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Kingswood Junction, Grand Union to Heron Pub, then down Hatton Flight (12 miles, 21 locks)

Sunday was a good day for the shop!  You can see my canal art items on my Facebook page at

Monday morning, coming out of the junction, we were met by 2 pairs of hotel boats; Duke and Duchess coming into the junction from Warwick direction and Oak and Ash moored after coming down from the Lapworth flight the previous day.  And us! It was like a scene from the canal's heyday!
We moored around the corner on the Grand Union canal facing towards Birmingham in order that we could catch the train for Stratford again.  I had a parcel to collect from the Post Office there and we fancied a proper look around.
When we returned, the owners of the aforementioned sunken butty (refloated and remoored at our new location the previous day), called down to see if she was still ok.

Unfortunately, overnight, some of the water had returned.  This is a picture after she was refloated.  Daz and Richard bailed her out for a while before Daz's partner Sam arrived with a bilge pump, which did the trick, but then leaks became evident in the wooden floor (composite hull).  Luckily Sam was quite an expert, already owning 2 wooden boats and plugged the holes with blonde oakum (hemp soaked in linseed oil).  These would then be coated with 'Charlie', a preparation of dried horse manure and tar, which would finally be covered in a patch of tin and nailed in place to compress the mixture.  We learnt lots off Sam!

Next morning we set off towards Birmingham for a quick nosey and winded at the Heron pub about 4 miles up the canal.  Coming back, Richard caught a few shots for the blog.

Some lovely, probably genuine 'tudor' style houses enroute (I am no expert!), 

as well as this gorgeous property hidden behind lots of foliage..

Surprisingly pretty canal, considering it's original purpose.

Rambling tudor property in a village called Turner's Green.

Tranquil location on top of the high embankment just after the above village,for our overnight mooring.  Panoramic views, large carp sunbathing in the canal, solar panels worked really well and lots of painting done.  

People would pay a lot of money for the views we had that morning!

Shrewley Tunnel, 443 yards long, with a separate tunnel for the horses to get them over the hill!  Although not a long tunnel, it leaked like a sieve in the middle, which was fine but very cold and I found myself reaching for the umbrella!

 A cold shower for both of us! This was after a week of glorious sunshine, wonder what it must be like after a proper deluge!

Onward to moor at Hatton and a quick visit to Warwick on the train!

This morning, in the drizzle, but nice and cool weather, we set off to 'do' the Hatton flight (21 double locks yehay!).  

Because the locks are double, we could breast up the boats and glide down the flight effortlessly! 

 Ok, I did more running between locks than anywhere else, I think, and Richard did lots of jumping on and off to close gates and slow the boats etc, so yes a good hard day's work, but we were moored by 2.30pm at Warwick, so  I think we did quite well!

Wooton Wawen,Wilmcote and back up the Stratford to Kingswood Junction (14 miles, 20 locks)

Wooton Wawen is a lovely village with the canal going over an aquaduct

 high above the busy A3400 below.
We moored overnight, following a walk to Yewtree Farm, where the barns and byres had been transformed into a 'contemporary shopping village' (Pearson's guide description).  Great idea, some shops were closed but then it was Monday morning!  Luckily there was a general store in the village.

A lovely weir in the village allows the river Alne to pass through.

Former paper mill, over the river now converted into flats.  The white building on the end was the schoolhouse.

We pushed on to Wilmcote where we would moor overnight again as the weather had started to get quite hot!

That afternoon we jumped on the train and spent the afternoon in Stratford Upon Avon.
Walking around the basin in Stratford (and having a look at the river), we decided that we would not descend the final 16 locks (32 for us!) to Stratford because the basin was quite small and very busy, no place for us to try to turn  or moor both boats side by side!

So the return journey began in earnest.  This was Edstone Aquaduct, apparently the Stratford Canal's most dramatic engineering feature, boasting 13 brick piers supporting an iron trough to carry the canal water.

As I am no lover of heights, Richard immediately left the motor and opted to walk along the towpath, as I was still on the butty!  Ok, so where could the boat go, it's in a trough with sides level with the gunnels, and it's in gear.....nowhere but forward, so I calmed down!

Striking views across the valley. the aquaduct carries the canal over the Birmingham and Nth Warwickshire railway, a byroad and tributory of the river Alne.  It is 28 feet high and 475 feet long.

Back to the smaller Wooton Wawen aquaduct, but not stopping this time, as we wanted to be back at the junction at Lapworth for Friday.

The locals were a little over we moored at Preston Bagot.  Scooby enjoyed a swim in the shallow river,  a local gave us a load of wood he had just cut down in return for a glass of water and we sheltered from the sweltering sun for the evening, surrounded by wild garlic!

The finished rudder....

11 locks the following day got us to within 3 locks of Kingswood junction.  We had set off early in the morning to avoid the heat and were blessed with cloudy skies most of it.  

And Friday, we completed the hike and moored ready for the weekend at Kingswood Junction, Lapworth.

Kingswood Junction to Preston Bagot (4 miles, 18 locks)

Richard took great interest in an old butty, partially sunk on the Kingswood Junction link, quite disturbed that it had been left to rot 

-  such a shame to see.  It looked like it had been converted into a holiday boat, then ripped out back to the bare steel, but then left to the elements.

The day was spent completing the structure of the rudder and the elum.  I couldn't resist taking this, as Richard steadied the rudder himself to get the brackets attached!

Offered up to see if it looks right - not bad!

Lovely local neighbours - arhhhhh 

Early start as we had several locks to contend with, but how beautiful is the scenery on this canal?

Richard waiting for the lock to empty...

Moored for a couple of nights at Lowsonford and were treated to an impromtu Morris Dancing afternoon!

They gave an energetic hour or two's show, then got back on the double decker from wence they came!

Isn't Richard clever, alright I did the pretty bits, it's not finished yet.....

Yarningale Aquaduct before the lock 33.  Some of the hire boaters struggled to negotiate the locks and we did end up giving some quite rudimentary advice to them, which seemed to be well received!

Me getting ready to bring both boats across the aquaduct.

Took some negotiating, but the butty straightened up just in time to allow me to get the motor in the lock.

Safely locking down with the butty waiting it's turn...

Some of the lock bridges were quite low and we needed to take the chimneys down.

Dragging the butty to the next lock...

Preston Bagot lock, involved Richard waiting below the lock in the road tunnel whilst I brought the butty down.  This was the last lock just as the sun broke through the cloud!!!!!

Lapworth flight - Kingswood Junction (1 miles, 15 locks)

Been a bit busy this week with locks, but it has been enjoyable and we have had some excellent exercise!

Lapworth flight - view of 5 locks down to the bridge.

It only took us 2 hours to get from lock 6 to lock 14, so we thought that wasn't too bad considering we had to do everyone twice!  I took the motor down, setting the lock up for the next one and Richard dealt with the butty, dealing with refilling the lock and bowhauling across each pound.

View from the lock joining from the Grand Union junction (Kingswood) - we didn't get wet, sheltering under the BW office canopy just in time!

Same view up the flight, just standing on the bridge, shown in the previous picture.

Barrel-roofed cottages stem from the use of the same wooden frames used to build the brick road bridges which span the canal.  These quaint cottages are common along this length of canal.

We moored along the link between the 2 canals, turning around on the Grand Union the next morning so we would be facing the right way to go down the Stratford Canal.

Where there has to be a bridge over a lock, helpful slits in the bridge have on the whole been retained, which means dragging the butty in or out of the lock doesn't need to include gymnastics!

A fitting tribute!

Our work on the 'pringle jumper' rudder continued with avengence....