Monday, 5 September 2016

Brinklow (first blackberry and apple pie of the year)

Whilst Karen was WFH on Friday, I took the boat through Rugby and onto a little village called Cathiron.  After going through Rugby we went through Newbold tunnel, our first tunnel for several months.  It is a short tunnel, only 250 yards long, and was built wide enough for two boats to pass and also has a towpath either side.  It was built in the 1820s when the North Oxford canal was straightened.  The original tunnel portals can still be traced – we visited them on 1st September 2015 with Catherine and included them in the blog of that day (Our visit to the original Newbold tunnel).

Entering the southern portal of Newbold tunnel

In the early 2000s coloured lighting was installed in the tunnel to celebrate Diwali but sadly the lights have been slowly vandalised over the years and the local council no longer repair them.

I found this picture on the web taken when the lights were still working

Before setting off on the Friday I had a chat with Graham who was moored on his boat behind us.  I had noticed the licence number on his boat was only a few numbers different to ours and the boat looked practically the same.  It turned out he had bought his from the same hire company we had bought ours from.  Like us he had used a roving boat painter to smarten the boat up and, like us, was unimpressed with the work.  Like with most things, you get what you pay for.  

We sometimes wonder how people cope living on boats when they have several dogs, especially large ones like German Shepherds.  On our way to Cathiron we passed this boat with a massive dog on board.

Clever lifesaving collar on this big dog

We moored up at Cathiron near a bridge so we could go and fetch the car from Hillmorton.

Rather dark mooring at Cathiron between the trees – not our usual sort of spot

Once Karen finished work we had a seven mile cycle ride back to get the car and Buddy ran practically the whole way.  He must have been relieved that the sun wasn’t out.

On Saturday we moved on another few miles to Brinklow which is where we first met our boat builder exactly a year ago.  We were amazed to find that it is a year since we placed the order for the new boat.

Our mooring with other boats at Brinklow

It seemed to be raining all day on Saturday and we got rather wet walking the five miles back to get the car in the afternoon.

Sun setting on Saturday evening after the rain had stopped

On Sunday morning we went on a circular walk taking in a real mix of environments – farmland, railway lines and crossing the M6 motorway a couple of times. 

We passed the site of the medieval village of Upper Smite

When we got back to the canal we noticed a pungent smell and then saw that the water was unusually black.  We couldn’t work out what was causing it and it strangely cleared as we walked under the M6.

Black canal near the M6

The blackberries in this area seemed to be particularly plump and ripe so we picked plenty and Karen made our first blackberry and apple crumble of the year.  It seemed rather later than usual for our first but we will make sure we pick plenty more blackberries during the week and put them in the freezer.
Later on we met up with Catherine, Karen’s eldest daughter, who caught a train down from Nottingham to see us for the afternoon.

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