Monday, 17 April 2017

Bugbrooke to Blisworth

We stayed at Bugbrooke for the best part of a week, we had our BSC booked in at Blisworth and as we both like Bugbrooke we decided to sit it out there and continue with the pen making.

I do enjoy the walks around the area, my favourite one takes you over the railway bridge and up through fields where you are rewarded with some fantastic views, I then follow the stream back to the canal and home again.



We had visitors whilst there, Maffi and Molly moored up opposite us at The Wharf and popped over for coffee the following morning - Dudley had a Goldilocks and the three bears moment - someone's been sleeping in my bed!


We were lucky enough to get some lovely weather too with the weekend being extremely hot.

On Sunday we set off to be in Blisworth for our appointment with the BSS Examiner, just a couple of small things to sort, one of which we needed to find someone on route to do as we had to get going to be in Linslade for our Easter Market.

4.5 miles and 0 locks
TOTAL 63.5 miles and 78 locks





Sunday, 16 April 2017

Whilton to Weedon to Bugbrooke

We stayed a few days at Whilton catching up with some pen making ready for our first floating market of the year at Easter. 

We did the short run to Weedon and moored up between the aqueducts. We just stayed the one night continuing our journey to Bugbrooke the following day, after topping up with water just before Stow Hill Wharf James went off with Dudley to sort the car leaving me to take LJ to Bugbrooke, he caught up with me just before Heyfield's Farm Marina so I had company for the last mile or so.

Work in progress on the Daventry Relief Road





Only one caravan on the site roday



We treated ourselves to a celebratory Indian banquet at Weedon, the Indian restaurant in the village has a banquet night on a Wednesday where you have a starter, main course, side dish and rice or nan for just £9.95. We were celebrating five years afloat and we both still wouldn't have it any other way.

Me making my selection from the menu

7.5 miles and 0 locks
TOTAL 59 miles and 78 locks



Thursday, 6 April 2017

Braunston to Whilton

Sunday 26th March

Not such an early start this morning, we were off at 9am and passed The Milly M moored further up the canal, we started to make our way up the Braunston locks when Maffi and Molly arrived to help us. 

At Brauston top lock - thank you for your help Maffi
We said our goodbyes at the top and no doubt he will pass us in a month or so as he heads south. Next came Braunston tunnel and we were soon at Norton junction where we carried on and down the Buckby flight. I still can't believe there's only seven locks in this flight, they are so tough going and again we were following a boat down so they were all against us.


We made it to the bottom and moored up opposite Whilton Marina where it all started for us five years ago.

A fat boat stopped in front for a quick break

6 miles and 13 locks

TOTAL 51.5 miles and 78 locks

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Long Itchington to Braunston

Saturday 25th March

An early 7am start again this morning, I think James was feeling sorry for me having done all the locks so far I was feeling pretty tired, he went off with Dudley to tackle the Stockton locks and I bought LJ up. Typical the locks were in our favour (except for one where the top gates were leaking badly). It was a lovely day with no wind and we didn't see another boat on our way up.




We carried on through the three Calcutt locks, which I did and we actually had another boat share with us this time. At Napton Junction we turned left and continued on through our usual stopping points at Flecknoe and arrived in Braunston before midday.


At Braunston Turn we went right to stay on the Grand Union, as usual the moorings at Brauston were filling up fast but we were lucky and got a space opposite the pub.

A few hours later we spotted the Milly M pass by and we met up with Maffi at The Boathouse for dinner later that evening.

9.5 miles and 13 locks

TOTAL 45.5 miles and 65 locks


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Leamington Spa to Long Itchington

Friday 24th March

We set off at a reasonable time again this morning and were soon leaving the built up Leamington Spa behind and heading into the countryside, the next few locks are all well spaced so I was getting back onto the boat between them. We then reached Bascote where there are two locks then the staircase of two, we were following a boat so again all the locks were against us.




We stopped by The Two Boats Inn ready for the ascent up Stockton locks in the morning.

7.5 miles and 10 locks

TOTAL 36 miles and 52 locks


Monday, 3 April 2017

Hatton to Leamington Spa

Thursday 23rd March

We started down the Hatton flight bright and early this morning, we left just before 7am, all the locks were against us so I was having to fill them first - 23 turns of the paddle up and 23 down, then the same at the other end to empty them. We only passed two boats coming up and both of those I helped so all 21 Hatton locks I filled and emptied, no wonder I was feeling weary by the time we reached the bottom, only the two Cape Locks and that was the locking done for the day.







This is Hatton bottom lock with both paddles down!
We continued on to the very handy Lidl right beside the canal at Leamington Spa and did a massive shop to stock up the very empty cupboards.

5 miles and 23 locks

TOTAL 28.5 miles and 42 locks

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Kingswood Junction to Hatton

Wednesday 22nd March

We spent most the day inside keeping dry, we were paying for our glorious day yesterday, the forecast was clearing up by about 4pm. As it looked as though it was clearing we headed off, only to get to the top of the Hatton flight ready for the morning.

We turned onto the Grand Union from the link canal and shortly after it began raining again and didn't stop. Once we reached our intended destination of course it stopped raining and the sun came out.

No photos today it was too miserable.

5 miles and 0 locks

TOTAL 23.5 miles and 19 locks

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Hockley Heath to Kingswood Junction



Tuesday 21st March

We decided to stay put on Monday, the weather was awful and we only intended to get to the top of the Lapworth locks which was only a few miles. So on Tuesday we made an early start and through the two manual draw bridges which are still really tough to operate, the second one being the worst.


We were soon descending the Lapworth Locks and the weather was certainly on our side, it was a gorgeous day and we had a lovely time making our way down the 19 locks to Kingswood Junction, we turned off left onto the Grand Union Link and called it a day as we wanted to hop on the train at Lapworth station to Birmingham.













3 miles and 19 locks

TOTAL 18.5 miles and 19 locks

Friday, 31 March 2017

Alvechurch to Hockley Heath

Sunday 19th March

We were both excited to be setting off on our travels again, although we had been moving location every couple of weeks since December it's not really the same.

We went though Wast Hills Tunnel again and at 2726 yards quite a long one, then up to King's Norton Junction where we left the Worcester and Birmingham Canal and turned right onto the Stratford-Upon-Avon Canal. 

We meandered along to the Shirley Draw Bridge, and I pressed a few buttons to lift the bridge and let James and LJ through. We continued onto Hockley Heath where we decided to stop on some convenient bollards near the Wharf Inn Tavern.



15.5 miles and 0 locks

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Winter Catch Up

Last week we set off on this year's adventures but before I write about our journey here's a quick winter catch up.

We had planned on staying around the Birmingham area as that is where I tend to get work and as long as we are in easy reach of a train station it's not usually a problem. This year however, after a few shifts in Birmingham I was given more work in the Redditch and Droitwich areas so it seemed to make sense to move closer to there and I now had use of a company car making it even easier. Not wanting to go down the Tardebigge flight of 30 locks we stayed around Alvechurch and the top of Tardebigge itselft.

LJ opposite The Cube in Birmingham




Although we enjoy Birmingham it was lovely to be out in the countryside seeing green grass and Dudley enjoyed his walks too, we run out of places to take him in the city centre. 

In February we had to take a trip down to Poole as our tenant was leaving and we had to do a bit of freshening up to the house as they had been there five years. They had kept the house in fairly good condition although rather frustratingly hadn't reported a few minor problems - one of which was dripping taps. We also still had some of our things stored in the loft and had partitioned the garage off and had stuff there too - as none of it had seen day light for over five years it was time for sorting and selling/throwing. Our daughter Jess along with Lee were a great help and I don't think we would have managed it all without them. So it was back to painting, glossing and cleaning getting the house ready for the next tenant to move in. Unfortunately this was all timed around James' birthday and he spent that clearing out the garage!

View over Poole Harbour
On my birthday in March we hired a car and first went down to Tring to attend Les Biggs memorial service, it was lovely to see Jaq (nb Valerie) where she hosted a lovely memorial for friends and family. We managed to catch up with Doug and James, and a few other boater friends there, we also got to put a few faces to names too.

After the service we then drove across to the Forest of Dean where James had arranged a night at the 12th Century Malt Shovel Inn. The following day we drove up to Ironbridge and managed to find a cafe that would allow dogs in, Dudley is very good when we're out, he is quite happy to sit under the table and keep quiet. Then it was back to Tardebigge and a few more weeks work before I gave up my company car and we set off on this year's adventures on Sunday 19th March.

The Malt Shovel bar area

By the reservoir on the Tardebigge flight

Dudley having a little sleepy on the bed