Monday, 14 October 2019
July 1 - 5 Braunston to Rugeley
Monday 1 July Braunston to Brinklow after bridge 35 (miles, 5 locks)
Liana, Dave and Phil moved cars this morning, leaving two at Alvecote and returning in the third. Meanwhile, John and Jan moved Annie down the two bottom locks in the sun, then filled up with water by the Stop House. John moored Annie briefly at Midland Chandlers to get oil filters, then we set off Northwards, once Liana had passed Jan her camera! After lunch, Dave steered Annie to get practice with a longer 60 foot boat, ready for their new boat, soon to be revealed. John steered Python for the first time, with Phil keeping a careful eye. John took Python through the three Hillmorton locks smoothly. We had a good chat as we went along, and things went fine, with only one bit of excitement: As John was close to a bridge hole on a corner, a hire boat appeared, moving quickly on the wrong (ie our) side. He discovered that Python, being ballasted light at the front to get close to the bank for vegetation cutting, veers to the left when put hard in reverse! As it happened, this worked well, and John signalled the other boat to continue passing on the wrong side, while we stayed near the left side bank. Clearly, reversing needs to be alternated with a bit of forward gear to steer in the right direction. Dave said Annie was a dream in reverse, as she just slows down in a straight line!
John took Python through Newbold Tunnel, and was impressed with Annie headlamp, looking back.
Dave and Liana moored Annie just past bridge 35, and John breasted up Python with her, as it was too shallow next to the bank. Liana's chilli con carne with rice and a couple of beers went down well as we all chatted before bed!
Tuesday 2 July Brinklow to the Anchor Inn, Hartshill (miles, 1 lock)
This mooring is a lovely setting, looking across to a pretty farm. John saw granny taking grandson to feed the livestock, before we set off in the sun. We have moored here before. We started the day with Liana's bacon butties. Dave, Jan and Phil steered Python, while John followed with Annie. We all moored before the stop lock at Sutton Stop/Hawkesbury Junction, and ate Liana's ham and cheese toasties for lunch again – yum! After homage to Bacchus at the Greyhound Inn, we moved the boats through the lock, turned through the bridge and reversed to the services, where John had help from Liana and Jan to carry all the loo holding tanks to the Elsan point, and we dumped rubbish and recycled glass. John led the way northwards, past the Ashby canal junction and through Bedworth, where we all marvelled at the dummies and decorations at Charity Dock. We all enjoyed the sunny day, passing old mine branches, quarries and spoil heaps. Nuneaton looks quite tidy as you pass through. We passed the photogenic CRT yard at Hartshill, happily still used, and moored outside the Anchor Inn, as recommended by Jan & Dave. They were right! Three of us had a great meal of local butcher's faggots, Phil had Hunters Chicken, while Liana had tasty chicken a la crème with (soggy) chips underneath it. Mine host was full of good humour, and we all had fun.
Wednesday 3 July Hartshill to Bradley Green, below Atherstone Bottom Lock( miles, 11 locks)
Thursday 4 July Farewell to Python and crew. Bradley Green to Hopwas (miles, 2 locks)
Friday 5 July Hopwas to Fradley Junction and on to Rugeley 14 miles, 3 locks)