The Griff, Nuneaton

It is a wet Wednesday, we're boating and there are water shortages. We are moored up on the Coventry Canal just north of Marston Junction where the Ashby heads off east. All day it has been either heavy showers of just heavy rain. At last it has just abated.

We are on our way to explore Northern Waters, the first stage being a trip down the River Trent. Getting to the Trent needs some thought because of the closure of the Leicester Arm. We are going via the North Oxford, Coventry and Trent & Mersey rather than the more direct route via Leicester; or at least that is the plan.
We left Yardley Gobion on Sunday after spending Saturday night on board Albert in the marina; the idea being we could work out what we left at home and then get it! In the end we did have to return home on Sunday morning to get a favourite fleece. When we got underway on Sunday morning, after purchasing a new gas bottle, the weather was fine but fresh. We went up the first few locks of the Stoke Bruerne flight with a large family group but when we caught up with a single boat ahead and changed partners. As we got towards the top of the flight we were approached by a canoeist who asked about following us through Blisworth Tunnel. When I pointed out that it was not allowed, we offered him a “lift”. He put the kayak on the roof at the Top Lock and enjoyed the experience riding in cabin. He then realised it was two-way working and just how close boats pass in the tunnel. I think he also realised that prohibiting canoes was reasonable. The canoeist was on his way to Market Harborough and was camping out at night. He reckoned that he made around 6 mph so he overtook us. After he had overtaken us he had to walk a section occupied by “Tyson” a viscous swan – he was warned by passing joggers. We finally moored up at Flore Wharf and saw him pass us again.

Canoeist Hitchhiker overtaking us at Bugbrooke

Monday saw us getting up early to try and beat the lock opening restrictions on the Buckby and Braunston flights. We got to Whilton behind another boat, hoping to pair up, but discovered another boat already in the bottom lock so we had to go up alone. It wasn’t easy, it never is on this flight, but in lock 10 we got stuck. An underwater obstruction under one of the gates meant they couldn’t be closed tight. No amount of flushing water and pulling and shoving would make them seal! We were on the point of calling out BW when two crews arrived and lo and behold the obstruction finally moved and we could seal the lock and continue. We made Braunston Top Lock 45 minutes before closure and moored up for the night Braunston. It was quiet.
On Tuesday we visited Midland Chandlers at Braunston and bought some new leisure (domestic) batteries. At Hillmorton only single locks were in use because of the water restrictions. We finally moored up at Rugby and used the opportunity to visit Tesco’s. Not a bad place to moor on a wet day but no TV reception.

NB Callisto passing just north of Braunston

Wednesday, today, found us boating in steady rain. Passed our friends the Westlakes who were going south on NB Morpheus near to Stretton Stop. Bob W and I only managed a few words in the wind driven rain. Stopped for lunch at Ansty and Maggie got really wet as she helped moor up. Later in the afternoon it finally became dry (only just).
Wet day at Sutton Stop (Hawksbury Junction)
Despite the indifferent weather (to use a phrase), we are enjoying our spring boating and looking forward to exploring new waters.