Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Back onto familiar waters

Friday morning had us wondering whether to do a short journey that day, finishing at the bottom of Atherstone Locks, or the longer one to the top. Hmmm. We're really not in a hurry (despite the fact that our washing machine's not working, and we have a large pile of washing waiting in the shower room to be done), so we go for the short option for a change.

Down we went to Fazeley Junction, to join the Coventry Canal. Familiar territory once more. It was like Piccadilly Circus! As we approached this T-junction, a boat passed across in front of us. Then stopped. Reversed. Went forward again, and disappeared from view. We moved forward cautiously. Then his bow appeared in the bridge-hole, and he started up the Birmingham and Fazeley towards us. Grace backed Kantara off as he pulled over to our right, to moor.

Two more boats passed across in front of us, one in each direction. We edged forwards. Another stopped across our exit from the B & F, waited while another two passed him, then moved off, making to turn left up towards us. But then he saw us, closer than him to the bridge over our exit, and he stopped, effectively blocking off the top of the T. He beckoned to us to proceed. I indicated our intention to turn right (just as well, since he was blocking the left), he looked behind him and gave us the all-clear to complete our turn. Grace brought Kantara out slowly. The waiting boat had now moved across to the bank opposite our exit, reducing Grace's turning-space, but she did it with only a minor bounce off the far bank. With a "phew!", we moved on a little to moor up for lunch.
Unusual, castellated footbridge!

Glascote Locks, just two of them, were silly busy, with craft in both directions waiting to pass through. I locked with a woman from a 25' boat with an outboard motor, and weighing just 5 tons. It suffered badly from any significant wind, and even from the wash of bigger boats. We'd watched them being bounced around as we followed them to the locks. She and her husband had had her for six years, for use on weekends and holidays, to help them decide if they wanted a bigger one when they retired. Despite her disadvantages, they loved her, and it seemed very likely that they would, indeed, buy a larger one one day, and do more adventurous cruising.

They left us at Glascote Basin at the top of the locks. The boat was going to have her hull blacked while they took themselves off to Spain for a holiday.

We carried on through Tamworth, Alvecote and Polesworth, until finally we left the built-up areas behind and slipped into wide, green countryside. We found a lovely place to moor at Bridge 50. It felt as though we were miles from anywhere, but Atherstone was just two miles away.

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