It’s been quite a time since we picked up the new boat from near Manchester and set out down to Leamington. The Leamington area is where we are going to base ourselves whilst Karen continues with her contract at National Grid. It’s a great area as there are several canals all within commuting distance of her office. It also means Buddy and I get lots of cruising in moving around the different areas. By Saturday evening, nine days after picking her up, we have travelled 105 miles and been through 72 locks on Chalkhill Blue 2.
It was a bit grey and misty when we left Atherstone Friday morning:
Not helped by the stove fire being particularly smoky
We finished off up the last seven locks of the Atherstone flight and continued towards Hawkesbury junction to join the North Oxford canal. At the first lock we passed a couple of historic working boats being taken out by a boat heritage society.
The butty waiting for us to come out of the lock
The butty has no engine and is towed behind the working boat. They have to be unhitched in narrow locks as they cannot go in side by side. Working boats were generally operated as pairs in this way.
Passing Judkins Hill – the spoil heap from old quarrying
We were going to carry on for a while along the Oxford but got talking to a couple of walkers on the towpath beside us. They were heading for the Greyhound pub at the junction and it rather whetted our appetite. We moored up at Hawkesbury and went down to the pub for a couple of drinks.
The pub was packed as usual and we got chatting to a couple who had been on the canals for 40 years; they used to run a boatyard in Watford but their son has taken over. His partner in the business was a guy we met when we were cruising around London – small world. The couple live in Aylesbury and keep their boats (yes, they have two) in the new marina there. They used to keep their boats in the basin in the town centre but that has now been redeveloped and the boats moved out. Another coincidence, we have recently bought a flat in the basin redevelopment overlooking the new visitor moorings outside Waitrose.
When we were in Hawkesbury a month or so ago we were sorry to see one of the old lockside buildings had started collapsing. We wondered then whether it would ever be restored.
Lockside building collapsing six weeks ago
To our dismay it had been completely removed – I suppose it’s not surprising as there would have been quite a cost associated with rebuilding it.
On Saturday we set off for Rugby – no locks but a cruise of 13 miles through countryside but with constant sightings of the M6 and M69 and railway lines. Karen took the opportunity to bake a Bakewell tart to keep me going cake-wise during the week,
Fresh out of the oven
We moored up on the offside at Brownsover, one of the few places where offside mooring is allowed.
Moored at Brownsover – one of our boating friend Les’s favourite moorings
Buddy eagerly awaiting the arrival of the food train
We spent Saturday evening in and planned to have an easy day on Sunday.