Boatwif Blog

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To the Far End

Ambion Wood – Market Bosworth – Snarestone – Market Bosworth 16 miles, 2 tunnel transits, 0 locks Mid-afternoon (Bank Holiday Monday) the mission to reach the top /the end of the Ashby Canal was continued. Under the disused railway bridge    (paths from here through the woods to the Battle of Bosworth Exhibition and Shenton Railway Station) and past King Richard’s Field… Donkeys,   an aqueduct     and an offside skeleton     all caught the eye… It’s this central Ashby Canal...

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EmBATTLEd

Ashby Canal: Hinckley to Ambion Wood: 7¾ miles Progress along the Ashby Canal may seem serene and peaceful – but despite the  gentle surroundings the Cleddau crew felt increasingly embattled as they made their way north. There’s the difficult sightlines to contend with – trees, bushes and bankside growth often making it hard to see oncoming boats. The canal has long had a reputation for shallow water – when passing moored boats on the towpath side and meeting oncoming moving...

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Sightings along the 300 foot contour

 Hillmorton (North Oxford Canal) – Hinckley (Ashby Canal) 22½ miles, 1 lock, 1 tunnel transit, 1 swing bridge  Some 2½ miles on from Hillmorton is Rugby, a magnet for boaters along the North Oxford Canal. There’s a water point there – and easy access to an enormous Tesco Superstore (one of those “open to midnight” types!) There’s a limit of course to what you can trundle up a footpath and along a towpath on your back, but at least the...

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Careful at the locks

 Crick – Norton Junction – Braunston – Hillmorton  17 miles, 16 locks, 2 tunnel transits Back to the boat – would it be fit for another little voyage? Well, yes – the bilges were empty of excess water, thanks to some fine plumbing detective work which had identified water overflow from the calorifier as the problem, and created a pipe diversion to an existing external hull fitting.   (This solution was a relief, as Boatwif for one had had anxious...

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Recent Eye Catchers

Crick – Elkington – Crick  10½ miles, 0  Locks, 0 tunnel transits So what’s caught the eye in recent weeks? Cal Guy Jnr has flown back to California (the new school year starts on 15th August). Just flying over northern Scotland, he had texted from 30,000 feet in the air. No doubt he was looking at a moving map screen, but maybe playing these various board games had helped him recognise the land below. Before and after his Cleddau training...

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Learning the ropes…

Crick – Welford – Crick – Braunston – Napton Junction – Braunston – Crick  53 miles, 28 locks, 4 tunnel transits Cal Guy Jnr (now 13) had waged a campaign to spend his long school summer break in the UK. He was posted onto an aeroplane at LAX on June 12th and arrived safely a day later at Heathrow on June 13th.  An eight hour time difference and a twelve hour flight take some getting over… Not surprisingly he wanted...

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Three Latter-Day Musketeers

Stratford-upon-Avon, again – but by car this time. There is a history to certain gatherings: twenty years ago a first sisters-and-cousin liaison took place somewhere in the Cotswolds (Chipping Norton, actually, prior to its days of fame as Cameron and Clarkson country…) In 2023, with two decade-changing birthdays to mark, plans were laid to re-convene, this time in Stratford-upon-Avon. Last year in 2022    ‘The Coven’, aka ‘The Famous Five’, had gathered in Crickhowell in Powys. This year straightforward transport...

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Not far now

Braunston Top Lock to Crick Marina: 8¼ miles, 7 Locks  Onward on Sunday – the only way was forward and the way forward is through Braunston Tunnel (1873 metres /2048 yards long).     It’s wide enough for two boats to pass each other, but should you meet another boat near the Norton Junction end passing feels trickier because of the slight S bend.  Two oncoming boats were met, both near the S bend – but no hull contact was made –...

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Uphill – and uphill some more…

 Radford Semele to Braunston Top Lock  15¾ miles, 29 Locks  Regarding boat journey plans the Captain runs several spreadsheet options: currently he examines his “slow” and his “fast” plans, calculates travel hours, lock numbers and estimated Destination B arrival dates – and then discusses the possibilities and choices. A “slow” return from Destination A (Stratford-upon-Avon) to home moorings (Destination B) was producing a date around 24th June, a “fast” date could mean arrival on or after 17th June… The discovery...

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Downhill to Radford Bottom

Kingswood Junction to Radford Semele: 12 miles, 23 locks  After the climb up from Stratford-upon-Avon Cleddau was turned right at Kingswood Junction onto the Grand Union Canal.     Turn left here and the waterway heads north to Birmingham, but a right turn leads to Warwick, and onward to Oxford, Braunston and London… It’s broad, this canal, and deep. There was a pause for water at Turner’s Bridge, where loud rock music throbbed from an open French window, accompaniment for the...