May Bank Holiday
Friday 1st May
Here we go again into what will hopefully be the start of a decent summer, Last year at this time we got “frazzled” on the may day weekend, this year the forecast is not so good but it should be dry with sunny intervals. Our journey began at three o’clock, the wind was a bit strong and gusty but we made our way out of the marina and on to the Ashby canal without any problem at all. We haven’t really travelled this way much since the end of last summer, preferring instead to cruise the Ashby between Hinckley and various places to the north during the winter months. It’s always nice to cruise new, or even forgotten stretches of the canal and this day was no exception. Half an hour after leaving the marina we passed the Lime Kilns on the A5 before heading into miles of farmland, Having neglected this stretch of the canal for so long and often relegating it to just a passage to somewhere else, it was nice to see it in its spring-like glory, As usual, two hours saw us at Marston Junction, emerging onto the Coventry canal and heading south. We started to pass a few more boats but generally the canal was quiet.
We started our approach to Hawkesbury junction just before six o’clock and although we passed a couple of mooring spaces, we fully expected to go round the turn, through the stop lock and then find a place near the site of the old power station at Longford. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the last mooring before the junction was free so we quickly pulled up and secured the mooring just after 6.15. It’s no big deal for us but this is a prime mooring spot, especially for the holiday making fraternity. After a walk to the Greyhound, a couple of pints and a spritzer, we returned to the boat and played the narrowboat board game that we inherited when we bought Phoenix III.
Saturday 2nd May
We awoke at six having spent a very comfortable first night on our new mattress. The sun had just risen and showed us a clear blue sky. After a cup of tea and a few pictures of the area, we set off just on seven o’clock, Round the turn and through the stop lock, we made our way on to the North Oxford canal. The weather was perfect for boating; cooI air, blue sky and hardly any breeze. We passed through Ansty, Stretton Stop and Newbold on Avon before arriving at Rugby just over four hours later.
A visit to the Tesco superstore at Rugby and then we were off again, We made our way down to Hillmorton where we refilled the water tank and emptied the toilet before turning round below the locks and heading back north. Re-tracing our steps, we enjoyed the lovely weather, eventually finding a mooring place opposite the Rose & Castle at Ansty.
Sunday 3rd May
Once again the weather forecast has changed and now we are facing two days of wind and rain. We left Ansty just after half past nine and headed back towards Marston Junction and the Ashby canal. We reached Sutton stop around eleven o’clock and shuffled through the lock between a couple of oncoming boats: The air was cool and the breeze even colder but the sun shone so we pushed on along the Coventry canal, reaching Marston junction just before midday, A few minutes later the bar opened with a beer, a glass of wine and a couple of rounds of ham and cheese sandwiches, We encountered a few boats on our passage up the Ashby making the journey both interesting and varied.. We passed the marina not long after two o’clock and eventually moored near Bosworth battlefield just before half past four. The sun still shone, we had dinner and then listened to music before turning in for the night
Monday 4th May
Typical bank holiday weather! We knew it was coming so we weren’t too bothered. We had to reverse the hundred yards back to the winding hole but with Sue on the bank with the centre rope, the process was fairly quick, certainly quicker than carrying on to the next turning point at Market Bosworth. The rain eventually stopped and other than a stop at Sutton Cheney for breakfast and emptying the essentials, the trip back was fairly uneventful. The Met Office have predicted that we should be in for a good summer, let’s hope they’re right and this is the first of a number of weekends out on the cut.