Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Springwood Haven to Fradley village

3 day’s cruising posted 10th July
Friday 5th July 2013
Back on the cut again but this time with a sadly depleted crew; the ‘Best Mate’, our faithful old Tess, is no longer with us.  She was a rescue dog and we’d had her for 17 years.  According to the BBC Dogulator, which is more accurate than the old ‘multiply by 7 years’ rule, her age of 17 years 8 months would have been 111 in human years! ( 
faithful hound  Hugely missed.
While Chuffed had been at Springwood Haven, the BSS certificate been renewed with nothing needing doing (phew!) and the engineer had sorted the engine problem.  The engine has been stuttering and stopping at low revs, and he had called Barrus for advice – they reckoned it was pre diesel bug and we now have the expensive additive Marine 16 (as used by the RNLI so we expect it to work!)
We left the marina at 3:30 and headed towards Atherstone.
leaving springwood haven
The sunken boat is still there!
still sunk
We went down the first seven locks in strong sunshine.  One of the locks had a notice printed in English, Polish and Russian (I think) reminding us that fish had to be put back in the canal – not eaten!  We had the Andy Murray Wimbledon semi-final on and listened to the exciting finish as we moored for the night - rather too close to the railway but at least away from the roads.
7 locks.
westport lake 2
Happy memories. Westport Lake, 2005

Atherstone to Hopwas
Saturday 6th July 2013
Rather a trudge up to the town for some shopping – before 9 and it’s already hot.  We walked in past the station up an old section of Watling Street, which seems to appear quite a bit along this section of the canal.  We were quite disappointed with Atherstone; there were no independent butchers or greengrocers, so apart from the baker we found last time and a newsagent it was back to the Co-op for the rest of the shop.
We were away by 10, with not too much other traffic about.  The top gates all had metal beams which were already uncomfortably hot – they must be quite difficult to use once the sun is at its max.  At the bottom of the locks we were treated to several fields with swathes of poppies; hurray for organic farmers or just one who forgot to spray!
We took on water at the services below the bottom lock, and made an early stop for lunch in a small patch of shade just before Polesworth.  There were some lovely Fellows, Morton & Clayton boats moored at Grendon Dock;
fmc boats at grendon dock
We continued in the heat of the day because we wanted to get past Tamworth, so on we went through Glascote Locks and past Fazeley Junction.  The fair was at Polesworth as we passed, blasting out Cockney Rebel.  We were surprised at the width of the Tame as we crossed it;
There was a better class of graffiti under one of the bridges as we left Tamworth;

We finally reached Hopwas and moored up about 5:30. We decided against going to the pub – they were both heaving as we went past and the smell of chip fat hung heavy, so we went on a bit and moored in some welcome shade.
7 locks.
Hopwas to Fradley
Sunday 7th July 2013
We set off at 9  before the sun got too hot – lovely cool shade for the first ten minutes or so …
cool and shady
mooring at Whittington to get the Sunday paper (there no longer being a shop at Hopwas).  We looked out for the marker stone which shows the point where the Fazeley and Birmingham changes back to the Coventry canal but didn’t spot it; however we did spot these gentlemen guarding a bridge! There were a lot more hiding behind that bush but the sun was so bright the photo was over-exposed.
beware the gnome patrol
We passed Streethay Wharf, wilting in the heat, and this boat – love it!
We started looking for a mooring soon after the road veered away from the canal as we didn’t want to go through Fradley Junction on a hot Sunday afternoon!  We squeezed in at Fradley village moorings, thankfully in dappled shade though we still drew the curtains against the sun, and settled down to watch Andy Murray win Wimbledon. Yay!
We decided it was far too hot to eat in the pub so we ate on board, then strolled the one and a half miles to the Swan for a leisurely pint – I would say in the cool of the evening, but everyone’s still in shirtsleeves.
No locks today.


  1. Hi Debby and Dave, so sorry to hear about Tess, but what a great age! Its so difficult without them, but remember the good times you had, we still smile when we think of Oscar in his younger years. Hope we meet up with you on the cut later this year. Doug and James

    1. Thanks for your words of experience, it is comforting to speak to people who have 'been there'. Debby x