Sunday, September 11, 2016

A smelly end to the day!

Misty drizzle softened the countryside as we moved on this morning. The Coventry Canal is truly beautiful, except for the bit through Nuneaton, which still has a long way to go even before it can be called attractive. Bedworth, too, Enough said! There were a lot of craft on the move. Hire-boats, owner-boats, working boats, a boat and butty. Many of these will have come off the Ashby Canal, where the Moira Festival had been held over the weekend.

After a lazy lunch south of Nuneaton, we moved on past Marston Junction. A small boat turned off the Ashby after we'd passed, and speeded up behind us. Small boats are nippier than bigger ones, and we didn't want to hold him up. We know what that feels like! So we pulled over, and beckoned him past. Mistake! The boat was skippered by a single-handed man, with a restricted view because of a large box on the roof. His steering was very erratic, and he slowed down once he'd overtaken. Very annoying! Now we were crawling, and it got progressively worse. He looked very agitated, and kept peering over the back of his boat. Perhaps he had boat problems.

Arriving at the start of the Hawkesbury moorings, he pulled over and stopped. As we passed, it looked as if he did have issues with his engine or prop. Poor bloke. I know how he felt!

Grace took Kantara around the 180° turn into the Hawkesbury basin, we were now back on the Oxford Canal. Or, rather, we were once we'd been through the very shallow stop-lock. And the Oxford is beautiful, too - after the first half mile or so, anyway.

But then we remembered the problem it has that we'd experienced on our way out, weeks and weeks ago. It has little in the way of good moorings. The banks are often rocky, or have reeds and rushes growing against them. Or both. So we travelled longer than we'd intended - as we had on our way out - until finally we found a stretch or Armco, only long enough for us to moor against after the skipper of the boat in front had moved his craft forwards six feet.
 Back a while, between bridges 19 and 24, we'd been through very polluted water. Very black, with white, bubbly patches, smelling foul. Chemically. And it was leaving a thick, black deposit on overhanging plants. Water birds had deserted it. After mooring, I phoned the CRT emergency line, and reported it. They already knew. Let's hope they got it sorted out before it did real damage.


  1. It's funny that you find our canals so big and, well, big, but I'm beginning to think we'd find the English canals terribly slow, small and crowded. I'd still love to do them, but maybe earlier in the season before it gets so very busy. Lovely posts as always and great photos!

  2. Ahh! But you see, for us, it's not the destination that's the most important. It's the journey. The canals are so varied in character. They all have their own special nature. Travelling slowly allows us to immerse ourselves in our surroundings, to enjoy them thoroughly. You can't appreciate the UK inland waterways at speed. And we've never experienced crowded canals, merely a few bottlenecks from time to time. Indeed, you'll find my blog mention often how we've cruised for days without meeting another craft. Small? Yes, some of them are. But it's no problem to us. We could choose to avoid them, if it were!

    Thanks for your appreciation of the blog! :-D