Sunday, 30 June 2013

Weekend in Long Itchington

Long Itchington has a proliferation of pubs, but we did not choose the best one for our Sunday Lunch.  We had agreed to eat with Sharon & Chris from Krystyl and we chose the Duck on the Pond. on the outskirts of the village as they were offering a very reasonably priced 2/3 course Sunday roast.   I booked a table on the Saturday ...........they must have thought heaven had come as we were almost the only people there!!   The lunch was mediocre and the service rather strange so definitely not recommended.   However we actually has a weekend of reasonable weather.  I was able to do some painting on the stern that had been bugging me for a doesn't bug Geoff....he doesn't seem to see it!!!!   I also managed to get a fair amount of sitting in the sun relaxing and reading...great....
Two Boats Pub
On the outskirts of Long Itchington, still for sale if anyone wants a big updating project....
Blue Lias pub situated a couple of locks up the Stockton flight.  However  although you can moor outside the pub itself (and presumably honour bound to go and have a meal) all the moorings opposite are Permit Holders only
Geoff and Barney walked up for a pint on Saturday evening and were invited to join a group of 3 people at another table.   They said they had left their Black Labrador at home so wanted to have Barneys company......

Geoff went to the Local church on Sunday morning but I stayed behind to do my painting...........................

Friday, 28 June 2013

10 more locks to Long Itchington

Last evening we had Chris & Sharon from Krystyl over for drinks before supper and we decided to continue in company up the 10 locks to Long Itchington.   However the planned 8am departure  was put on hold due yet again to the rain.........none of us fancied setting off and getting wet immediately.   By 9.15 the rain miraculously stopped so we set off....only to have the rain start again soon much for the forecast saying it would clear through!!!!   By then we were wet anyway so we just plodded on.   We stopped above  the third lock to use the sani station.   This is one of the less salubrious of BW (sorry CRT) offerings...the elsan emptying place leaves a lot to be desired.
The rain continued for most of the way but once one is wet...what the heck......
Climbing now
Not far to go.....Sharon doing this lock and Geoff and Barney going ahead to set the Bascote staircase of 2.
We moored just before bridge 26 and after struggling to hammer the stakes in (well Geoff did) we discovered that a little further up there were mooring rings, so stakes out we opted for the great security of the rings.   We anticipated quite a few boats going past and since a large number appear to have no idea of what SLOW DOWN PASSING MOORED BOATS means, we felt it was a wise move.

Later going for an evening stroll with Barney I spied this interesting bow fender!!!!

Before supper we repaired to Krystal for drinks,   

Total distance:4.66 miles 
Elapsed time:3h28m14s 
Average speed:1.34 mph (4.22 lock/mph) 

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Day off in Radford Semele

A day of rest after yesterdays exertions.   The moorings here are very congenial, open countryside and a short walk to the village with pub, small shop and buses into Leamington Spa.   Geoff took a bus into Leamington this morning and I visited the recently reopened church.   The church was gutted by an arson attack in the spring of 2008 and has just reopened in May this year.   What was a devastating event has been turned around with an incredible amount of hard work and fund raising to create a completely new interior.
Click here to see how the church looked after the fire

the re-opened church of St Nicholas
during the rebuilding these stairs to the bell tower were discovered.  Previously a ladder was used.

This Millenium window has been completely redone with one of the  original pieces of glass
The original Altar and new window
The new Altar

The old altar position at the end, which can still be used if necessary.  Now used as a coffee shop, meeting room and space for Messy Church
The church is now open at set times on various days with volunteers to greet you and show off all that has been done.  I was met by a lovely lady who told me all about it.

After visiting the church I returned to do some tough up painting.  Geoff eventually returned having walked back from Leamington.

The rain is now back, thankfully my painting is just about dry.......hope the rain goes through in the night as we have 10 locks to do to reach Long Itchington for the weekend.   We are going in company with Krystyl makes life so much easier especially as we shall now be climbing uphill again.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Hatton Flight

Up with the lark again, we had arranged with Krystyna to depart at 7 but in the event we were both ready by 0645 so we set off.  A quick visit to the sani station at the top of Hatton and we were off down the flight at 8.15.     No one else was around for the first few locks but eventually we met one or two  boats coming up.   Yesterday we had seen more boats than we had seen since our departure going in both directions so    we were surprised it wasn't busier.   Back to wide locks now so it is good to have company.   It was an uneventful but pleasant run down and we both had decided to moor below the two Cape locks.  Unfortunately there was no space there so we plodded on looking for another congenial spot......and on....and on....all through Warwick and Leamington and there are no decent moorings or not what we would call decent anyway.    The Nicholsons Guide gives a good write up about the moorings at Leamington ....well there is a line with rings but in a most undesirable place.   Leamington Spa does not show its finer side to the canal route.   We eventually pulled in by Lidls where there is mooring for 3 or 4 boats but after we had shopped and had lunch we decided to carry on to Radford Semele where we knew there were good moorings in the countryside.   After such lovely surroundings of the Hatton Flight the environs of Warwick and Leamington leave a lot to be desired.   We have since been told by another boat that one can go into the Salford Arm and stay one night free and thereafter £5 in very secure surroundings.
Time down the 21 Hatton locks was just under 3 hours
Bet they have uneven floors....
Pub at Turners Green which Geoff thought he remembered being derelict last time we were here......

One down, 20 to go!
The cafe at the top looks inviting but we had only just started is so early there are no gongoozlers about
Plenty of locks ahead.

Geoff working hard
Cape locks with the Cape of Good Hope Pub

Total distance:9.14 miles

Elapsed time:6h0m8s



Average speed:1.52 mph (5.35 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

A lie-in and a short day Whoopee

Just three locks to the top and round the corner to position ourselves for the Hatton Flight on Wednesday.

It was like Piccadilly Circus at the junction,....... well 5 or so boats milling around........luckily we did not need water so did not have to join the queue there so just a couple of nice sharp turns onto the GU and moored a couple of miles from the top of Hatton.   We have arranged with Krystyna to go down the locks with them...they are in fact the boat that pulled out in front of us yesterday and made the skipper so grumpy......but we have chatted to them and they are a very pleasant couple from New Zealand.   Consequently the skipper is in much better humour today!!

Total distance:1.16 miles 
Elapsed time:1h28m57s 
Average speed:0.79 mph (2.81 lock/mph) 

Monday, 24 June 2013

Onward to Kingswood Junction.

Wooton Wawen Moorings with Aqueduct in the background

Last nights sky had the supermoon, and luckily the sky was clear enough to see it.

The day did not start well as despite our early start a boat pulled out just ahead of us which made certain people very grumpy for most of the day....somehow it was my fault!!!!!!  There were 17 locks all the way to Kingswood junction so Geoff had visions of a slower than normal trip.  However the boat ahead was very kind and as they went through each of the locks they cracked the paddle for us so in fact we could have had a very pleasant day if the skipper hadn't been so much of a grump!!!
Water Iris in full bloom now

An interesting Garden ornament

 We also met a few boats coming down which helped things.   nevertheless by the time we had climbed 14 locks I had had enough.   I spotted a very congenial mooring spot and had the temerity to suggest we stopped for the was after all almost lunch time.    This did not improve the skippers humour, he seemed hell bent on reaching the top.....why I do not know.....but stop we did......and my punishment for making such an outlandish suggestion was that I could not get an internet connection.....C'est la vie.....

Total distance:5.47 miles 
Elapsed time:4h57m17s 
Average speed:1.10 mph (3.93 lock/mph) 

Sunday, 23 June 2013

weekend in Wooten Wawen


An early start on Saturday...yet we did not want to be in a queue going up the 16 locks out of Stratford.

First we had to turn in the basin.   Geoff was designated photographer with Barney assisting.  Luckily there is plenty of room to turn so despite the strong wind blowing I did not disgrace myself in front of the unexpected audience....mostly men.....why they were all up at 7.30 is a mystery!!

Leda the swan guides me out.....
As we rose in the first lock two more boats came up behind, it was obviously early morning for everyone.......however we would only have the advantage for the first 4 locks as our aim was to be at Valley Cruisers at 8,30 as soon as they opened to fill up with fuel and empty the loos.   We had called them on the way down and been assured by a very friendly gentleman that we were welcome to come for whatever we needed... and that we could declare our own split on fuel.
Our timing was spot on and we pulled up on the dot of 8.30 only to be greeted by a less than friendly man who said we could not have fuel as it was changeover day!!!   Maybe we should have thought of that......
He did say they might be able to do it after 9 o clock when they had dealt with some of the boats and when we said that was OK and where would they like us to wait we were told to go over the other side of the canal (in the bushes and nettles!)  We ignored that and tied up to one of their boats and prepared to wait patiently.   Miraculously he appeared about 5 mins later (it was obviously the easiest way to get rid of us) and filled us up.   However when paying he said he would only do 60/40 and there seemed no point in arguing at that point.......
We carried on our way behind one of the other boats.   After a few locks we met people coming down so it was all quite painless and indeed a pleasant run.   Even the strong by-washes at some of the locks did not cause much of a problem.
The weather was even reasonably kind to us apart from the strongish wind.   The only time it really caused a problem was going over the Edstone Aqueduct.  This is the longest Aqueduct in England ( Note I do not say UK) Under normal circumstances I am not keen on these things, (although they are not as bad a tunnels) but with today's wind I was most unimpressed.   I spent the entire crossing in the cockpit with Geoff (to give him support) but with my eyes closed and head down.......he moaned that I could have been taking a video of us crossing!!
One more lock and one more small aqueduct and we were in Wooten Wawen, our destination for the weekend.

Total distance:6.85 miles 
Elapsed time:5h55m18s 
Average speed:1.16 mph (4.03 lock/mph) 


The village has a large Saxon church (730AD) which we attended for the 11 o'clock service on Sunday.
A warm welcome from the curate who was taking the service and several of the congregation.   They had a large choir and a good organist so the singing was good.

Geoff viewing their display of Church History
The choir stalls on the side
The Aqueduct here is much smaller than the Edstone but still quite a grand affair.
Seen from the road beneath
In October this year they will be celebrating its centenary
After church we went to the Navigation Inn for Sunday lunch which was the best value for money we have had in a long time.   £11.95 for 3 courses + coffee and the food was home cooked and delicious......highly recommended.   They had homemade steamed syrup sponge on the menu which is one of my favourites so I was unable to move for the rest of the day!!

Friday, 21 June 2013

sojourn in Stratford

A very  gentle few days here before we begin the climb out early tomorrow morning.
So far no problems on our canal mooring (our ropes were untied last time we moored here).
Thursday evening we went to the RSC to see a production of As You Like It.  It was extremely well done, the only frustrating thing is not being able to hear all the words clearly.  I was not alone as Geoff had the same problem.  Part of the problem is that we are perhaps not as familiar with Shakespeare's language as we might be!!  I was not certain it was my cup of tea but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It was certainly streets ahead of the last Shakespeare production we went to.  That was in the open air theatre by Reading Goal when we were moored there a few years ago.  That was so abysmal that I left half way through...... Prior to this show we treated ourselves to a pre-theatre dinner in the rooftop restaurant which was excellent and great views over the river and meadows.

Although the meadows are busy during the day, if one were moored on the river you would have it almost to yourselves in the evening.    There are half a dozen boats moored there but tons of space.  We have contented ourselves this time with walking the meadows and river walks.

Sad to leave tomorrow but we have a deadline to be back at Clifton.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

and so to Stratford

Forecast promised a good day so we were up the lark and on our way down the 16 locks to Stratford.    Mostly set out way apart from the odd leaky one.   Geoff and Barney hopped aboard occasionally for the quick cup of coffee (well Geoff did!!) but they both walked a fair way to Stratford.
Most have quite strong bywashes when exiting
The bywashes make life slightly interesting on the way out but will be more fun on the way back up no doubt....

We had met a man on a boat last night who told us the pounds were quite low and to take care, however we found they were all exceedingly full and in a couple of cases the locks were overflowing.

And so to Stratford.  We decided to moor just before the entry to Bancroft Basin.  Although there was plenty of space on the pontoons it is much more convenient with Barney being on the towpath.  My ideal would have been to go down through the first lock onto the Avon and moor in the meadow.   However a short term licence for 48 hours + mooring would have cost us £30 and with the forecast not brilliant we decided (I think Geoff decided!!) to forego the pleasure.........

Total distance:3.45 miles 
Elapsed time:3h39m22s 
Average speed:0.94 mph (5.32 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

On the move again

The stretch of the canal may not have started well for us at Bordesley Junction but once past Catherine-de-Barnes we were back in countryside and our mooring on the outskirts of Knowle was much so that we decided to pause awhile.........
It was a 10 minute walk into Knowle which had good shops, huge church and a selection of pubs and restaurants.   We explored on Friday, checked the times of the church services for Sunday and booked a meal for Sunday.   This time we chose to go in the evening as it was Father's day and we thought there might be less children at that time!!!   Also the Greswolde Arms Hotel were offering 3 course for £14 instead of 2 if you went after 6pm......
Knowle Parish Church as they seem to call themselves(St John the Baptist and St Lawrence & Anne is what the book says) is huge with lots going on, 5 services on Sunday and lots of groups for the younger generation.   We chose the 11am Communion and met a large number of families coming out of the 9.30 service.   There must have been a good 50+ at our service.  Later we walked back to the village (it is really a bit more than a village) for our dinner which was excellent.......recommended if anyone is passing that way.
After a 4 day stay in a very pleasant spot we set off bright and early to tackle our first double locks of the year.   My day did not start well as Barney indicated to me that he wanted to go out at 5.30am....most unusual for him so I felt I had to was a false day never really recovered, I felt out of sorts all day!!   The locks themselves were OK as we were going down, but there is nowhere to tie up in the large in-between pounds and they were all set against us so it was a long hover for me and a fair bit of walking for Geoff & Barney...  
The stretch to the junction was pleasant enough and this looked like a good cruising club.

When we reached Kingswood junction we turned to go down the Stratford canal and met our first boat of the day on the move......and guess what.......they were just starting down the locks!!!!!    I knew it wasn't my day......
We completed 5 locks and then someone passing told us there was a hold up ahead as one of the lock gates was stuck.   Since we were in a pretty enough spot and with room to moor between the lock bollards we decided to call it a day.  (No internet connection)
The sun made it's only appearance of the day through the trees later in the evening
This morning was another early start and this was a much better day........nobody in front of us for the locks (no one else gets up at that time of the morning!!!)  several set in our favour and the ones that were against were because of leaky gates.

Under the M40 to start 
Glad we are underneath

Pretty flowers on the banks all along this stretch
Unusual lock cottages
Patiently waiting for the lock to empty
Pretty bridges over many of the locks with a gap in the middle for the horses rope to pass through
another lock cottage

and yet another....rather a strange one....
The Edstone Aqueduct, not quite the Pontcysyllte  but  I preferred Geoff to be steering!

...and so to Wilmcote moorings....ahead are another 16 locks to Stratford so as it was nearly lunch time we decided to stop for the day.   We are still amazed at how quiet the canal is...........every boat yard we pass seems to have plenty of their boats idle.......

Monday 17th

Total distance:4.87 miles 
Elapsed time:5h52m30s 
Average speed:0.83 mph (2.36 lock/mph)

Tuesday 18th

Total distance:8.54 miles
 Elapsed time:5h7m43s
Average speed:1.66 mph (4.39 lock/mph)