Sunday, 24 June 2018

Round Fazeley Junction

Thursday 21st June; Fisher’s Mill bridge to Alvecote

This blog is getting a bit behind now …. it’s Sunday and we’re past Rugby on the North Oxford.  There were a couple of nights when we had no internet signal though so that’s my excuse.

Anyway, for Midsummer’s Day it felt jolly cold on the back of a boat!  Fleeces were the order of the day, hats (woolly for me, and gloves too) as we went crabbing down towards Fazeley Junction in a very stiff breeze. The foxgloves didn’t seem to mind the chilly wind.  Some were the usual pink, some were white, and some were pink below and white above.

1 foxgloves

I took the obligatory snap of Drayton Footbridge with its castellated towers;

2 drayton footbridge

and after we’d passed there was the defunct swing bridge too, called hereabouts a swivel bridge.

3 and defunct swivel bridge

We moored just before the junction, which was quite difficult in that wind.  I nipped up to the little Tesco, and on the way back snapped Tolson Mill from the road.  It was a couple of years ago a lovely wool shop with a little dog-friendly cafĂ©, but that failed and it became a gym.  I have no idea if anything goes on in the upper floors.

4 tolsons mill fazeley

On the other side of the road is a timber yard, which takes big tree trunks in and slices them up.  The main gates were open today.

5 woodyard fazeley

We had a cup of tea and moved on, and rounded the junction into slightly less windy conditions.  We went over the river Tame

6 river tame

and past some wonderful honeysuckle on our way to Glascote locks.  The air was filled with the scent.

7 honeysuckle

At Kettlebrook bridge, just before the permanent moorings, someone has written a little ode for passing boats.  I wonder if it was written by the author of the Ode of the Leaky Lock at Glascote?

8 slow down

Of course we crept by in the proper manner but received no smile or wave, nor even a stony stare.  We arrived at Glascote locks just as a boat had gone into the bottom lock.  Once the boat coming down had left, in we went.

9 glascote bottom lock

We swapped locks with a boat coming down the top lock, then with one coming into the top.  It was quite quick today – we have had to wait several hours in the past as these locks are very busy.

Here is a warning not to be too generous with feeding the ducks.  This one spent a lot of time looking in and turning herself round and round.  I hope she left no calling card.  The lady at the back of the boat blamed her husband for being too generous with the bread.

10 dont feed the ducks

We stopped for lunch on the plentiful moorings in the Amington area, then went on to the boatyard at Alvecote.  They are a Barrus dealer and Dave needed some information about a replacement alternator belt.  It transpired that the design currently on our engine is no longer made;  one that looks a bit different will actually work, so at least now Dave knows what to replace the spare with when the current one has had its day.  We moored a little further on by the woods, where Meg got her long-awaited walk.  We went up to the Samuel Barlow to eat at their Curry Night;  pleasant, and cheap, but nothing special.  On the way back, as it’s the longest day and there was plenty of light, we went over to see the ruins of Alvecote Priory.

11 alvecote priory ruins

It was a Benedictine Priory dissolved by Henry VIII.  It only ever supported 4 monks, so wasn’t a big or important one.  Not much remains, but it is scheduled as an Ancient Monument.

13 ruins

Wikipedia says most of the walls ‘have been eroded’ but I bet a lot of the stone was removed and used for other buildings locally.  It is unfortunately on the Heritage at Risk register because of vandalism and water damage.  The gate to the car park is padlocked, apparently because of vandalism.  The surrounding grass is roughly mown, there is no interpretation board and it doesn't really look cared for.

6 miles, 2 locks