Thursday, 29 September 2011

Winter home on a sunny hot day

We made the short hop from Crick to Yelvertoft Marina this morning.  Triskaideka will be here over the winter, although we are hoping that we will be back out on the cut in the next couple of weeks to enjoy some more autumn weather.

We spent the afternoon washing the outside of the boat and catching up on the washing.  We had a visit from Kinver Canopies who measured up and quoted for a tonneau cover for the winter.  We were really pleased as Johns car started first time, obviously the small solar panel we bought that plugs into the 12v socket in the car has worked as it has been stood since June.


Cracks Hill

Autumn colours

2 miles

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Fabulous Day

We awoke to a misty but sunny morning, by the time we set off it was already getting warm.  We cruised to the bottom of the Watford flight expecting a long queue but there was only one other boat waiting and another couple came in behind us.  However there were three about to come down so we had quiet a wait, but in the lovely weather it wasn't a problem, we chatted to the other boaters and waited our turn, helping out as we all started to go up.  Once up the locks we cruised along towards Crick, even the noise of the M1 couldn't spoil the day, once through the tunnel we decided to stop for a late lunch at the Moorings, we couldn't resist when we saw people outside eating and having a drink in the sun.  We then decided to stay in Crick until tomorrow, eking out our return to the marina one more day!

 Misty Morning

Watford Locks
(the flowers always look great here, all done by the lock keepers) 

Exiting Crick Tunnel

5.5 miles 7 locks

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Onto the Leicester Line - Marina Bound

We left Napton yesterday after a lovely evening with Jane and Paul, we cruised back to Braunston.  We were still having problems with the engine, so Neil from Beacon came out to meet us, we did two trips back towards Napton, the first one to demonstrate the vibration and the second after some adjustments to the exhaust system.  It did seem much better but we still have the rattle on the stern gland.  Neil is going to come back once we are back at Yelvertoft to see if he can get to the bottom of the problem. We were amazed that we managed to get back into the same moorings at Brauston on our second return.

We left Braunston this morning and shared the six locks with two lovely ladies, the owner of the boat is 79 and still cruising, her friend was spending a week with her to help with the locks, they haven't done bad they have been up and down the Hatton flight.  I was a bit apprehensive about the tunnel knowing we have a problem but we got through fine, passing three boats coming in the other direction.  We turned onto the Leicester line at Norton Junction with very mixed feelings as this is definitely nearly home, especially as the weather has been fantastic today.

We have moored for the day opposite Welton Hythe Marina.  We walked back to the services with the cassette as when we came past there was no-where to stop.  Once we had dealt with it we went to the pub and gongoozled at the top lock, leaving the trolley and cassette discreetly hidden in some bushes in the pub garden.

Napton Junction 

Exiting Braunston tunnel (2042 yards)

Monday 5.5 miles
Tuesday 5.5 miles 6 locks

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Braunston to Napton

We left Braunston yesterday, stopping at the services, after watching the rugby, good result but an expected win.  We only had a short cruise to Napton, stopping for diesel on the way.  We did catch up with a day boat from Braunston, who came to a stop everytime a boat came towards him or when he got to a bridge.  Taking into account that lots of narrowboats were coming towards Brauston, we assume out of the marinas for the weekend as there was a lot for it to just be traffic from Napton and off the Grand Union, it did make for a longer cruise than we anticipated, never mind we are not in a hurry and it did charge the batteries back up!

Once moored we went for a walk and a gongoozle although not many were at the locks, probably due to the restrictions further up at New Marston.  We have stayed here today and are meeting Jane and Paul later for dinner at the Boat Inn.

Leaving Braunston

6.5 Miles

Friday, 23 September 2011

Out of the mouth of babes

We had a later start this morning, it was a lovely day, sunny, but with a definite nip in the air.  We think we have sussed the problem with the engine vibration, it seems to be the exhaust, we ascertained this by me laying with my head in the engine hole as we went along listening and looking for where it was coming from.  We had tightened a bracket up recently, which was causing a rattle, this has probably then caused the vibration, we stopped loosened the bracket back off, when we continued, the rattle is back and the vibration isn't as bad, so we are hoping this is the cause, once we are back at Yelvertoft, Beacon will come and have a look and hopefully sort it out.

We continued to Brauston, we wanted to stop, but its always busy so we were pleasantly surprised when we came across a gap just on the approach, we moored and fortunately have managed to get a TV signal as I want to watch  the rugby in the morning.  We have had a walk up to the top lock, we were fortunate to get a mooring as there were no other spaces all the way up.

We went for tea at the Boathouse, whilst in the loo, a woman came out of the loo, looked in the mirror and adjusted her hair and walked out, a little girl was with her mum and as the women went out of the door, said to her mum, very loudly 'mummy that lady didn't wash her hands", the woman must of heard her, the little girls mum acknowledged what the little girl has said, but she wouldn't let it rest going on about how you should always wash your hands when you have been to the loo, I though it was really funny 'out of the mouths of babes', I just hope the woman wasn't sat near the little girl as no doubt she would have gone back and told everyone at her table!

So an early start in the morning, but not necessarily setting off, just getting up as the match starts at 7am.

More bridge art (rugby through the years)
I always wonder why this is not closer to Rugby

Barby Marina - now with boats
 (but apparently very little services) 

6 miles

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Two short Hops

We turned onto the Oxford Canal at Hawkesbury Junction yesterday after using one of the slowest water points we have ever come across.  John got around in one without any bow thruster help (well done you!).  We went through the stop lock and set off down the Oxford.  We planned to get to Hilmorton, however after a few miles we both thought that there was something wrong with the engine or something as it didn't sound right.  We stopped and checked the weed hatch and prop, nothing there, had a good look around the engine, looked ok, so continued.  We were ok in neutral, but as soon as any revs were on it didn't sound happy and there was a vibration from the prop shaft.  We decided to stop at Brinklow Marina and rang Beacon, after a chat with Neil he contacted Sam from Foxton Boat Services, who agreed to come out today.  It was interesting to say the least getting into Brinklow, its very open and it was very windy, coupled with they wanted us right at the top of the marina, the most exposed bit.  It took three people to hold Triskaideka so we could moor up as the wind was blowing against the side!  Well at least we caught up with the washing and cleaning, and it was nice to be hooked up to electricity for a while.

This morning I walked into Brinklow to the shop, whilst I was gone Sam arrived and after checking the engine, prop etc he couldn't find anything wrong.  After Sam had gone we continued along to Rugby, there is still a vibration from the prop and at certain revs the engine doesn't sound correct, however it is ok at other revs.  John has spoken to Neil from Beacon tonight and he has suggested looking at the stern gland whilst running.  We are happy to continue as we have had the engine checked over.  If we are still not happy once we get back then Neil and or Sam will come to us and go out with us so they can experience it.   We did a quick Tesco shop in Rugby and continued to Hilmorton.  Along the way a boat came around the corner and we both said 'that's got to be a Beacon Boat' due to the colour scheme, it was, it was Ethleron, who we met earlier in the summer on the Ashby canal.  A quick 'hello & are you ok' as we passed was all we could manage.  When we arrived at Hilmorton there was a queue for the locks, there are restrictions on this flight.  There are three locks but two chambers at each lock, once each of the chambers is closed off, due to water shortages.  There was four boats in front, however once through the first lock I was astounded to find a queue of five boats for the next lock, I assumed that as boats were going in each direction that once through the first lock that was it, but for some reason this was not the case.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to get through, consequently once through we found a nice mooring and stopped for the day.
Hawkesbury Junction

Oxford Canal

All Oaks Wood

Newbold Tunnel

inside Newbold Tunnel (coloured lights)

Bridge Art

Fungi at Hilmorton

 Waiting for the second lock

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Short hop to Hawkesbury Junction

Today brought the first real taste of autumn, whilst it was not cold, it was windy and very grey.  The leaves are falling (along with acorns, which bounce well off the roof), note to self, do not moor under a oak tree!  We haven't gone far today, just through Nuneaton and to Hawkesbury Junction.  Just after we moored the grey sky turned greyer and it started raining, and has continued for the rest of the day.  Shortly after we moored another boat pulled in behind, I went to help the lady pull it in as it was quiet windy, they have only had the boat for two weeks, its the latest Fernwood.  I didn't catch the name but will have a look tomorrow, they were launched at Willington Marina, it looks very new the paint is very shiny.

Between the showers we walked to the post box to post some cards and then called into the The Greyhound for tea, which was very nice.

There are lots of quarries on the approach to Nuneaton

7.5 miles

Monday, 19 September 2011

Lots of Canals

We left Gailey on Friday morning, the weather wasn't as bad as we thought but we did get a few showers throughout the day.  Our plan was to cruise to Tixall Wide as its another one of those places where we have always wanted to moor but it has never fitted into a 'hirers' schedule.  We did the first few locks into Penkridge queuing behind a couple of boats.  We stopped in Penkridge and went to do some shopping, we then had lunch and set off again, the next lock had five boats waiting, this slowed our progress somewhat as there wasn't much traffic coming in the other direction.  We gradually passed some, as they moored until the last few locks towards Tixall there was just one boat that we kept catching as the were in the lock or exiting.  As we approached Tixall Wide we didn't think we were going to get in but we did just manage.  As we moored the owners of NB Bradgold started chatting to us.  They were the last Heartwood narrowboat.  About two hours later we said our goodbyes, it was by then dark and the temperature had dropped.  Dinner went from a planned meat and veg to a quick pasta!

Saturday started with showers, a couple of which we sat out before leaving Tixall wide, other than just one other quick but heavy downpour it was a sunny autumn day.  The twelve miles we travelled covered three canals, we left Tixall wide on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire, turned onto the Trent and Mersey at Great Haywood and then we turned onto the Coventry at Fradley Junction.  The Coventry then becomes the Birmingham and Fazeley for a short time before reverting to the Coventry Canal.  We planned to moor above the locks at Fradley but it was full so we went down there was quiet a lot of boats coming off the Coventry turning up the Trent & Mersey so John was hovering between moored boats as we couldn't get into the turning and I was having to direct them as they couldn't see if anything was coming down, which boats were as well as coming up the locks, it was quiet interesting!  The visitor moorings on the Coventry were full as well, so we continued just after the first bridge and moored in a nice spot.  We walked back to the Swan (Mucky Duck) the boats were still coming up and down the locks even as it was getting dark.

On Sunday we continued down the Coventry, this is a section of canal that we haven't done before and we were pleasantly surprised its much more rural than we expected, passing through woodland, meadows and not unpleasant urban areas.  The canal through Tamworth was pleasant with no rubbish.  We passed Alvecote Priory and Pooley Hall an area of reclaimed spoil heaps.  We moored by bridge 50.

Today we set off and used the services before arriving at Atherstone Locks, there are still restrictions on these locks, opening at 08:30.  We have been chatting to a number of boats all of which were planning to be there for the opening at 8:30 so we decided to arrive a bit later hoping then that by the time we started there would be some boats coming down, and no queue, which turned out to be a good decision, as we arrived there was no one queuing and as we exited the first lock there was a boat coming down, it was like that for the flight except the last two locks.  We moored up at the top of the flight and went for a walk around Atherstone, we then decided to continue at bit further and have moored by bridge 28.

Penkridge Lock

River Sow, Staffs & Worc Canal

Tixall Wide

Great Haywood

Trent & Mersey

The neatest allotments we have ever seen

Coventry Canal

Atherstone Locks

Friday 12.5 miles 12 locks
Saturday 12.5 miles 5 locks
Sunday 16.5 miles 2 locks
Monday 5.5 miles 11 locks