Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Moored on a Battlefield!

Wouldn't it be nice for the weather to be more like summer? This evening we are moored close to where the Battle of Bosworth was fought on the 22nd of August 1485. Richard III was killed and the Tudor dynasty began with Henry Tudor being crowned king as Henry VII later that evening in Stoke Golding nearby. We have just returned to Leo from a very wet walk around the Battlefield with information boards to tell you what went on.
Since the last Blog we've travelled down the Coventry Canal to Marston Junction and we are now more than half way up the navigable part of the Ashby Canal. On Saturday we continued up the valley of the River Tame to Fazeley Junction where the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal turns right into Birmingham.
Fazeley Junction looking towards Birmingham

Direction sign at Fazeley Junction

 We however went left to continue on the Coventry Canal round the outskirts of Tamworth and then a big loop back Northwards to cross from the valley of the Tame to the River Anker valley. We climbed the two pretty Glascote locks in the process.

Aqueduct taking the Canal over the River Tame

Approaching the upper lock at Glascote - Helen emptying the lock ready for Leo

That evening we moored near Polesworth and walked back into the village.  It has a splendid gatehouse to the old Abbey which is said to be 10th century:
Gatehouse at Polesworth

Sunday morning was our biggest set of locks so far going up to Atherstone. Eleven locks but grouped in twos or threes climbing through attractive rural scenery to rather more industrial buildings at the top of the flight.

Lock 5 of the Atherstone Flight

Top lock at Atherstone

We moored at the top opposite a derelict hat factory for a late lunch and cruised on into open country to moor for the night.
Monday we decided that we would visit a boatyard to have our poorly batteries checked. We had concluded the previous evening that we would probably have to bite the bullet and buy a new set of batteries if there was nothing else causing them to not take a full charge and then lose what they had overnight. So we came away much poorer but happier with new better batteries. Kevin at Springwood Haven Marina was very helpful and full of advice which made parting with several hundred pounds rather easier than it might have been.
Leo moored having new batteries fitted

Back on the cut towards lunch time we cruised round Nuneaton which had nothing much to recommend it and then reached Marston Junction where we began cruising up the Ashby Canal.
Marston Junction - turn left for Ashby Canal

The Ashby Canal was built in the 1790s to bring coal out of the mines nearer Ashby-de-la-Zouch. It is a 22 mile cul de sac with no locks. The canal today is quite remote passing near to a few villages and through pleasant rural scenery. Today we found a lovely farm shop by the canal and indulged in delicious pork pie for lunch and we are about to try the sausages this evening. Here are a few pictures of the Ashby so far:
Burton Hastings - view from Leo, we later walked to the church

Swan family

Old Cottages at Stoke Golding Wharf

A large duck family

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will have a look at Market Bosworth, a short cycle ride from the canal, and then travel on to the present terminus of the Ashby at Snarestone. From there we have no choice but to return the way we've come back to the Coventry Canal and perhaps we'll go right into the centre of that city next.

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