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Ashby, spring 1997

if you take 2 boats
We took 2 boats...

A 1-week trip from Ashby Boat Company at Stoke Golding including the Ashby Canal and parts of the Coventry Canal and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Total 92 miles and 26 locks.

Diary extracts:

Sat 1997-04-05
To Ashby Boat Co at Stoke Golding, three cars meeting there. Our boat (with five crew) pointing the wrong way, so we're allowed to take it up a couple of bridges and turn it before the hand-over. This is Charnwood, 68ft. At the turning point, another boat turned then backed to the next bridge. We turned and followed it, and another Ashby boat was coming the other way. Confusion. The other boat, Ashby, 59ft, has the remaining three crew and the dog. That boat has already been turned round. Cars squashed into a fairly small area and keys must be left. Away only at 16h30, after a long-winded hand-over. Stop at Battle moorings, just after br 35, at 18h15. It rained most of the afternoon. Today 4mi, 0l, 1h45m. Moorings are special for the battle site, on the off side. Some of the crew not eating (they ate at lunch time) so 6 to eat on our boat. Then one had to have the chilli without chilli. Some crew from the second boat on ours to avoid the TV. We sent our TV off, preferring the extra space.
Sun 1997-04-06
Dull but dry. Walk around the Bosworth battle site then off at 08h45. Very slow, as shallow and narrow. Stop just before the tunnel at 12h35, then most of us to the "Globe Inn" for lunch. Then on at 14h30 and turn. Finished turning and watering Charn at 15h35. A couple of sudden stops, meeting a boat at a blind bridge hole and another boat swinging in front of us as it went aground at the stern. Stop at Bosworth Wharf at 18h30, then walk into the town, which has a very olde-worlde look. Today about 15.5mi, 0l and 7h50m. We're going quite a lot slower than we expected to, less than 2mi/h despite no locks. One of the crew complaining that he can't sleep for the sound of snoring and of the central heating pump, so we're to try the heating off tonight. Both boats are 4-cyl Listers, water-cooled with hull tanks and contact cooled. Charn has hot water from gas and engine, heating by gas and radiators. Ash has hot water from engine and diesel space heating. Both have electric fridges, separate oven/grill and hobs.
Mon 1997-04-07
Dry, sunny, with a pleasantly cool breeze. Start 09h00, after watering Ash. Trying our new crew members steering. It is much easier driving the smaller boat, esp in the narrow and shallow bits and the tight bends. Pass boatyard at 11h45, then moor by br 16 at 13h20. Ash leading the way this morning, and going pretty slowly. The Wharf Inn is shut lunchtime Mon-Wed, so to the Lime Kilns Inn, which did us food, Pedigree and desserts. This by br 15, but we walked from br 16. Re-start at 15h15. Junct at 17h20, and moor at br 19 on Coventry at 18h15. Walk into centre of Nuneaton, a mostly car-free, reasonable-looking centre. Eve on boat. Our sensitive crew member still kept awake by the heater pump (and waking us up at 3h this morning to ask how to turn it off and then not doing it), so he's to try the front cabin tonight, with the fold-out bed. There's a pub here according to Nicholsons, but it seems to have become a new housing estate. Today 16.5mi, 0l, 7h20m.
Tue 1997-04-08
Sunny all day again. Start 08h45. Stop for water at Hartshill yard (br 31-32), about 10 min (we didn't wait for Ash). Lunch at the top of Atherstone flight (by br 41) 11h20..14h00. 'Bridge and Barge' by canal was very basic, no food, had a pint there. 'Maid of the Mill' closed. Into town and into a pub with pop videos, the 'White Lion', for another pint and food. Aft into the flight. Lots coming up, so it took a time, and Ash got held up. Paused 16h..16h40 at the bottom to get back together again. Stop at Polesworth, br 52, at 17h40. Walk into the town, and later again to get ice-cream and other bits. Today 11mi, 11l, 5h35m.
Wed 1997-04-09
Start 09h05, and another sunny day, hot in the afternoon. Water above Glascote locks, by the Reliant works, smelling of fibreglass resin, getting together again below the flight at 11h15. Then to 'Tame Otter' at Hopwas, eating a large salad in the garden. Moor between brs 'Dixons' and 'Lichfield Rd', 12h30..14h30. After lunch, failed to turn at the hole by Tamhorn Farm br, as not quite long enough for Charn, so on to turn at Huddlesford Jnc, at 16h30. This put an unexpected couple of hours on the trip, which was compounded by Ash being so slow. We had to stop a couple of times to wait for them to catch up. Finally moor at Fazeley, just before the junc, at 19h15. Still (just) on schedule - it took us 2 days to here from passing the boatyard just before lunch on Mon, and we've 2 days to get back. Today 18.5mi, 2l, 7h50m.
Thu 1997-04-10
Hot and sunny all day. Out for a paper, then onto the 2 water points. Off after water at 08h50. After locks at Tamworth at 10h45, then straight to Atherstone locks, arr at 12h05. Lunch on boat above the locks, away again at 13h. Charn leading; a tiny outboard-powered narrowboat with 2 women on board came between us for the last 5. [They turned round, saying that they'd miscalculated and the route they'd originally chosen would mean one of them having to do 50 locks on her own.] At the other end of locks Charn arr 15h30, waiting for Ash till 16h. Then on to the Anchor at Hartshill (br 29) at 17h. To the Anchor for lots of food eve. Today 13mi, 13 locks, 6h45m.
Fri 1997-04-11
Change of weather, dull with a cold wind. Start 08h30. Onto the Ashby again at 10h30, and stop for lunch on the boat at br 8..9 for 11h50..13h05. Then on, in the worst of the wind, to stop just before br 22 at 15h15. Glad to stop, as pretty chilly. Little bit of boat cleaning and packing. Walk toward the MIRA proving track. Then dinner on boat. Today 13mi, 0l, 5h10m.
Sat 1997-04-12
Today 0.5mi, 0l, 0h15m. A frost on the boat, though the sun's out and rapidly melting it by the time we set off at 8h. Moor at yard at 8h15. Both boats fuelled. 42l in Charn, 92l in Ash. Ash has diesel space heating. Charn also used 26 to 29 kg of propane, say 30 to 40l, so maybe they're not too dissimilar. All the cars out after some jiggling of the other cars. Overall total for week 92 miles, 26 locks, 42h30m. 10 mi/UKgall for Charn.

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