Sunday, 10 May 2015

Winding north.

Wind (as in clock) or wind (as in weather) is an oft used boating term, meaning to turn the boat.

Well this week we have been subject to both of the definitions. We are now truly heading north and it has been blooming Windy!

Last Tuesday morning we awoke to a cloudy sky, with high winds forecast. With Braunston tunnel and the locks down in prospect, we had an early (ish) start. At Norton junction we turned onto the main line and soon the tunnel portal hove into view. This is two way, so you can pass boats coming in the opposite direction. Thought we had it cracked, no boats in sight, until the last few hundred yards when three came in! Safely out and to the locks. By the time we had the lock set, another boat joined us, so an easy passage down was made.

Greetings to Matty, who we saw twice! (and Kathy once!)

We managed to moor prior to the marina, tucked behind a hedge, that did shield us from the ever increasing wind. That night we met Jane and Paul at the Admiral Nelson and had a good meal (to celebrate the birthday someone was trying to forget). The walk back to the boat negated our need to shower though, we got soaked!

Wednesday was grim. Not so much the rain, but the wind. Discretion being the better part of valour, we sat tight.  Had a walk to the village and Bottom lock chandlers, did a few jobs on the boat and Ali made use of the launderette at the marina.

Thursday saw something of an improvement, whilst still not balmy, the wind had dropped. Topped up at the services and we were off. Not many boats on the move as yet, but arriving at Hillmorton locks saw us having to wait a short while as only one of the pair of locks in this flight of three, was operating.

This is uber familiar territory, but none the less pleasant for that. At Rugby we had a shop stop and walked to Tesco, then resumed  our trek. At Ansty, we called it a day and moored for the night. I think someone has removed all the visitor mooring signs, coz we saw none.

On Friday we made the turn onto the Coventry at Hawkesbury junction, also known as Sutton stop. The lock here has a minimal drop, at one time controlling the water owned by different company's. I almost made the turn in one, but a boat arrived at the narrow stymied my completion. The moorings here were very quiet, one wonders if a little more enforcement is the cause?

From here we made a somewhat short hop to Springwood haven. Nuneaton is quite pleasant and we chugged through admiring the many pleasant gardens and the numerous allotments which seem to garland the canal. We actually passed the marina and chandlers, moored up and put the kettle on. Then the gas ran out! We do have a spare, but dragged the empty on a trolley to the chandlers, then exchanged it. Exercise is good for you, allegedly!

 The moorings here are very pleasant. Wooded slopes extend up from the canal and we are sure we heard the plaintive cry of a Goshawk as we watched the lambs gamboling in the field opposite. As dusk descended, this was replaced by the burble of a diesel engine, as one pray decided that rules do not apply to him! Ran his engine until 2130!!!

Then he switched off and another started. And one wonders why live a boards get a bad name amongst other boaters. All engines should be off at 20:00 by the way.  Anyway, rant over...

On Saturday we tackled the Atherstone flight. No problems and fairly quiet, if a tad windy, again!

Sad to see Glascote basin now empty, after the death of Steve Hudson, such a shame. Top bloke, sadly missing from the canal landscape.

Somewhat battered by the wind, just for a change, we made our way past Fazely junction and moored up a few hundred yards past the services, as it was somewhat busy. We walked to the out of town shops and whilst Ali went to Sainsbury's, M&S and the like, I made do with B&Q.  Got what we needed and settled in.

This morning, after a quick reverse back to the services, we passed through Hopwas and then Whittington, where we saw Dave &Angie from N.B Lady Esther enjoying their stop and looking forward to lunch with friends. We carried on to Huddlesford, where we had booked a table for lunch at The Plough.

Turned out to be a good choice. Really good food and ambience.

So now back on the boat. The sun is out, but just for a change, the wind is up! Chilling...

Spring has now truly sprung and full summer beckons, we hope!

Tis a hard life. But someone has to do it!

Since the last post, we have covered the following.

Miles. 56
Locks. 23
Tunnels 2292 yds

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