Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Kind October weather for our last few days cruising.

Friday night we moored well outside Braunston and I think Geoff harboured thoughts that we would walk in from there for our planned cooked breakfast at the Gongoozlers Rest Cafe!!!

I was not so keen on that idea so Saturday morning earlyish, reluctantly on Geoff's part, we motored further in.  Rather I motored and Geoff and Barnaby walked.......

We had a couple of attempts at mooring before the junction in what are designated as 14 day moorings.   But there was nowhere we could get close enough to the bank........however as we turned right at the junction we found there were lots of spaces and we moored fairly close to the end.

After a good breakfast and a wander round Braunston we returned to Petroc and Geoff discovered he couldn't get a TV picture, so it was up sticks and on we go.    We turned at the marina entrance and went back out past the junction and onto the north Oxford section.    No spaces in our preferred spot with the lovely view of the church so we ended up a bit further out.   Good TV picture here so we stayed!!

We had a mixture of a gentle weekend but interspersed with some cleaning preparatory to abandoning Petroc for the winter.    In my case this meant cleaning the oven....grrrrrh.......

We debated staying over Monday night but the towpath back into Braunston is not the best so we decided to carry on.  We had thoughts of making for the top Hillmorton locks but when we were just short of Barby the view was too good to miss......lovely open field full of cows and the sun was shining.......just right for our last night.  

We discovered that adjacent to us just behind the hedge was the start of yet another marina.....Dunchurch Pools Marina........

At tea time Perentis with friends Dick and Gill aboard pulled up in front of us so it was tea on their boat and after supper, drinks on Petroc.   Dick was disappointed that Geoff was having a dry October........at least that kept the two of them from getting into trouble!!

The weather for our last few days has been really kind.......chillier but plenty of sunshine and only the odd shower when we have been safely tied up.

So today it was the final 3 lock at Hillmorton and the last run of the year.    Geoff and Barney walked the whole way.  This kept them warm but I was a mite chilly steering Petroc.  The early morning mist was a bit slow to clear.   However I discovered that my small hot water bottle tucked under my several layers worked wonders.....

Here endeth out 10th year of cruising..........Back in April 2017 all being well.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Redeemed by a box of Liquorice Allsorts!

Not such a bright start to the day but considerably milder and NO RAIN.

This is the 3rd day in a row of lots of locks........if we hadn't wanted to get back to Cornwall to prepare for the visit of grandchildren we would no doubt have taken a day of rest in between!!

Today was our 44th Wedding anniversary and I had remembered!!  Geoff had failed but was able to redeem himself when he walked to the village store for the paper.........they sold cards and miraculously had a large box of my favourite Liquorice Allsorts

We thought our luck was in as we were joined at the first lock out of Long Itchington by a hire boat with a big crew.....however after the second lock they were stopping at the pub for their cooked breakfast.  We continued on our solitary way but the locks were all set in our favour and we took it gently.  We managed the first 10 locks in just about 2 hours and then cruised very slowly to the junction whilst we had a very welcome coffee and scones.......

Couldn't see the kitchen sink! 
Just the 3 Calcutt locks after that and a run along to bridge 100 (about 1.5 miles outside Braunston) where we planned to moor for the night.  Once again alone in the locks......we picked up a boat ahead  as we passed Ventnor Farm Marina but sadly he turned into Calcutt marina......C'est la vie

Total distance:7.70 miles 
Elapsed time:4h43m21s
Average speed:1.63 mph (4.38 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

More locks and another crisp October day

A sight we don't often see on the towpath....
We are used to making way for cyclists but I think this is the first time we have seen a horse being ridden.  

A glorious morning and we were on our way around 9am.......no one to share the locks with but we took them slowly, just one paddle and one gate and they were all in our favour.   

Approaching the Bascote flight of 2
and looking back down from the top lock of the Bascote flight.
Then a short run to moor just before Long Itchington.   No good going further in as there are several nice pubs and Geoff has decided to have a DRY October.!!

Total distance:4.84 miles 
Elapsed time:3h52m56s 
Average speed:1.25 mph (3.57 lock/mph) 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Down the Hatton Flight we go

As we pulled away at our normal early hour....8am this morning...the plan was to sit in the top lock and wait a while to see if any of the other 3 boats came to join us.   Geoff had passed the owners of the hotel boat as he walked along and they said they were not leaving until 10...too long to wait.

I had visions of a sausage and bacon bap from the cafe at the top lock so was happy to wait until they opened at 9.  However I checked with the lady who was opening up at about 8.30 and was told they had no baps today...only thick bread....which did not appeal.

So with no sign of any boats we decided to go it alone.   It was a beautiful crisp morning, only slightly chilly.   After about 4/5 locks we had the good fortune to meet a lockie volunteer.  He helped us down for the next dozen or so which certainly speeded things up.

After he bade us farewell we decided it was coffee break time (we had offered him but he declined) so we sat in one lock for a slight pause.

Most of the locks are like this going down......no lack of water around here.
I had visions of a nice sit in the sun after the 21 locks but Geoff had other ideas......he wanted to get as far as Radford Semele so we had two more locks at the Cape of Good Hope.  We were luckier here as we met another boat who had moored overnight so were able to share the last two.

A short pause for a quick shop in Tesco's as we went round the back end of Leamington Spa.   Leamington does not show a good face to the canal and we have never been inclined to moor there overnight.   Radford Semele is sufficiently far away and the mooring is pleasant and it even has a shop in the village......a pub and a church too if we want but we didn't this time.

A longer day than I had anticipated but the weather was good so no real complaints.......

Total distance:7.07 miles 
Elapsed time:5h56m10s 
Average speed:1.19 mph (5.07 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Back on board

Only 7 hours from door to door!!!  However the train journey was relatively painless from Cornwall.  Even the change in Birmingham from new Street to Moor Street station is quite easy provided you don't have a heavy case.

During my absence Geoff did two short trips.  He went up to the bottom of the locks at Knowle as it was a pleasant mooring and he could walk into the village ( a fair stride but such good exercise for him!!)  The second trip was just back to Lapworth to collect me yesterday.

This morning we set off on a lovely clear morning to go as far as Shrewley tunnel.   The plan was to meet the Gillespies for lunch at the Durham Ox.  This all worked well apart from the fact that Christine didn't make it due to a heavy cold.  However we had an excellent lunch with Ian and Fiona.  We can thoroughly recommend the pub as the food was very reasonably priced and a nice friendly landlord.

Geoff departing Lapworth whilst Barney and I walked.
After lunch we moved on about a mile closer to the top of the Hatton Flight, ready for the 21/23 locks tomorrow.    3 boats moored just ahead of us.....dare we hope for company down the locks tomorrow.??

Friday, 23 September 2016

And so to the top at Kingswood Junction (Lapworth)

One of those beautiful days on the canal.  It was a really crisp autumnal morning (especially at 6.45 when I took Barney for his early morning stroll!)

Unrelievedly there was no one ahead of us and the locks were mostly set in our favour.   If they weren't it was due to leaky top gates.

This is when we think we are really blessed....sun shining, lovely surroundings
Ahead is the lock with a bridge overhead carrying the M40...those poor commuters
and the hum of the traffic is quite loud.......
In fact we didn't see another boat until we met one coming down from the top lock.   It was manned by 5 men one of whom asked, me as he walked by Petroc waiting close to the bottom of the lock, if I was waiting for them to come out of the lock!!!!

The water point is directly as you leave the top lock and surprise surprise there was our second boat of the day!   There is not really room for two boats to tie up without blocking the entrance to the lock so we pulled in and waited patiently for him to finish.......he was washing his boat....very thoroughly!!
When he had finished and put his hose away he obviously had designs on a remedial cup of coffee so he asked me if they were OK for a while................................I was very polite with my reply...................Geoff told me afterwards that he had said to him that he was always getting disturbed when he was doing things like that so Geoff told him he should get up early in the morning and do it!!

We were not disturbed whilst watering but I could not persuade Geoff to treat our boat to a wash so after we had filled up with water we went round the corner and found our mooring.

This is where I depart for Cornwall tomorrow.  Geoff is planning some time here and also going up to the bottom of the locks at Knowle (just south of Solihull)

Total distance:2.15 miles 
Elapsed time:3h26m37s 
Average speed:0.62 mph (3.24 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 22 September 2016

More locks

Just 8 today...we are taking the ascent from Stratford to Lapworth in easy stages.

We had a boat ahead of us so it was slow going but the weather was fine so it was a pleasant morning.

We managed to moor at Lowensford opposite the Fleur de Lys pub at the opportune time of 1245 so it seems silly not to go for a pint......well pint for Geoff and 1/2 for me!

Absolutely no phone or wifi signal the only downside.........

Total distance:3.81 miles 
Elapsed time:3h9m0s 
Average speed:1.21 mph (2.80 lock/mph)