and I,together with Son in Law Robin,managed to sample quite a few over the weekend,purely in the interests of research of course.

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The Llama racing and the Jousting in the main arena at the festival.

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A steam roller and a little traction engine,the exhibits came in all sizes.

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Lisa wondering which tractor she would like and one of the Funny Cars.

The weather has been very kind to us as well.At times last week the weather forecast looked decidedly unpleasant for the coming weekend but,after Friday lunch,things brightened up and all we had was a sharp shower after the events closed on Saturday.Unfortunately,we had the misfortune to have to take refuge in the Beer Tent on that occasion.The only downside for me over the weekend was the absence of the Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight,it should have been here on Saturday,but,due to a technical fault,was unable to fly.Still,that was more than made up for by the Red Arrows display and the BBMF Spitfire on Sunday.

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A short sharp shower on Saturday evening,as you can see it cleared the grounds,I took this from the safety of the Beer Tent, and then,barely a cloud in the sky for the Red Arrows on Sunday.

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                             Another couple of shots of the Red Arrows.

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A couple of pic’s of the Spitfire.This version is a “ Clipped Wing “ Spitfire that was apparently developed to enhance it’s maneuverability and close the performance gap with the German Focke-Wulf Fw190.

Most of the rest of our time here has been spent doing little odd jobs for our daughter who lives about fifteen minutes away.It’s made a change to do house jobs instead of boat jobs but I don’t think it’s made us want to go back on the land,there’s no lawns on boats for one thing.

That’s all for this week I’m afraid,it’s been a quiet week leading up to a great weekend so I don’t have a lot more of interest to tell you.Since last week we’ve done no Locks and no Miles so our grand total remains unchanged at 480 Locks and 683 Miles since October.Take care everyone.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Congerstone,as planned.

Yes,as the title says,we’re here,near Congerstone,just as we had planned months ago when we were invited to this years Shackerstone Festival.We’re on the Ashby canal which has a reputation for being shallow and for not having much in the way of moorings other than the dedicated ones.Our experience so far has been otherwise,we’ve seen lots of places to moor,though these involve a walk to any amenities.But,if like us,you’re happy to moor in the middle of nowhere,there are plenty of middle of nowheres here on the Ashby and,at 27inches draught,we haven’t had a problem with depth.The festival is next weekend and we didn’t want to moor too close to the site because we expect it to be a bit congested.So far we have been proved right,there are boats breasted up already for quite a distance either side of the site and it’s only Monday.We’re about a mile East of Shackerstone which means we’re close but not too close,if you know what I mean.It was our aim to get here for Saturday and seek out a suitable mooring where we could stay till next Tuesday so we stopped at the first likely place,with the intention of checking to see if there is anywhere better,but,as it turns out,here is ideal.There’s a good TV,Phone and Internet which is amazing because our daughter lives less than a mile away and struggles to get any signal.

We left Alvecote last Wednesday,to cover the 32 Miles and 11 Locks to where we are now,just a couple of hundred yards before Congerstone bridge.On Wednesday night we stopped just short of Hartshill where we found a good pub called The Anchor and enjoyed both the evening there and Thursday lunch,the food was good and the Everards Tiger beer went down very well,thank you.Our eldest daughter and our grandchildren came out to see us and bring the mail,giving us an excuse to stop for lunch.Moving on after lunch,we only did about 5 Miles then called it a day a bit before Marston Junction,where the Ashby Canal leaves the Coventry Canal.We left there on Friday and made our way to the moorings at Stoke Golding,stopping off at Hinckley to do a bit of shopping and then did the last 7 Miles to here the next morning.

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A sad sight that was very common in the 50’s.Old working boats like this one,and many others that were just rotten hulks sitting on the bottom of the canal,were all we saw as kids playing on the canals.Lisa sitting waiting for the lock to fill.She is doing all the locks now,this one is on the Atherstone flight of 11 locks.

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Hartshill Yard on the Coventry Canal,a former British Waterways maintenance yard and Stable Block.Chyandour entering the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction.There used to be a stop lock here but in 1819 the Ashby and Coventry canal companies decided to remove the stop lock and narrow the entrance so only narrowboats  could enter and leave

Currently,the Ashby canal is 22 miles long but there’s a very active Ashby Canal Association who are working hard to restore the canal to it’s original 31 Miles.The Ashby opened in 1804 to serve the local collieries which,due to a shortage of funds,nothing new there then,were connected to the canal by Tram Roads.I believe,something like 12 miles of Tram Roads were built instead of canal branches.There was also proposals to open a canal through to Burton on Trent,now that would have been something.Various parts of the Northern end of the Ashby canal were closed between 1944 and 1966 because of mining subsidence,leaving what we enjoy now.It’s a lovely canal and if your not too deep draughted,well worth the visit.

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Outside the Rising Sun ,Shackerstone on Saturday.This Traction Engine,as   well as the pub,is to be one of the attractions at the festival next weekend.Don’t know about the boat though. It’s steam propelled and very quiet.As I was getting ready this morning it came by and I only just managed to get this picture.

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A before and after pic’ of our daughters garden that we tidied today.Surprisingly we don’t miss the gardens we had in Perth but it was nice to do a bit of gardening for a change,and also quite satisfying.

Well,that’s all again for this week folks.There will be loads of things happening this weekend,there’s going to be the Red Arrows,a Dakota and a Spitfire from the BBM flight,lawnmower and Llama racing,not each other,I hasten to add and a host of other things to enjoy so I should have lots of pic’s for next week.Since last weeks blog we have done 11 Locks and 32 miles,giving us a grand total of 480 Locks and 683 Miles since we set off last October.Take care everyone.