Friday, 12 December 2014

Intrepid explorers


Wednesday night was windy but the wind had abated by the time we got up on Thursday morning.  We decided to get to the current end of the Ashby canal and then walk along the route of the disused section.  Karen was driving so had to navigate through Snarestone tunnel, her first.


As mentioned yesterday the tunnel has a kink in it and the roof is also a lot lower at the northern end – the lowest we had ever seen in a tunnel and we only just got through without knocking the bikes or chimney off.

When we got to the terminus we turned round (wound) and reversed up to the water point to fill up.

We had a chat with the old couple who live in the other boat.  They are moored here permanently and look after the shop and information centre.  We mentioned the new marina at Market Bosworth and he turned his nose up as he couldn’t understand people living on marinas when there are thousands of miles of canals and rivers to cruise; he likened it to living on a housing estate.  We agreed with him because the boats are like houses on water as marinas have all creature comforts such as electric hook ups so there are no worries about how to generate power.  Marina living is not a cheap option unless you don’t have a house.  A new boat, as most seem to be on marinas, will cost between £100,000 and £200,000 which is obviously cheaper than a house but marina fees will be around £4,000 to £5,000 a year then there’s the running costs, licence, insurance, safety certificate, fuel, gas and coal etc.

Anyway we bought some second hand novels and an Ashby canal plaque from them to add to our collection.  We only buy plaques for canals and rivers we actually go on.


We had an early lunch and then walked the three miles to Measham following the line of the disused canal.  In most places it wasn’t obvious as most of it was filled in 50 years ago but it was across a lot of open countryside and, yet again, we had plenty of blue sky.

In Measham high street you can look over the bridge parapet and see where the canal used to run.  Now there is just an old Morris/Austin 1100 rotting away down there on the right.

At one point there was a marker indicating the names and depths of the coal seams below the canal – the reason the canal was originally built and also the reason it fell into disuse through subsidence.


There were some pretty muddy places but as we are intrepid explorers we weren’t deterred.  As Buddy is so girlie he tries to avoid mud and tip toes if he cannot avoid it.  Although at one point he was chasing a yellow wagtail in a field and it kept flying low , as they do, around an extremely muddy area that had been churned up by cows.  Buddy seemed to forget about his mud aversion and was leaping all over it.  We were in fits of laughter watching him.


We walked back the way we came so had a nice six mile walk before it got dark.  When we got home a fuel boat was coming past so we bought some coal.  We hadn’t realised that a fuel boat covered the Ashby otherwise we wouldn’t have filled up with diesel at the marina the other day.  Not only are fuel boats cheaper we like to give them our custom to help keep them in business.  Here is Mark leaving us after dropping off five bags of coal. He is able to moor at the wharf at end of the canal where he arranges for the different fuel lorries (diesel, gas and coal) to deliver.  The fuel boat owners live in the short cabin at the end of the boat just like the old working boat families used to do.  Mark was on his own, well he did have a dog, but we have also met couples who run fuel boats as well.

Now, as Karen is baking me a ginger cake I feel it is only fair to make her some mulled wine.

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