Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Another long day

Friday 22nd June; Alvecote to Anchor Bridge, Hartshill

After yesterday’s cold and wind it was sunny and warm, but not yet the heat that has been forecast.  We pottered through Polesworth on our way to the Atherstone flight.  The canal was quiet and we had time to enjoy the flowers.  One of the gardens in Polesworth had this cascade of philadelphus to admire

1 cascading philadelphus polesworth

and out in the countryside we saw a swathe of poppies in a field.

3 poppies

But they were in a crop of thistles – brilliant for insects and birds, unlike the maize crop in the other half of the field.  I wonder what the management system is? 

Apart from two modern boats in the dry dock, and one old working boat nearby, it was quiet at Grendon.  We have always seen at least two historic boats here; perhaps some of the others are on their way to Braunston for the Historic Boats rally at the weekend.  

5 grendon dry dock

We stopped at the Bradley Green facilities for the necessaries.  We were just starting the water filling when two boats arrived together, each hastily emptying a cassette and dumping rubbish before rushing off to the first lock.  It wasn’t just us they wanted to keep ahead of – another boat passed us soon after they left.  So we were in no hurry and they had all gone before we arrived.  Two boats were just finishing the flight, so we started well, but then of course we were behind the others.  We worked steadily, admiring the flowering rush growing in the side ponds and listening to the birds.

6 butomus and grille in side pond atherstone

We have seen the side ponds being cleaned out and maintained, yet I believe there is no plan to bring them into use.  We pulled in for lunch between locks 7 and 8.  It was very quiet, unlike the pound above lock 6 which people prefer as it’s closer for shopping.  We walked up for shopping before we got going again as Dave needed some bits from the hardware shop and we also got a new water bowl from the pet shop for Meg.  We did buy her a small one for indoors as we kept kicking the larger one she had before, which we moved outside.  Unfortunately it wasn’t up to the job in this hot weather, so we’ve got another larger one and we’ll just have to be more careful with our feet.

By the time we got going again the tail end of the ‘afternoon rush’ was passing through and, for a while at least, we met boats coming down.  It was shady too, so we had an easy passage up.

7 lock 6

The two boats which had been so keen to beat everyone to the locks were moored opposite the least attractive view above the lock flight.

8 derelict factory

Rather than moor at the top, which we don’t actually like very much, we decided to crack on towards Hartshill.  It would be a long afternoon, but at Anchor Bridge there is a lovely walk for Meg, who was probably feeling a bit hard done by.  The sun was in the wrong place to photograph the much-featured BW Hartshill yard with its clock tower, so I snapped the cottage on the water point instead.

9 cottage at hartshill yard

It was almost 6 when we moored, which is rather late for us, and with our meal already prepared we went straight to the pub for liquid refreshment.   Poor Meg – she made for the gate that leads to the footpaths – but she had to wait.  As we strolled back we took time to admire the interesting extras on another boat.  Is this one to keep ducks off the roof?

10 not many boats have this

What about these rather wonderful swans?  They are made from car tyres.  Clever, and elegant too.

11 or these

Meg got her walk after we had eaten.  I didn’t go with them – too many locks today.

About 9 miles, 11 locks.

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