Sunset

On the opposite bank, much to the chagrin of Toby are loads of rabbits!

And since we’re looking at wildlife, here’s Christine’s photo of the vole she snapped yesterday . . 

Ansty

A fun day of 5.3 hours chugging … along the end of the Ashby Canal, out onto the Coventry Canal and then back on the Northern Oxford canal at that Hawkesbury junction. Quite a sunny start but with the odd hail & rain too. Our aim was to take on water at the junction and then to go and check on the water levels on the next section as the CRT folk had tweeted that owing to vandalism, the levels were down some four inches … it all looked OK to us so we pressed on.

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Wonderful stone bridges and a countdown to bridge 1.

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All very rural and peaceful.

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Viv takse the prize for best pix – some beautiful blossom and the shy swan, hiding in amongst the rape.

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At Marston Jabbet we had a very narrow stretch and some weird and wonderful houses:

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We reached the village of Ansty in good time but the initial stretch of waterfront had about ten signs saying No Mooring! We felt they were saying “You boaters – don’t even look in this direction”

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Onwards to Hinckley

What day is it? This narrowboating lark does to confuse I.Oh yes, it is John’s birthday and we plan to chug on to Hinckley where we espied a steak house for a meal out. So it’s Market Bosworth to Hinckley some ten miles or so. We got to Stoke Golding and tied up for lunch when we were hit by a gale then a snow blizzard! Weird. Is May just next week??

The Ashby may be shallow in places, well, a lot of places and our big,heavy boat felt like we driving through treacle. Still it is very rural and pretty.

And I’m guessing these flags mark the Battlefield visitor centre?

Hard to see but the odd white marks in this photo are actually snowflakes – Toby has one!

Onwards to Hinckley . . 

And back! Day 8 on the Ashby

Today, we reached the summit! Yea, the end of the Ashby Canal. We set off in the rain from Shackerstone and found a stretch of lovely, wide deep canal with over-hanging trees. We was all wrapped up against the rain and cold and, in fact it was quite enjoyable. An hour so later and we reached the end, after a short and dodgy tunnel.

The tunnel and dire warnings of only one way traffic etc

You can go on beyond here but turning space for 52 footers only.

We swung the boat early and then John turned around too.

Right – the return trip – on to Market Bosworth …

Some early bluebells

Unusual vista at Shackerstone and on to Market Bosworth:

Moored up just before the new marina

We did wander round – still a lot of work still to do but it looks a nice place with excellent washrooms and licensed shop with plans to put a bistro on the first floor.

Cruising Up the Ashby – 6 & 7

Having reaching Stoke Golding, we decided to spend a whole day here, Saturday being St George’s Day. And another visit to the George & Dragon.

On the short walk up to the town … John & Tilly pose outside the pub

One reason we chose this pub is because it is owned by the Church End brewery and they usually have a whole spread of their wonderful beers on tap and all at reasonable prices too! (But Tumblr being Tumblr just will not rotate photos!!!)

The next morning we set off towards Market Bosworth, Viv took Toby for a stroll, enabling her to take some action (?) photos

We have seen an awful lot of wildlife and here is the very timid water vole

They run the “Battlefield Line” steam railway here and we kept on trying to snap it as it bustled its way from Shenton to Shackelton . .  elusive

We spent lunch at Market Bosworth and then went on to Shackerstone, where we were just in time to walk around the charming, Victorian station, waiting for the last train to come home.

An amazing tea rooms with a real fire and old fashioned service

And then the train came in

They used to run two trains daily to Euston but it’s all gone now – just 5 miles remain.

Back to our mooring for the night

Cruising in Company – Day 5

This is the end of the Oxford Canal – a brief bit of the Coventry Canal, then a right turn into the Ashby Canal. A stop at Trinity marina for shopping & lunch, then on to Stoke Golding.

You do get to see some strange sights along the canal – this is the boatyard at Charity Dock.

Only an hour or so along this canal and then a rather sharp right turn … John did very well  at the Marston turn, into the Ashby Canal

And on, into the Ashby

Straight away, it gets quiet and rural … and shallow!

Viv spotted this large example of bracket fungus

And this …  a black duck? (Black East Indian?), near Hinckley.

and the ever present horde of ducklings … 

We passed a nice little marina – with these signs – must copy it & print some off

Progress was slow but who’s in a hurry. The canal was very narrow in places but always gentle & rural.  We neared Stoke Golding, passing the wharf with the hire boat company and moored just past bridge 26.

A brief stroll with the dogs brought us to the quaint village of Stoke Golding and our favourite pub – the George & Dragon. Owned by the Church End brewery it always has about 6 of its own beers on as well as homemade (giant) sausage rolls, scotch eggs and pies! On this time was April Fuel – a 3.9% light beer with citrus/grapefruit flavours … . lovely! We plan to stay here another day!!

Cruising in Company – Day 4

From the scenic spot at All Oaks Wood to Hawkesbury junction today. Some 8.5 miles. Took the morning to chill and do some chores – like paint some bitumen around the port side. Then after lunch we pushed off.

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Bridge 11 – Carter’s Bridge!

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Approaching Coventry – huge pylons !

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The famous junction at Hawkesbury – stop lock and the pub, The Greyhound. A 180 degree turn is required here – Viv kindly videoed me!

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Then tie up for the night … . and visit the pub!

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Cruising in Company – Day 3

After the tiring day yesterday, it was decided to have a shorter day and now, there’s no more locks! John’s turn to lead and off he shot . .  further up into the North Oxford Canal – skirting Rugby, the new Retail park, lots of moored boats, boatyards and then out into the rural countryside again. Another beautiful day of blue skies and full sun.

Very scenic and straight – the old course being straightened out.

Caught Christine snapping me, snapping her!

After bridge 35 were some moorings recommended by the Nicholson guide – at All Oaks Wood, very nice too, just 3 hours but that’s enough today.

Cooking gammon for tonight in the electric slow cooker – now relying on solar to keep it cooking:

No waurez with 20 amps going in … time to tie up and have a cuppa.