Boatwif Blog

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Boats, cars and a starry moment…

Bancroft Basin to Avon River bank: 1½ miles, 1 lock BOATS It’s with relief that narrowboat crews eventually arrive at Bancroft Basin in Stratford-upon-Avon. You can tie up against a floating pontoon    (spaces for about 16 boats) and just watch other boats… There’s the wide beam restaurant boat The Countess of Evesham and another wide beam which runs river trips for tourists.    Permanently moored are the ice-cream boat and a baguette-selling boat. Occasionally narrowboats arriving in the Basin...

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To Stratford – and a Cautionary Tale

Rowington (Grand Union) – Lowsonford (South Stratford Canal) – Wootton Wawen – Wilmcote Lock Flight – Bancroft Basin, Stratford: 15¼ miles, 34 locks One of those “Compare and contrast” exam questions came to mind after arrival at Kingswood Junction. This junction is where the northern and the southern sections of the Stratford-upon-Avon Canal meet the Grand Union Canal.   How different the “Strattie” is from the Grand Union… The Grand Union is wide, intended for broad-beamed boats, able to move all...

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Warwick and the ‘Stairway to Heaven’

Saltisford Arm Warwick to Rowington Embankment 5½ miles, 21 locks There’s a haven for fatigued boaters at Warwick – it’s the Saltisford Arm, the stretch of canal that remains of the Warwick terminus of the Warwick and Birmingham Canal.   In a straight line of about 400 yards the Arm stretches back from a bend in the Grand Union, not far at all from the bottom lock of the Hatton Flight. Here the Saltisford Trust has a number of permanent moorings...

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Trumpeting spa charms

Royal Leamington Spa to Saltisford Arm, Warwick: 3 miles and 2 locks Royal Leamington Spa – have you any idea how many spa towns there are in England?  Five maybe, or ten? According to Wikipedia it’s 22 … Think spas and perhaps you think of young ladies in Regency style dresses, fan-waving matriarchs, Assembly Room balls, eligible young gentlemen and invalids in bath chairs ‘taking the waters’. The spa waters of \leamington had been known in Roman times and in the late 1700s...

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Companionable days

Rugby (golf course) – Braunston – Grand Union (Bridge 100) – GU above Bascote Locks – Royal Leamington Spa 30¼ miles 26 locks Counties – there’s always a desire to know one’s whereabouts in county terms – blame it on the many hours spent poring over a Counties of England and Wales jigsaw decades ago… To date, since March 12th , Cleddau has cruised through and into 5 counties – Cheshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire … Now, on the Grand...

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Back to boating…

Market Bosworth Marina – Stoke Golding –  near Marston Junction – All Oaks Wood (North Oxford Canal) –  Rugby (golf course) Since Market Bosworth: 32 miles, 1 lock and 1 tunnel After a mid-afternoon departure from Market Bosworth on Wednesday there was a mooring a couple of hours later, back at Stoke Golding, the lovely church spire in full view again.  There followed a two-task early morning quest: Find evidence of sword sharpening on the church window sills (1485, Battle...

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Not fishwives…

From Kent and the Black Isle From west and from mid Wales From Beds and Brum They came… By train and plane By car from Wales Four sisters, two cousins… The first gathering of this kind was fourteen years ago. On that occasion (in the heart of the Cotswolds) a rather sour fellow diner directed a remark within earshot: “Like fishwives” he had muttered.  The accusation stung. How come? The group, then comprising four sisters and a first cousin, had...

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Floating back through time

Since Shackerstone: 3¼ miles, 1 tunnel, 0 locks Creep up the Ashby Canal in Leicestershire and you’ll sense the cloak of history upon your shoulders… Take Stoke Golding for instance. The graceful church spire is prominent for miles around. It compels a walk up the hill from the canal.     St Margaret of Antioch church (Grade 1 listed) dates back to the thirteenth century     but was extended in the fourteenth century.  You’d think that church and spire have been here...

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On the level in Leicestershire

Burton Hastings – Hinckley – Stoke Golding – Bosworth Battlefield – Shackerstone – Market Bosworth Since Burton Hastings: 25½ miles, 1 tunnel, 0 locks It’s widely known that the Ashby Canal is lock-free. Though from the water there are views of  sloping fields and gentle hills there is no ascending or descending for boats or boaters to do. The canal route makes its way along a 300 feet contour for 20 miles or so, almost to Measham, weaving and twisting,    ...

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Route report

Rugeley – Hopwas – Atherstone – Burton Hastings Some figures since two nights’ mooring in Rugeley (Staffs):  40 miles and 16 locks Counties cruised within: 3 (Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Leicestershire) Canals cruised along, though not in their entirety: 4 (Trent and Mersey, Birmingham and Fazeley, Coventry, Ashby) Rugeley to Fradley Junction is a well-travelled stretch for Cleddau. Long ago, probably in about 1995, she first passed this way. Memories faded though during the mooring days on the lower Grand Union and...