Tuesday 14 September Rain stopped play!
Today it rained pretty much all day. Only hire boaters and hardier souls passed us by as we sheltered from the rain. Later, we visited the pub for a drink before eating on board.
The Dog & Doublet has an imposing front door up steps, and the pleasant bar/restaurant is on the first floor. The Chinese chef came out to chat and drum up trade, as the rain had reduced custom to a trickle.
We read, did puzzles and John watched BT Champipns League soccer on his IPhone
Wednesday 15 September Dog & Doublet to Kings Arms, Atherstone
Damp and overcast, we moved to the first of the three remaining Curdworth Locks, following a boat down. There is a nature reserve on the right.
The three miles to Fazeley was quiet. We admired the remarkable spiral staircases of the turreted bridge close to Drayton Manor amusement park and zoo. The mill buildings at the junction are now being turned into flats. They had been used for workshops and craft shops, but it was closed down last time we passed.
John swing Annie right and through the narrow bridge hole. Last time, he banged it! Across the River Tame Aqueduct, past the Boat Club, we found ourselves third in the queue for the two Glascote locks. Liana soon made herself useful, chatting to and helping the boaters ahead of us. I soon joined her, when not moving the boat up. These locks each have unused side ponds, sadly. With the long pound above over six inches low, these could have saved half a lock full of water for each operation.Descending, your pour half the lock water into the side pond, then close its paddle and empty in the usual way. Ascending, first fill from the side pond, then close the side pond paddle and top up in the usual way.
With four boats waiting to descend, we were crossing over in the pound between the locks. Once through, we passed Glascote Basin, once the home of Steve Hudson’s boat building operation, before his untimely death. His good looking boats are his legacy.
Today was the busiest for boats, with double figures of oncoming boats, enjoying sun after yesterday’s bad weather.
We enjoyed the countryside through Alvecote, past marina and priory ruins. Again, we helped other boaters as we ascended the first five Atherstone locks, which also have unused side ponds.
We had been recommended the Kings Arms by two boaters independently, so stopped close by it and sampled Prosecco and Guinness(both good!). We enjoyed the Steak & Ale Pie and Fish & Chips from friendly staff.
John enjoyed watching Liverpool win 3-2 in an exciting match against AC Milan in the Champions League.
We slept well!
Thursday 16 September Kings Arms, Atherstone flight to Sutton Stop
We awoke late and set off steadily up the remaing six locks, following two boats. The last five are close together in a”thick”, and we got help from CRT volunteers for the last three. Above the top lock, we stopped at the services for water, Elsan and rubbish disposal.
The long pound takes you through Nuneaton, with some pleasant canalside gardens, and around Bedworth. On the way, you pass the end of defunct colliery arms, Marston Junction (the Ashby Canal) and newish marinas. Some of these use the old cast iron Horsely side bridges as their entrances. We passed quite a few oncoming boats as the sun shone and clouds missed us, with good views over the Anker valley.
At Sutton Stop, John took Annie smoothly through the 180 degree turn under the Lovely iron bridge, in view of the patrons of the Greyhound Inn, despite loud clunks as a log caught our propeller! Once through the stop lock, we moored up and ate a decent tea at the Greyhound in the sun.
Friday 17 September Sutton Stop to Rugby
First, we put up with the noise as we passed close to the M6, then under the M69, through Ansty and finally under the M6. After that, it’s been a straight, lockless run today southwards, through sunny countryside, along the curves, embankments and cuttings of the North Oxford Canal, loops cut off and route shortened a long time ago, in Victorian times, in response to competition from the new railways.
At Rugby, we moored at the visitor moorings opposite the park and close to Tesco’s, which we visited to stock up. Liana had cooked mince in Bolognese sauce this morning, so it tasted even better once heated up and eaten with penne and grated cheeses, plus the obligatory red wine!
As we chilled afterwards, about a dozen hire boats, most from the nearby