Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Atherstone, Hartshill and more new things at Charity Dock

Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th September

A misty start on Wednesday but the sun was up by the time we started up the locks around 9.  As we rose in the bottom lock the first of many boats was coming down the next – a single-hander who had started at first light.  We knew that the last boat up last night had left some top gates open but it turned out that they had done it on every lock, which was great for the single-hander except where the bottom long pound had been draining overnight!  Two men were cleaning out one of the lower side ponds.

1 clearing silt from side pond  2 side pond

Apart from the low pound, which was fine if you kept to the centre, we had a smooth passage until we reached the outskirts of the village.  There were three volunteer lockies pottering up and down, which was helpful if you got them!  One even used the side pond at one of the locks, though he didn’t think there was any restoration likely to happen on the others.  We reported the low pound to the first one we met.

3 coming up atherstone

As we were rising up the lock at the Kings Head a boat pulled out ahead of us, which was a pity as he was very slow.  But never mind, the sun was shining and we soon reached the top, where there was this island des res in the side pond;

5 little moorhen island We snaffled the last empty mooring and went off shopping, passing this dog poo bin on the way – hurray for Maffi!

4 maffi fixed thisWe came back well laden, as we’d run down the fridge when we thought we’d be driving home today.  We bought some Atherstone Bangers to try, and the veg shop had some local French beans which looked good.

After lunch, we set off on the short journey to the Anchor at Hartshill, topping up with water at the old BW yard on the way.  All the good moorings were taken, but we managed to fit in on the bend.  We took Meg on the walk that goes down away from the canal, over the railway bridge, across to the Anker, round and back under the railway to come out on the towpath near Springwood Haven.  Then it was our turn for a nice walk – up to the pub for a meal and an excellent pint of Everard’s.

11 locks 4 miles

On Thursday we set the alarm, as we’d planned a longish day, and were away by 8.15.  It was a perfect September morning, with a few wisps of mist fading away as we set off.  This was taken about 8.30, just past Springwood Haven.

1 lovely septmeber morning near springwood haven

Even Nuneaton looked fine and was almost free of litter!  By the time we reached it, the kids were in school, the workers at work and the first few allotmenteers were enjoying the sunshine.  We were still glad to see the back of it though.

2 nuneaton all gone

The Ashby looked tempting but we kept going towards Hawkesbury Junction, keen to see what delights awaited at Charity Wharf.  First there were two figureheads, then ZZ Top;

3 charity wharf  4 charity wharf

followed by a happy couple, with the upside-down legs, and finally a bronzed lovely and friend enjoying the sunshine.

5 charity wharf  6 charity wharf

Round Hawkesbury Junction, quite quiet, and on to Ansty where we hoped to stop for lunch.  But the towpath was muddy, and I’d just cleaned through, so we went on and found an excellent spot near Hopsford Aqueduct, where there are several boat-length stretches of mown grass with a good edge.  Apart from the railway it was peaceful, with loads of blackberries - Dave picked a couple of pounds in about twenty minutes.

10 blackberries

After a relaxed lunch we carried on towards Brinklow where we got the last mooring on the popular stretch before All Oaks Wood.  I made a couple of pounds of blackberry and apple jam – a good thing we followed the wrong directions to the pub the other night! 

16 miles, 1 lock

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