Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tuesday 19th May Leamington Spa

We did manage to get away last Thursday (after the rain had stopped!) and moored in a very congenial spot just above the bottom lock at Napton and close to the shop by the Folly Inn. Above Napton Bottom Lock

On Friday, once again after the rain had ceased (is this to be the story of this summer yet again?) A gentle 3 hours and we moored by the Boat Inn above the Stockton Locks. We had made a short stop at Calcutt Boats to buy a new winch handle as Geoff had left one behind at Napton (Good find for someone)
On Saturday we went down the 10 Stockton Locks. Now we are back to double locks it is nice to have company and we were lucky. After the first 2 on our own STAFFORDSHIRE BULL waited for us and so life was easier. Half the work for Geoff at the locks and much easier when two boats are wedged in and I don't drift all over the lock. Give me single locks any day!

Ex-Lock keepers cottage bottom of Stockton Locks

It was great to see this cottage obviously well looked after. Such a contrast to the one we passed on the Oxford.

Stockton Locks

Two Boats Inn, Bottom of Stockton

We found a good mooring below bridge 26 not far from the Two Boats pub. In fact one is spoilt for choice in this area. There are two pubs on the canal and 4 in the nearby village of Long Itchington. The village also boasts a shop and a church so we were all set for the weekend.
Saturday evening I recc'ed the two canalside pubs. Food at the Two Boats looked good BUT they didn't do a roast on Sunday and the Cuttle Inn did.....so no contest really.
From my point of view the only downside of the mooring was no internet connection........maybe not a bad thing as I managed to do much more reading. Luckily at the last stop I had downloaded several geocaches in the area and printed them out. (If you don't know what I am talking about see the link to the right under 2009 cruising). In between the bouts of rain we managed to find 3 which gave us some pleasant walking. However another one which involved lots of clues all the way down the locks had us stumped as we couldn't find one of the clues. Very frustrating.

Long Itchington Church viewed from our mooring

We had a warm welcome at Church on Sunday morning followed by coffee and a chat to some of the locals. We had walked up to the village in the dry but came out to pouring rain yet again. Still very windy as it has been for days...makes getting into the locks so interesting!

Long Itchington Church

One of the geocaches was near the top of the Bascote Locks about a mile+ from our mooring. Barnaby and I set off to do this one on Sunday Evening. The path was very muddy and part way along we had to shelter under one of the bridges during a heavy shower but I did manage to find the cache....first time on my own....

The sign on the door of the cottage in the picture below says Toll House, wonder what it was like here when all the working barges were coming through.

Toll House top of Bascote Locks

Monday 18th saw us on the move again. The goal was Leamington. We shared the first few locks with a small hire boat but then they caught up with a single ahead and we were left alone. However at the next lock we saw another boat coming in the distance so waited for them......what a mistake!!! They were 4 reasonably mature (can't say older!) men on board and sharing the locks was no problem. However when we came out of the last lock we said they could go ahead as they were planning to go further than we were. They then proceeded to go at snails pace (we don't go fast) which was very frustrating. To add insult to injury when we reached Leamington they took the last mooring space outside Lidl's which was where we were planning to moor! We tried to get in slightly further ahead but it was too shallow. By now it was pouring with rain again and life was not congenial! Eventually we managed to back up to some mooring bollards on the offside near some residential housing. In retrospect dare I say we are better off here!

The plan was to continue today and do the Hatton Flight but my back is playing up (could it have been the horse riding!) so we will have at least one rest day. At least I have a reasonable connection here so can catch up with various things.

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