Tue 2 August
We left Diana's mum comfortably tucked up in Pembury hospital and headed back to
the boat. By 1830hrs. we were loading the bags at the top lock. BW had the
Napton back pump running which resulted in a lot of water flowing down the
flight and with the bywash blocked on the second lock down resulted in flooding
the towpath and topping the lock gates. We had a slow run down the flight as the
lady on the boat just ahead of us was recovering from a broken ankle and they
were taking things very easy.
We moored for the night just beyond bridge 103 at 2130hrs. after enjoying a very
pleasant evenings cruise with interesting pink cloud formations.
Wed 3 August
We woke to a wonderful sunny morning and set off about ten past seven, there was
no point in starting any earlier as we had to stop a Braunston to buy some oil
from Midland Chandlers and post a parcel to Diana's mum, consequently we waisted
about an hour in Braunston.
As we left Braunston we met a boat in the first bridge hole completely blind
which resulted in them having to pull over to the bank and me reversing a bit
At Hillmorton we came across two groups of canoeists, this is the first time I
have ever seen the canoes that are kept in the building by the pub being used.
Just as we approached Hillmorton top lock the skies opened for about 5 minuets,
this was the only rain we saw all day.
I had intended to fill up with diesel the other day with Ivor in Braunston but
because we had to hurry back to Napton we gave it a miss. Today we turned up the
North Oxford so we didn't pass him so I stopped at Cliffton Cruisers at Rugby to
fill up at 42p/lt. later we saw it for 45 p at Newbold and 46p at Atherstone.
Just prior to Sutton Stop we caught up with another boat, this boat had it's
exhaust in the stern just on the water line when travelling. It had a wet
exhaust and sounded like it was being propelled by a very loud Eberspatcher or
even an air compressor.
There is now a notice at Sutton Stop requesting boaters to leave both the top
and bottom paddles half open to assist BW with their water management.
We were able to make better time along the Coventry Canal with it's deeper water
and even Charity Dock now have mainly half tidy boats on the cut, the yard still
looks the same with every thing you could think of. Just before the Atherstone
flight we met a boat who had just come up the locks so we were quite sure they
would be in our favour, unfortunately when we arrived we found they had leaked
away quite a bit. A chap walking up gave us the good news that another boat was
coming up in lock 4 so we could leave the gates open as we left. We moored for
the nigh just above lock 8 at 2110 hrs.
Thursday 4 August
The alarm went off at 6 am and we were on the move by twenty past. We had
breakfast on the move once clear of the flight and then took it in turns to
shower. We met several boats between the flight and Tamworth where the next
locks were. There were no boats waiting too go down but a steady flow coming up.
At Peel's Wharf the BW offices members of BW staff were gathered around the new
BW podded work boats.
Fradley Junction had been chaotic since about 9 that morning. We were fourth in
the queue to go up through the locks, a boat had broken down and was on the
lock mooring, another boat was moored on the lock moorings out side the s
Swan pub. There is now a butty moored outside Monarch as well as all the boats
moored up to the lock. With boats waiting to go up and others coming down one of
them hit the steal ferry dingy that was tied on the outside of a boat being
worked on. The dingy was eventually moved round out of the way. By the time we
cleared the lock there were 6 boats behind us waiting to come up.
We carried on until about 7 when we moored for the night at Wolseley Bridge and
ate in the Wolseley Arms. We had intended to do on to Great Haywood for the
night but we suspected that the area would be crowded as there was music and
fireworks on at Shugborough Hall.
Friday 5 August
We only had about four and a half hours ahead of us so we started a little later
today, we were still early enough to be ahead of the hire boats who were out
doing the ring. We were right not to have come as fare as Great Haywood last
night as there was about a mile of moored boats there. We turned left into the
Staffordshire and Worcester canal, as we crossed Tixal Wide we saw several other
gig attendees still moored from the night before. We carried on to the Stafford
boat club arriving around mid day where we were shown to our mooring spot for
Monday 8 August.
The plan was to leave the Stafford Boat Club, Hazlestrine at 8 am and moor just
above Fradley Junction for the night, to this end the alarm clock was set for 7
Just before 6 am. I woke to a clear sunny morning with a gentle mist rolling
down the cut, so at 6-30 we were on our way. We had a clear run with no holdups
at the Great Haywood lock or Colwich Lock which was surprising as we expected
some of the boats that were moored by Shugborough Hall to be on the move. I
would estimate that over half the boats had left ether last night or early
today. We met lots of boats with a queue of 5 at Colwich lock. We continued on
at a good rate, all the visitor moorings at Rugeley were full with boats looking
for spaces. As we approached Woodend Lock an oncoming boater advised that there
was a long queue waiting for Woodend Lock and when we arrived we were number 11
in the queue, a hour and three quarters later we were entering the lock and by
now there were about 12 boats behind us. Once through Woodend there were no more
real holdups, only waiting for oncoming boats to work up. The steady flow
towards us was most welcome as the 2 boats ahead of us were both single handed
ladies as was the one behind.
At Fradley Junction we turned right into the Coventry Canal and stopped to fill
our water tank, While we were there "Pound Eater" came through and stopped for a
short chat before we went on, Richard stopped a short way down from the visitor
moorings while we carried on to Stoney Step Bridge, just short of Huddlesford at
1730 to have a BBQ.
Tuesday 9 August
As there was nothing to be gained by making an early start today I didn't set
the alarm. This turned out to be a good move as we had a some what interrupted
nights sleep. At 3am my son rang me to tell me I had just become a grandfather
again and that Claire his wife had just produced a son, to make sure I didn't
forget he texted me with the same information at 5 AM. but I can't think of a
better reason to be disturbed.
We woke again at 7-30 and set off at 8. Things were very quiet meeting just a
few boats, as we approached The Tame Otter at Hopwas a boat pulled away by the
next bridge. We soon caught them up and from here it was slow and dead slow
while they put the boat in neutral to admire the horses, the only time they
speeded up was if we got to a wide bit and I looked as if I was going to
overtake them. We carried on like this until we reached the moorings at Peel's
Wharf where she speeded up and left me, this was the fastest she had been all
morning, thankfully she tried to pull in at Peel's Wharf for water and we were
able to continue on our way. There were no boats waiting at Tamworth and we went
straight into the first lock, the same thing happened at Atherstone where we met
boats in every pound.
Just above the top lock we had stones thrown at us, not by kids but from a chap
in his garden, I had just come through the bridge when this chap in his garden
waved at me to slow down, he then shouted to slow down, so I asked why. At this
point he seam to lose it and started shouting and then picked up some shingle
from his garden and threw at the boat. I wasn't breaking the speed limit, there
were no moored boats and I wasn't making excessive wash, so it must just have
been the heat. I wasn't going back to discuss the incident with him.
From here we continued on hoping to moor at Sutton Stop and eat at The Greyhound
but moorings were rather scarce and the boat ahead bagged the last one right on
the bend, so we carried on to Ansty and moored just passed the pub, eating on
board at 9 PM
Just a 13 hour day
Wed 10 August
We set off at 9 am in the rain, it was warm as the sun was trying hard to peep
through. Just as I was upping sticks a boat came by going very slightly slower
than I would have liked to be travelling but not slow enough to try to pass.
Doing half a MPH less than you want can add a couple of hours to the day.
luckily they stopped for water at Newbold and they are probably still there.
There was a boat in front of them trying to take water and it comes out of our
kettle faster than it was that tap. We topped up with diesel at Cliffton
Cruisers, Rugby. It's still 42p/ltr and they also offer lots of other services
including internet access. There was lots of activity at the Hillmorton flight,
The Ashby Canal Hire boat in front of us tried going up with all 4 paddles up,
it's quite surprising how fast that pound drains. A chap on another Ashby boat
coming was had aground and fell in trying to get afloat and a lady on a
Calcutt boat trying to get into the next lock in also managed to fall in by the
prop which was thrashing away in very little water, the other woman didn't know
how to stop the engine or put the boat into neutral. It was very fortunate that
2 BW men were on the spot, after sorting the lady they set to refilling the
flight. The reason the BW chaps were there was to measure up to increase the
water level by 2" on the weir above the top lock.
As we passed Wigrams Turn Marina I noticed ther now sell diesel at 50p / lt and
do pumpouts for £12.
We arrived at the Napton flight with all the locks in our favour and met a boat
in lots of the pound so we were back on our moorings at 7 30 pm. only a short
day of 10.5 hrs
In 6 days we have covered 160 miles and 60 locks and we have recorder 61 engine