The bonus catchup day was really good to help us get back on track with the diary from 1979. Join us in Day 4 as we disregard the diary completely and do whatever we want!
Only joking. Well, sort of! We got up early to head off on our final holiday cruise. There was a little issue getting the pins out of the solid ground but that didn’t slow us down for long. The plan for Day 4 was simple – to get to the end of the Ashby Canal!
Up by 7.30. Weather same as yesterday – cloudy and sunny. Through Hawkesbury Junction Stop Lock (6″) just after 9am. Reached Ashby Canal at 10.30am. Arrived at Hinkley (Bridge 17) at 1pm.Mum, Tuesday 22nd May, 1979.
We spent the night on the Coventry Canal so we were already ahead of the diary when we started out. It felt like we had the canal to ourselves as we cruised slowly towards Marston Junction – the turn off for the Ashby. The sun was still low in the sky which was pretty to look at but annoying for navigating! At this point we were very confident that we would be able to make it to the end of the Ashby by 6pm at the latest.
The turn into the Ashby is narrow and at a slightly awkward angle if you are approaching from the south as we were. Still, there was plenty of room to manoeuvre and no one else around so there were no dramas.
We were so happy to have finally made it onto the Ashby Canal. It was exciting to be on the Coventry to the day before but this felt different. Perhaps as this little mini adventure of ours is nearly over.
We stopped near Bridge 15 when we spotted a fuel boat. I prefer to get my diesel from the fuel boats as it avoids having to go into marina’s and also because I think its important to support boat businesses! When I checked the tank, it turned out we were getting really low on diesel so lucky for us they were doing a delivery run.
Annamarie made some yummy lunch while we were waiting to fill up. It was a win win situation for me!
We moved on when the tank was full, cruising for about another 2 hours before we pulled in for lunch. This was near Bridge 22. We let the cats out for a little run about but Alice pushed the boundaries too far so their outing was short lived. We like to keep a close eye on them when they are out because we would hate to lose them!
After the rain stopped, we headed on with our journey. Despite the usual attempts by Annamarie to boycott. At this point we had about 2.3 pages left in our Pearson Guide – the 1979 Nicolson Guide having been discarded due to the tiny tiny map being hard to follow. Each page in the book said 2 hours so in my mind, we had about 2.5 hours left tops.
Set off at 2.30 and kept going until 5.45. Stopped at Bridge 42 (Market Bosworth). Restarted at 6.30 after tea. Had 1 or 2 storms before tea and another during. Reached end of canal about 9PM after trying time when we were stuck in the mud across canal. Very pleasant evening weatherwise compared with what we’ve had.Mum, Tuesday 22nd May, 1979.
I think that whilst we have been cruising, the most annoying aspect has been rubbish. Water is easy to manage and power is under control. Diesel and gas we never worry about because there are marinas everywhere. But rubbish needs to be disposed of constantly. Our tiny 10 litre kitchen bin fills up so quickly. I have no idea why as we are using less and less packaging.
As we missed the rubbish disposal point at Hawksbury Junction, the services point at Sutton Cheyney Wharf was a key stop for us. So much so, I even made Annamarie hover to wait for another boat to vacate the services mooring! She held her nerve even though there was a boat behind and a boat approaching. That said, people seem in far less of a hurry on the Ashby… Rubbish was removed swiftly but I decided we should fill up with water “just in case” which probably took us another 20 minutes.
With all the stops in mind, I don’t know why it was a surprise to me when Annamarie gleefully announced we still had 4 hours of cruising before we got to the end of the canal. Looking back, I realise it may have been another boycott attempt… plant the seed early… make me think it was my idea to stop….
We started talking about stopping for dinner at around 6pm. Remember – this was when we were supposed to be happily mooring up at the end of the Ashby, not stopping for dinner with hours of cruising looming ahead.
When we passed Bridge 44 there was a small sign supplied by Canal and River Trust welcoming me to an SSSI area advising me that I needed to be super careful from now on. The main point being – Only moor in designated mooring spots. This was the only warning I saw on the whole canal so I found it a bit frustrating. Also frustrating is the lack of information on their own website about what this really means for boaters.
In summary, SSSI is Site of Special Scientific Interest. There are several of these throughout the Canal system. Ashby is one. I believe that the main intent is to preserve the water vole and a rare breed of dragonfly. The one thing that I would have appreciated was some warning signs earlier up the canal…. Also MORE INFORMATION!!!!
Ahem. We moored up for dinner at the designated mooring spot near Congerstone after Bridge 47. This was the first free spot we had found after Bridge 44. I’m not sure if it’s just us, but we worry about finding mooring spots so when one public mooring spot is full, we immediately moor up when we find the next free spot. Worst case would have been not finding a spot at all, cruising 2 hours to the end, turning round and cruising 2 hours back to the empty spot. Quite frankly neither of us had another 4 hours left in us.
The answer was to stay put. We had our dinner then put the cats in their harnesses to go outside. They didn’t enjoy being in their harnesses too much but it was the only way we would allow them outside. And they needed to go outside. Chances are that we could have let them run loose like we normally do but we didn’t want to put them in danger or have them chase anything protected. The joys of trying to be responsible pet owners….
The upshot of this is of course another vlog. We want to get to the end of the canal and as you started this journey with us, we want to take you too! See you tomorrow!!