Monday, August 27, 2012

A rude awakening... and a big day.

The sight of all the working boats at Alvecote was one to savour, and they always get my attention when we see them out on the cut, so much so that I have often said to Louise that I would quite like to own one (which always falls on deaf ears). However, on Sunday morning at precisely 5.49am, we weren't quite so taken by the first boat passing us, obviously leaving the gathering. Now one wouldn't be so bad, but it was as though we had hit the 'snooze' button on an alarm clock, as by 6.15am, SIX had passed us. I must admit, the sound of the engines is much more pleasant than an alarm clock, but a lie in would have been nice.

They say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so we decided that as we were up we'd set off. We left about 7.15am and were soon rewarded by a flying display by an adult kestrel and three of her young - a birds version of follow the leader as they swooped and changed direction in line.

Atherstone locks are always pleasant to work and we dropped lucky as we arrived with just one boat ahead already entering the bottom lock. Two quickly followed behind and so many hands made light work. We passed quite a few boats going down, but were never held up and reached the top lock soon after 11am.
Atherstone Locks
The sun was shining and there were plenty of boats passing in the opposite direction, but for some reason today, so many steerers looked miserable and couldn't raise a smile. Louise nearly gave one a heart attack as she said hello quite loudly to him as we passed, causing him to raise his head - worse than some of the anglers we have encountered recently. Why do an activity that makes you so miserable - get off the water and try something different !!!

Louise took the helm as we left Nuneaton and I walked the dogs towards the junction with the Ashby Canal at Marston Junction. We always seem to meet boats here and today was no different. A cruiser was just leaving the Ashby as a 70' narrowboat was about to make the difficult right turn onto it. The narrowboat steerer was moaning that the horn of the cruiser had confused him and words were exchanged. Louise held well back until they sorted themselves out and then moved forward, just as another cruiser came into view from Hawkesbury. I signalled to her to stay back and waved the cruiser to come through which worked well. Louise then started to proceed through the bridge as a narrowboat appeared at speed. There was another narrowboat behind us by now, so I signalled to the steerer to slow down, to no avail. As it got closer I shouted to him to slow down as there were two boats coming towards him. 'Where?' was the reply !!! 'In the bridge, I suggest you hit reverse' was the advice. It was all a bit tight, but Louise coped with it all very well and didn't spill a drop of her wine.

When we arrived at Hawkesbury, there were plenty of moorings, but we decided to carry on and find a quiet mooring on the Oxford. I had forgotten how few opportunities there are along this stretch and there are certainly many sections of bank in need of attention. We wished we had stopped at Hawkesbury, but we finally moored beyond Ansty in a nice spot at Hopsford Aqueduct although a bit close to the railway line. I had a decent evening fishing catching some good roach and skimmers.

Monday will be a much quieter day... we hope.

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