Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Very slow link tonight, will Blog in the morning.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Rugby to Hawkesbury. 1 tunnel, no Locks.

Last night tried for a sunset but didn't quite make it, nice though.

We had a really great chug today, the sun was out, it was nice and warm and the canal was sparkling in our wake.

The trees are starting to give off their best displays as the winter marches towards us.

Some people though, just cannot get to grips with the pace of this life.

These two boats came literally pounding up the canal behind us, we were not moving that slowly at the time but I pulled over and let them pass, which on here means running yourself aground.

Only to pass the first one ten minutes later mooring up at one end of a row of boats,

And the second one moored at the other end. Ten minutes, that's all their rushing gained them, but for what?

A tunnel, or a long bridge?

A bit of a surprise in this one as it was very decoratively lit. This is the Newbold tunnel which has a towpath on either side as its claim to fame. The disused side has been converted into a light show.

This is probably not a good sign for all the conservationists and people in general who help to keep the canals open. All these new trees have fallen over backwards and exposed a great big sheet of something or other that they cannot get their roots through and get a grip on the soil underneath.
Back to the drawing board on that one.

Probably why you come across the odd sheep floating along the canal.

Passing another narrowboat under this beautifully designed motorway bridge, could the words blot and landscape be used here?

Approaching the Rose boatyard, where they have their own little walkway across the canal.
This has to be opened by any traveller wishing to pass and is delightfully balanced by a heap of fifty six pound weights.

We are near the Elephant and Castle this evening, I kid you not, this is a pub that we might go and try.

Until next time..............................

Monday, 28 September 2009

Hillmorton to Rugby. No locks.

A very quick Blog today as we have only moved for an hour along the canal to Rugby where we found the local Tesco had some incredible deals on the throat oil.

We will be moving off with a bit of a list to one side tomorrow.

Most of the bridges along here have been decorated with murals and fresco's, this one is of canals then and now but most depict the game of rugby.......for some reason or other.

Just trying to engage warp speed here but there was not enough power from the engine.

These radio masts cover the horizon as the canal approaches Hillmorton, D counted forty two as we passed by, there are probably a lot more.

This is where we have moored for the rest of the day, alongside a very well kept park.
I am sitting here at the moment watching a manic Squirrel trying to bury as much as he can in the shortest possible time.

Just going to try some of the new throat oil.

Until next time..........................................

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Willoughby to Hillmorton. 3 Locks.

This was the view from my "Office" window yesterday afternoon.

It was soon filled with four hire boats packed with Pirates wending their way to Braunston. The amount of effort they had put into their costumes and decorating the boats was very impressive, one even had a false cannon (at least I hope it was false).

Then, as quickly as they had appeared they had gone and looking past the Giant Hogweed, serenity was returned once more.

If yesterday morning was good, this one was better.

Truly autumnal, we waited around in the stillness until it cleared, not really wanting to fire the diesel up and ruin the silence.

So after a fairly late start we were off to see where we would end up.

Passing under this poor old bridge you just cant help thinking, please stay up there a little bit longer, 55ft longer.

Not far from here we were hailed from the passing narrowboat "Indigo Dream" saying how busy it is along here today, and (as we drew level enough to read names) that he follows the Blog.

So hello to the skipper of Indigo Dreams, do you write a Blog of your own?

The first lock of the day was reached well into the afternoon after we had passed the "Pirates" who were returning to whence they came and had stopped for lunch.

What a difference a hangover can make, all the Johnny Depp'ness had evaporated, but to give them their due they were still dressed up.

These locks are unusual as there are two narrow ones abreast of each other.

We haven't seen any like this since the Trent & Mersey, two boats down this time but it could have just as easily been one up and one down, as it is so busy here this must save so much time nowadays as it did in the past.

One more to go and that "look" is in the sky again, a mooring for the night was quickly found.

This, as it turned out, proved to be a little too hasty as we have moored opposite a field where the farmer has been spraying his land with something that he has been keeping in a very warm place for a very long time.

Until next time.........................

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Napton to Willoughby. 1 Lock.

A proper autumn morning today, very still with a little nip in the air and so very quiet.

A not so quick top up of the water tank, the water pressure was practically non existent and it took us the best part of hour to fill up. That certainly was no hardship on a morning like that.

The banks are starting to change their colour now. The odd splash of orange or red appearing every now and then.

Just along from Napton is this colony of Canada Geese, D managed to count up to a hundred and thirty eight of them milling around in that field.

Very, very busy out here today, there seemed to be a constant stream of boats heading the other way. It is the weekend again so as its nice they could be snatching the last chances for a weekend away before it gets too cold.

Braunston Junction once more, this time we are off to the left to try our luck at Coventry.

This will take us through Rugby as well, which is a place neither of us has been to before.

That was a bit of an odd realisation as we have toured extensively around this area in our caravan, Rugby seems to have been missed out. We can certainly make up for that now.

After mooring this afternoon we noticed a small sign lurking in the bushes in front of the boat.


After a while of very carefully trying to find the thing it turned up a little way from the sign.

I suppose there is a reason it has not been pulled up, could it be a protected spieces?

There is a lot of small print at the bottom causing you to bend and get very close to the ground to read it, its a good job the weed wasnt at the sign or we would probably have a blister or two by now.

Until next time..........................

Friday, 25 September 2009

Staying put at Napton.

We were going to stay here and get a Tescos delivery but the reception is so poor it would have been quicker to walk back to Banbury than try the Internet.

We spent a very tranquil evening yesterday moored just above the bottom lock.

I think we were very lucky to get in on the end here considering how busy the canal has been of late.

This was the situation at the lock this morning, so much boat traffic has almost flooded the pound above. When this lock is full, the water is escaping over the sides and running down the towpath.

Back to yesterday and the fifty three year old wooden boat. He bravely tried to squeeze her into the lock with a small narrowboat to speed things up a bit, this left his outdrive within inches of the cill as they went down.
Not doing that again says he.
Cant blame you says I, there really is no hurry.

Oh so rural.

This half way shaggy bull reminds me of our trip to the Highlands where a postcard had this type of picture with the caption of
"Rain is Gods way of washing coos"
Probably trying to make light of the seemingly never ending rain that falls there.
We had less rain up there than we have had down here this summer, so that's got to be one clean coo!

On the move tomorrow again,

Until then................................

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Wormleighton to Napton. 8 Locks.

Below are a few pictures of the sunset that we were treated to last night.

Whether the red sky at night rhyme had anything to do with it or not, today was a glorious day to be boating.

Everyone was in a good mood at the locks and even though it was really busy again, the time just flew away.

As we set off this morning we were able to see where we would end up. The left hand side of that distant hill has Napton windmill on it. It looks so far away from here you would never believe you could get there in one day.

I Blogged yesterday about these bridges that have no sides only to find this one today that has been built up and made "safe".

Absolutely beautiful views across the country all the way along the canal. It really is a genuine pleasure to be here.

We were following this chap down through the locks today. His boat is wooden and was built in 1955. His parents bought it second hand when he was fourteen and eventually it has passed to him.

It must be a real labour of love to keep it afloat after all that time, but it looks immaculate and considering how fragile it must be he is obviously taking very good care of it.

The mill draws ever nearer.

There are quite a few of those pill boxes dotted along this canal, once again I ask myself what are they doing right out here? Were they manned at any time? did the soldiers have to live in them for a time? I feel a Google search coming on.

And here we are, back at Napton. The mill on the hill overlooking the village.

A quick ice cream for one member of the crew before mooring for the night.

Until next time..........................

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Cropredy to past Wormleighton. 8 Locks.

Today has been a day of mainly waiting to get through the eight locks, then a very pleasant cruise for the last couple of hours.

So many boats leaving themselves impossible targets, one was trying to get to Fenny Compton by twelve for a lunch date in the pub. He was two boats ahead of us in the queue and we made it at just gone four. Another was trying to get to Braunston to return his boat to the hire firm, we should be at Braunston in about two days.

The first lock had five boats queuing ahead of us when we arrived and six behind us when we got through. Busy, busy, busy.

Once through the last lock and a short way along we were confronted with this boat adrift across the canal.
This is why it is not a good idea to leave a boat moored on pins ( like a giant tent peg) unattended on a busy canal. Every boat that passes loosens the pegs grip in the soil just that little bit more until it falls out.

A quick nudge from Ubique, and the helpfulness of another moored boats skipper saw the boat alongside once more and us on our way.

This bridge (I know, another bridge) seems to have a bit missing. If you can imagine where your feet must go to walk over it, ....there are no sides.

Another imaginative boat complete with Astro Turf and false duck.

This is where the Fenny Compton "Tunnel" used to be. According to the book this was converted to a cutting back in 1868.
After typing that I suppose I had better explain what the book is for the benefit of non travelling boaters.
The book is the Nicholson Guide to the Waterways, AKA The little Red Book or the Bible. This book is invaluable to all canal users as it maps all the different waterways in Ordnance Survey detail and has little snippets of information as well.
We have six aboard at the moment as each book covers different areas.

Mother and Calf.

She stopped licking him and just glared at us as we went by. The picture doesn't really show the look in her eye.

A shepherd gathering his flock.

A quad bike with a loud horn, whatever happened to the sheep dog?

Until next time..................