Trip Up The Ashby.
Saturday 20th July
The day started well with a boat passing by with the klaxon blaring like a couple of fighting ducks. When I peered out it was David and Jane Brixey on nb Rowan from the River Wey and we were all very pleased to see each other. They managed to stop on the bank just ahead of me and we passed the time catching up on news over the past year. They are going up the Ashby in August, so I may well see them again this year. Strangely enough, we met up on the Rugby moorings about the same time last year.
Most of the afternoon was spent doing the washing, writing this and reading until it was time for a shower ad change ready to be picked up by Mike and Leslie in their hire car to go to Hillmorton and the Spice Lounge, which was recommended by many aficionados of Indian food and Trip Advisor. We spent a very pleasant two and a half hours over the meal and talking non-stop, mainly about boats and boating and many other topics as well. The meal was delightful and so was the company and I can recommend this restaurant most highly.
Sunday 21st July
Although I managed to pick up a BT hotspot yesterday, I could not repeat it this morning, so a frustrating couple of hours went by with nothing achieved until I clicked on a Google bookmark and pressed Connect; then the magic happened and I got a very strong signal. I had closed all tabs on Microsoft Windows, because every time I attempted to connect on Google Chrome, it opened Windows, but not this time – a result at last!
Looking at the blog count, I was pleased to see that 18 followers have read it since yesterday. My best ever number has been 934 readers for the post “BMC Starting Problems Solved” way back in 2014; which means that there are a lot of people with BMC engines with the same difficulty.
After a promising start to the day, it got windy and clouded over, despite the forecast of temperatures in the high twenties.
I left Newbold late morning and could see at least two boats at the other end of the tunnel, I switched on my tunnel light and went through like a steam train before they even had a chance to enter. Although two boats can pass in there, they were reluctant to do so and waited for me to exit. It was a steady trip up to Suttons Stop arriving at 16.30. As expected there were no moorings to be had close to the turn, but there were a few further up the Coventry, where it was far quieter.
I met up with my eldest and her man at The Greyhound later for a few drinks and laptop problems to be solved and we made some progress. A reservation was made for next Friday evening, but there was not much choice of time, being so close to the weekend.
Monday 22nd July
The day started off quite chilly, but by midday it was very hot, although the wind tempered the heat somewhat.
Charity Dock mannequins never fail to amuse.
As I came up to Marston Junction, I could see another boat coming out under the bridge from the Ashby, but although he couldn’t see me, he heard my horn, so he stopped and waited for me to go past. We both waited until he could see no one come past and crept out very slowly. Only then did he realise where I was going and by which time I was also too close to make a good entrance and touched the banks a few times getting in.
I realised how quiet this canal is and in two hours I only passed three boats on the move. When I got to Hinkley I pulled over below Bridge 15 on a piled mooring just short of the bridge and far enough from the A5 road, which can be very noisy. Here I could at last BBQ the lamb chops and I was only a short distance from The Lime Kilns pub, where I went last year with Pat and Sue on nb Dame du Cane from The Wey Navigations.
It was curry night in the pub and unbelievable as it was, a choice of curries was £3.00! I even queried it at the bar and that was right; no wonder the place was packed out with diners.
Back on board, I lit the BBQ which smoked like a bonfire until it was ready to cook on. The roast potatoes were done in minutes with the cover on and then I did the lamb chops, which were delicious with the leftover baked beans – a really healthy meal!
Tuesday 23rd July
The temperature was already 20ºC at 8am and it was to get hotter as the day wore on. I pulled in at Bridge 35 to visit the farm shop there and bought some bacon and some frozen calves liver – I just hope it is as good as what I had from Braunston. It was a steady plod towards Market Bosworth to go on a trip on The Battlefield Line and I pulled in at Shenton, where there was a station and had a bite to eat, but when I Googled the railway, there were only heritage rail cars hauling the trains on weekdays. It was also 3pm and probably too late to make the most of it, so I cruised on to Market Bosworth and sure enough there was a hire boat taking up twice its own length, so I nosed the bow in and asked them if they could move back one ring. Meanwhile, I was being blown across the cut and had to deploy the shaft to get back, until a guy offered to take my stern line and pull me in.
The remainder of the day was spent chilling out in front of the cooling fan and having a beer, as it was a bus ride to the pub in the town and too hot to even walk to the bus stop.
Wednesday 24th July
It was the day of the train, despite the fact that no steam engines were running. I walked across the bridge to Market Bosworth station, just in time to catch a train coming in, but I had no ticket. I was told that I could get a ticket on the train, but no one came to issue one, so I enjoyed the ride to Shenton for free, but there was no ticket office there either. Being a heritage rail car, I was able to sit behind the driver in his cab and get a driver’s eye view of the track ahead and also observe his movements on the controls. The ride probably never exceeded 30mph and was far slower than that most of the time. The two railcars had a diesel engine in each one and both were operating at the same time. After about 20mins at Shenton, the train then returned to Shackerstone via Market Bosworth, so at the end of the line I could eventually buy a ticket from the same man who was the conductor on the train and who I had also asked about where to get a ticket. To be honest, I am sure I could have travelled all day without anyone asking to see one.
At Shackerstone there was a museum of railway memorabilia and not just from that line – it was rammed with stuff and the curator just lived talking about it. I discovered later that his name is Roger Pryce and he managed about 12 pairs of working boats from the Ashby Canal to London and back in the past, so we had a topic in common from the start.
Returning to M Bosworth I walked back to Stronghold, had a bite to eat before heading for Duck’s Corner at Stoke Golding, where there are usually moorings on the offside and a short walk up to the village and The Druids Head, a favourite pub of mine and several friends where they sell Church End Brewery ales.
The day had been another hot one, but with a cooling breeze once again, making the heat bearable. Passing another boat in the channel, we were both on the mud, but could keep going, which illustrates just how shallow it is in places. I passed another brand new smart boat and gave the customary wave and smile, but neither were returned. I just cannot understand why these people go boating and are so bloody miserable when they are doing it! I cannot repeat here what I called him afterwards.