Friday, 29 August 2014

Bascote locks to The Cape

Thursday 28th August

It rained overnight, but we woke to sunshine and shorts weather again.  We set off for a lovely gentle morning, meting a few boats but not many, and most of the locks in our favour.  At Wood Lock – a peaceful and beautiful spot – there was a planning notice giving advance warning of ‘towpath diversion’ when HS2 blasts its unwelcome way through.  I didn’t have my glasses with me but that seemed to be the gist of it - 3 sheets of closely typed A4 leaning in the hedge.

1 evil HS2 notice wood lock

We stopped at the Fosse Way facilities to empty a cassette.  When we came this way a couple of years ago, the Elsan point was filthy, and the shed thing it was in had cracked tiles on the walls and the door was hanging off – easily the worst I have seen.  I read in the press recently that it had been rebuilt – hurray! – and it’s now open-air and very tidy.  But check out the position of the tap (it’s the black L-shape on the left – I haven’t found out how to add arrows yet!).  It has been set so low that it’s difficult to rinse the cassette, especially now they have removed the hoses on the Elsan points.

2 fosse way elsan with silly tap

At the top Fosse lock we met a hire boat with 5 strong men as crew, so I took a rare photo from inside a lock for a change!

4 fosse top lock

The pound below the Fosse locks was extremely low.  Dave noticed the drag even in the middle of the canal, then we noticed the tide-mark on the edge was easily 8” above the water level.  The shallow bits on the offside were now beaches and we were creating a wake even at the slow speed we were going.  We had seen a CRT guy walking up from the Fosse locks so assumed he had been to investigate.  He wasn’t carrying a windlass (I thought they always had one – we thought he was going to set the lock for us!) and seemed to be on his way back to his van.

3 low pound below fosse locks

We pulled in below Radford Bottom lock hoping to visit the farm shop which had just opened when we came through before, but sadly it is no more.  At least the water level was ok!    So we carried on towards Leamington Spa, and moored in the last bit of countryside before Radford Road bridge for an early lunch, and were hugely entertained by a large groups of swallows and martins over the water.  Some of them were clearly newly fledged and still getting to grips with drinking in flight.

We pressed on towards Warwick as we needed a Tesco stop.  It was chilly and the sun had gone, drizzle was in the air and by the time we were approaching the Tesco mooring at bridge 46 it was raining quite hard.  Their moorings were full but luckily there was space the other side of the bridge.  By the time we had done our shopping the sun was out again and summer had returned once more.

We had company up the Cape locks and there was plenty of room for us both to moor at the Cape.  We had a good meal in the pub and some excellent local beer. Harry’s Haystack I think the bitter was called, brewed in Budbrooke a little way away.

8 locks 7 miles

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