Saturday, July 08, 2017

Change of county, change of canal.

So, where were we? Ah yes, just outside Hinckley on Wednesday afternoon. Despite the forecast of thundery showers on Thursday it stayed fine, so we toddled on a bit, stopping about half a mile short of Marston Junction.

Having a play with the macro setting on the camera…DSCF0343

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The bee moved it’s head in the second shot. Not very co-operative…

Across the canal from where we’d moored is open fields of wheat, but in the 15th century this was a small settlement, Stretton Baskerville.
Listed in the Doomsday Book as plain Stratone, it was held under the protection of a Saxon leader, Eadric the Wild, but following the Norman invasion it became part of the holdings of Ralph de Mortemer, and by the 12th century it had acquired it’s suffix as it became a part of the estate of the Baskerville family.
I imagine life for the smallholders working the land went on much as it always had for the next couple of hundred years as the manor passed through several hands, but it was when the Twyford family took possession that everything changed. In the late 15th century the roughly 800 acres were “enclosed”, fenced to allow the grazing of livestock, and the 100 or so residents of the village were evicted. What became of them isn’t recorded…
Ironically, the land that was enclosed for grazing has now pretty much been opened up again for arable farming.
There’s little left now to indicate the site of the village, a raised mound where the church once stood and tree-fringed damp depressions that indicate the sites of fish-ponds.DSCF0354

The rain never materialised but it stayed cloudy although still very warm.

One way to cool the dogs off…
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Meg prefers a fan…

We’re back to the stone bridges again now.DSCF0356

Through the narrow rock cutting near Bulkington Road Bridge.DSCF0359

We pulled in just past Bridge 3, and were immediately accosted by the locals, begging for treats.DSCF0364

Yesterday we stayed put. I had a few little jobs to do, my legs were a little weary from a good run first thing, and anyway it was bloody hot in the afternoon! Still no rain…

So on to today, having left Leicestershire for Warwickshire on Thursday, today we left the Ashby Canal for the Coventry Canal.

Leaving the very pleasant mooring near Bridge 3DSCF0366

Some people moor in the most extraordinary places!DSCF0368
There were two boats on the bend, but the one coming towards us has just set off. It’s very shallow on the inside of the corner.

That’s it then, just the narrow approach to the junction bridge, where the stop-lock used to sit, then the turn out onto the Coventry.DSCF0370

We’d debated what to do while we were moored up, and the decision was made to go north. We’ll head back up onto the Trent and Mersey, up to Stoke and maybe have an excursion on the Caldon Canal. Then through Harecastle and onto the Macclesfield Canal.
It makes sense; if the old body stays together this summer I‘m planning on an autumn half marathon up Manchester way, so we’ll be in the right neck of the woods.

So Mags kept an eye out for oncoming traffic, and I made the right turn to head back up towards Nuneaton.

An outstanding tree…
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The wheat (or corn??) is turning golden now as it ripens with this fine weather.

There’s not a lot to report about the rest of the trip. We passed a few boats going the other way, and were passed by another who was obviously on a mission to get somewhere. We wended our way through the built-up area of Nuneaton, then past the old quarries on Tuttle Hill before fetching up at Hartshill.

Boot Wharf in Nuneaton
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An unusual wedge shaped roofline allows greater headroom for getting in and out of the cabin, but doesn’t look very attractive.
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I much prefer a sliding hatch.

Springwood Haven looks a pleasant spot.
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I nearly pulled in for diesel and an ice-cream, but decided to press on instead. We don’t really need either…

Surprisingly, especially for the weekend, the moorings alongside the Anchor were empty.DSCF0378

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Probably a few boats there now, I would think.

Novice canoeists from the centre next to Bridge 31 were a hazard to be negotiated as we pulled onto the wharf at Hartshill Yard, but we got there in the end. The fore-end of a narrowboat is quite daunting when you’re sat with your bum below water level…

Hartshill Yard.
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And that was about it. Through Bridge 32 and we moored up on the 48 hour moorings.DSCF0386

We’ll be staying here tomorrow, moving on towards Atherstone on Monday.

Locks 0, miles 10½

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