|We moved on Monday 18th November, on a lovely sunny autumn day, for our return trip down the Ashby, mooring for the night just south of Market Bosworth. On Tuesday, we continued cruising south and moored in a lovely spot near the village of Stoke Golding. I don’t know what was in the water round there but the normal mallard ducks were huge! And they pecked all along the boat at the water line to eat the weed that clings to the boat. Waking up to the sound of the ducks pecking the boat is both endearing and annoying at the same time!! We walked up into the village to find the non-existent post office but bought a loaf in the village shop so all was not lost!
On Wednesday, we were just getting ready to move off when Paul on NB Summerbreeze (we met him on the K & A heading towards Bath and shared Caen Hill flight with him) cruised past! It turns out he’s moored in Trinity Marina in Hinckley and we said we’d look him up when we got there. So, we cruised to Hinckley and moored opposite Trinity Marina again, stopping on the way at a farm shop next to the canal at “Bridge 23”. We bought some sausages, burgers, bacon and faggots (all gorgeous) and a very nice date and walnut loaf. One of the delights of doing this is stopping at these little places! It was cold and getting dark when we arrived at Hinckley, so we said to Paul that we’d catch up with him the next day.
We went into Hinckley itself on Thursday morning, bought a few Christmas decorations and did a food shop in Lidl. We caught the bus back from the town as we were pretty loaded and it was a good 25 minute walk. We met with Paul at 2.00 pm and went for a drink and I left them chin-wagging whilst I took Sal for a walk. We thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Paul again!
After another trip into Hinckley on the bus on Friday morning (21st) to pick up my new wellies – the old ones having sprung a serious leak! – we continued our cruise southwards and moored just south of Burton Hastings. The forecast for Saturday was not good, so we stayed put and just ventured out for a doggie walk. The towpath, as was now the norm on the Ashby, was ankle deep in mud in places, so we went on the roads to the village and followed a footpath across the fields – still ankle deep in mud! Tony was holding my phone to follow the footpath route, slipped in the mud, flinging my phone up into the air which landed face-down in a good, squelchy bit! Thankfully narrowly missed falling into the stream which ran alongside – he would’ve been paddling higher than his ankles had it gone in there! Thank goodness for waterproof phones!!
We moved on Sunday 24th and completed the return trip on the Ashby Canal, going back on to the Coventry Canal, heading north again, and moored in Nuneaton. The Ashby was a nice canal – good mix of towns along the route with being very rural, quite picturesque, very quiet with few boats moving and plenty of good moorings! The only downside was that it is quite shallow, even after all this rain, and we found ourselves losing steering quite often as we were grounding on the bottom. And muddy towpaths, of course!!!
We stayed in Nuneaton on the 25th and had a trip into the town centre on the bus to do a food shop. We moved on Tuesday 26th, cruising the four miles to Atherstone, mooring just before the Atherstone lock flight. This was a nice mooring, quite a few different options for dog walks, but the main joy was having a large, mostly enclosed park right next to the boat so we could let Sal off the lead for a good run round. She had such fun! Tearing around like a mad thing, running between Tony and me and chasing after us if we ran – love to see her running around like this!
The forecast was pretty dire so we stayed put for another couple of days and enjoyed the town and the park. The town had a good old fashioned high street with some nice little old fashioned shops – a lovely sweet shop amongst them. Seemed rude not to go in and buy some! We also availed ourselves of the fish and chip shop.
We moved on Friday 29th, tackling the lock flight of 11 locks within 2 miles. We moored just over a mile further on in a nice rural spot. The weather was bright and clear – nice to see the sun, albeit chilly. It made for a lovely sunset and a frosty morning.
We moved on Saturday to Alvecote marina, mooring at the pub. Rhys and Ash visited to bring Sal’s new four-legged coat that we’d had delivered to them – the first one was a disappointing failure – it started to leak and hold the muddy water inside so instead of keeping her clean, her long tummy hair was sitting in muddy water! We only used it a handful of times so it really wasn’t very good!! I couldn’t return it as I’d altered it to fit her, too. Never mind, I’m going to use the fabric to make it into a normal raincoat – without legs – for her for the summer so all is not wasted. We had a reasonable meal in the marina’s pub, and it was great to see Rhys and Ash! The best part of the mooring (free) was that it included free electricity and water so we did two loads of washing and drying whilst we were moored – you gotta take the opportunity when it presents itself!!! Dog blankets and towels, all muddy and smelly after all the recent rain, now all fresh and clean again!
We moved on Sunday December 1st and cruised towards Tamworth, past Fazeley Junction, where the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal but we stayed on the Coventry and continued north. We moored in a good spot on the outskirts of Tamworth close to the supermarkets and other shops. The canal is quite a way out of the town itself so this is the nearest we could get.
We left our mooring in Tamworth on Tuesday (3rd) after a trip to Sainsbury’s to stock up before we moved off. It was about a 10-15 minute walk to get to a supermarket. We didn’t go far as it was quite late when we set off, but we figure that if we need to run the engine to charge the batteries, and walk the dog, we may as well move the boat and do those two things at the same time! We moored in a quiet spot in between two bridges with farm land all around. There was ice forming on the canal the next morning which surprised me – it’s not been that cold and it’s a huge body of water to freeze! It soon melted when it got warmer and a couple of boats went past to disturb it, though.
On Wednesday, we moved a few miles and moored near the end of the Coventry with the intention of doing the last bit the next day. We set off on Thursday 5th and cruised the couple of miles and moored at Fradley Junction. It’s very pretty with a couple of cafés, a pub and a nature reserve, which we walked round with Sal. We stayed for Friday, too, as the forecast was rainy again and we had a very nice meal in the pub!
From here it is a couple of hundred yards to the junction – we turn right onto the Trent and Mersey, having ticked the Coventry Canal off the list – and very nice it was, too!
We have booked the boat into a marina for Christmas and New Year on the Trent and Mersey Canal, so we are working our way towards there. We’ve already booked a hire car, so we’re all set for our Christmas travels.