Boatwif Blog

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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...

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Steps, sisters, spires – and that Dictionary

While moored at Rugeley, Staffordshire… The canal route into Rugeley from the north crosses the River Trent on a fine aqueduct and then takes a sharp left turn towards the town.  In the corner steep stone steps give access to the northern suburbs.      These are The Bloody Steps, steps forever associated with the brutal murder in 1839 of one Christina Collins, who was travelling by boat from Liverpool to join her husband in London. (See story here.) Half...

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Sliding and splashing through Staffordshire

Stoke – Stone – Tixall Wide – Rugeley: 25½ miles, 20 locks ‘Thank goodness for gaiters’ has been the unspoken thought these last few days.  What was forecast to be a dry morning on Friday became a raw downpour by mid-morning. That was the Etruria (top of the six Stoke locks) to Stone day. In the event, full waterproofs were donned mid-cruise, and Friday and Saturday nights were spent at a star (pun alert…) mooring just above Star Lock and the...

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Name dropping at a Middleport mooring

Trace the history of the English canals and you’ll soon appreciate the link between industry and the transport of goods (china clay, coal and pottery). The Trent and Mersey Canal, 97 miles long, stretches between Shardlow in the East Midlands and Preston Brook in the north west.        Its very first sod was cut by Josiah Wedgewood in 1766 at the area now known as Westport Lake (besides which Cleddau was moored on Wednesday night). Ceramics enthusiasts will...

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Down the Macc and through the Harecastle…

Higher Poynton to  Westport Lake 26¼ miles, 13 locks, 1 tunnel “There’s always something to do on a boat…”  Hear that observation accompanied by a sigh and you’ll recognise that the workload on a boat can prove onerous. Often though the Captain says it with glee, briskly even – there are amendments to be made, jobs to be done, projects to be completed… And, last weekend, with the boating season about to start, there were a couple of front deck...

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