Sunday 24th June; All Oaks Wood to Clifton
…. was to get to Rugby to be sure of a TV signal, so we could watch the England v Panama match at 1 o’clock. Before we left, Meg was delighted to go for some playtime in the fields accessible from the towpath. One had been cut for hay or silage and the crop cleared, so we used that one, but we are always aware of the risk to stock of dog poo; we are sure to pick up if the need arises so the next crop is clean. Apart from the risk of disease, if you were a cow would you like to eat silage with dog poo in it?
It’s a lovely place to stop, but you really need to get there early to be sure of a good spot. We hadn’t, but at least we didn’t have to moor close to the road.
The sun was hot this morning and half the other boats had gone early to avoid the building heat. Newbold Tunnel was a cool relief from the heat. On the approach to Brownsover, we were alarmed as we crossed the aqueducts to see that the moorings before the bridge were all closed. The bank has been repaired but the rings removed and mooring is forbidden. But there was space on the park, with a bit of shade too! and after a Tesco shop, emptying a cassette and dumping rubbish, we settled in for England v Panama in the group stage of the World cup. It’s very enjoyable watching England play well and win; 6-1 today, long may it last …….
We find the roads too noisy to want to stay here long, and when we set off again we noticed that new mooring rings have been installed east of the park, to replace the ones lost to the west.
It wasn’t far to Clifton. There is a hire base there and we expected the area to be busy. It was, though not with hire boats – one was there, waiting to turn at the winding hole, but with the numbers of boats passing in both directions – perhaps everyone had been watching the footy? it was very congested. A boatyard employee was holding a hire boat out of the way while a digger was tidying up the overgrown offside, probably so they can use it for more moorings. It would be good to reduce the numbers double- or treble-moored when the boats aren’t out.
We waited at the narrows for a boat to come through, and could see another appearing, then there was another, so we had quite a wait, though not as long as the couple on the hire boat to the right, patiently waiting to turn.
Eventually we got through, and made it past the works where the towpath has been diverted. The reason is for third party drainage works apparently. I went on the CRT website to see what it was all about (having failed to update my preferences for this trip) to find the website has been gussied up with the new logo and generally has a totally different look – could I find the stoppages? what a palaver. I ended up using the search facility as the navigation was certainly not obvious. But I did come across a new feature which could be useful – strong stream warnings all in one place, at least for the waterways managed by CRT.
It was extremely hot and we were keen to grab a patch of shade. The boat was still in the sun, but we could sit out on the shady towpath, with an occasional historic boat going by from the rally at Braunston.
Gradually the shade came across, and at around 6 I left Dave painting the handrail on the starboard side (red is notorious for fading) and went for a run to Hillmorton as the towpath was now largely in the shade. I went up the locks, which were still quite busy, before turning for home. I closed up for a single-hander, then trotted back till a doggy wanted to say hello and I could have a welcome breather. The dog’s boat had been at the rally, and its
Dad owner was keen to chat. He felt it had been quieter than usual, with fewer historic boats, fewer traders and fewer visitors. He suggested that the historic transport festival at Lymm may have attracted some boats and visitors away, and thought that the £20 car parking charge for visitors may have been a mistake – regulars would have known where to park for free, but casual visitors may well have been put off.
It was a beautiful evening. The canal stayed busy till after 7, and a couple more boats joined us during the evening.
6 miles, no locks, Newbold tunnel