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Hawkesbury Junction to Foxton (50 miles and 17 locks)

Been a bit of a mad few days recently and now just starting to calm down...

Approaching the busy 14 day moorings on the outskirts of Braunston

The final segment of our return journey to Foxton for the Bank Holiday weekend, went very smoothly, and we were able to push on, eating up the miles.

The beautiful ridge and furrow fields surrounding Braunston

The old 'arm' containing the shop, work sheds and marina

We got into Braunston fairly late in the day, so were lucky to get a mooring as it was very busy.

The entrance to Crick tunnel with the light at the end and no boats coming the other way!

We pushed on up the flight of locks at Braunston, ventured peacefully through the tunnel and Watford flight in order to get through Crick before the Crick Bank Holiday traffic started moving around.

This tickled me watching the guy on the right banging the beginnings of the Crick Show footbridge with a big hammer.  Don't hit it too hard!!

We were right to get the miles out of the way, as the moorings at Crick hadn't remotely begun to fill up, ready for the show at the weekend.

Time for a walk up the Welford Arm with the dogs ~ 11/2 miles from the junction

We moored at Welford Junction and decided to walk the small distance to the shop at Welford. Enroute, we met up with friends Jo and Keith on their narrowboat Hadar.  We hadn't seen them since Keith had endured a devasting illness last year.  Looking stronger now, they are getting out and about, which is what living aboard is all about.

View from Welford towards the canal via the pub carpark

We wondered to the shop up the hill and bought a few bits to keep us going over the weekend.

If you look closely in the bushes, you can see the local wildlife on the Welford Arm ~ an inflatable panda!

Getting back to the boat, I noticed a big dint in the new elum (decorated rudder) on the butty.  Someone, and we think it was when we had moored up along with other boats during the hail the other day, had run up behind us and not stopped in time!

Hidden by the new tingle (small rope fender) on the back of the elum, the dint is well disguised

These things happen, but we were hoping the people who don't take appropriate action whilst mooring up, would not be out yet this year!!  

Leaving Welford Junction the next day

The last part of  our journey to Foxton, as only to take another 2 hours, if that.   This comprises of some beautiful scenery and a tunnel at Market Bosworth.

Taking charge of the delivery.  Masses of metalwork stock has now arrived for my decorative tendencies to explore!

Foxton was busy over the Bank Holiday weekend, (probably the inclement weather) but it was enjoyable, especially as we had visits from my mum and our eldest.  We were also joined by Jo and Keith on Hadar, so we had good company for the remaining weekend. 

.....and now we have had a visit from some locals!  Their purpose was to sample the grass on the other side of the fence and when challenged, disappeared back.

We have now been joined by the Candy Boat and it's crew, Gail and Trevor.  Hopefully this weekend  at Foxton, will be better weather and again we will have great company..

Handsacre to Hawkesbury Junction (36 miles, 16 locks)

Lots of miles done this week.  We have persevered to get the boats back to Foxton for the Bank Holiday weekend in order to open the gift shop on the butty.

Enroute to Polesworth ~ I walked the dogs whilst Richard steered the boats

Atherstone flight, as always, we tackled over 2 days ~ being 11 single locks, so that's 22 for us!

Not sure if these are coots or moorhen chicks, but balancing as if their lives depended on it, as we passed by.

During our passage up the flight, we went into Atherstone town to stock up on supplies and get a mouse for our pc, to revive it, following the demise of our laptop.  Entering the computer shop, Richard spotted the laptop deals and suggested, we simply replace the laptop for an ex display one. So here we are on the new laptop, a great deal with bags of memory and Office already installed, sorted!

Hartshill Yard looking a bit unloved of late

Wind has been a pain this week, but we have grabbed the hours of good  weather where we could in order the get the miles out of the way.

A bridge with trees growing on it!

That day, we passed through Nuneaton, with the new houses bordering the canal and all the allotments.  

The canal is lined with allotments in Nuneaton

We still don't like the feeling of Nuneaton.  Don't know what it is, not many joggers, or women walking on their own and plenty of rubbish. We never seem to moor up in the town, but neither do many other boaters?

The Stig at Charity Dock

On our way past Bedworth, we pass Charity Dock, where the proprietors have a disturbing fetish for mannequins amongst other paraphernalia.  The new one we spotted was Top Gear's The Stig.

Safely around  'in one' ~ the U  bend at Hawkesbury Junction (Sutton Stop)

A welcome break in the journey is Hawkesbury Junction.  Richard expertly steered the motor around the U bend from the Coventry Canal, towards the stop lock leading onto the Oxford Canal.

The Greyhound pub at Hawkesbury Junction, busy as usual.  

Leaving the stop lock

Approaching the junction, there had been carnage! A boat was winding (turning around) and a charity boat was waiting for them and then us to get around the junction before they moved off, but were waiting right on the inside of the bend.  As it was, we got round the bend fairly easily, and Richard opened the gate of the lock. No problem.

Leaving Hawkesbury Junction heading towards Rugby on the north Oxford Canal

I would like to apologise for our delay with this edition of our story, but the dead laptop played a significant part, so I will blame it on that!  Meanwhile our journey back to Foxton continues....

Norbury Junction to Handsacre (44 miles, 16 locks)

Thank you to everyone who came and supported the Norbury Canal Festival last weekend despite the weather.  We had a great time and were introduced to many new traders we wouldn't normally have crossed paths with, as the Shropshire Canal is new territory to us.  We even got to be in the paper!  Stafford Newsletter

Turning back onto the Staffs and Worcester Canal at Autherley Junction

After the event, we moved off that evening to moor overnight in Gnosall.  We desperately needed some foody bits and quite fancied a takeaway after a busy weekend.

Reilly and Lister enjoying the view from the stern of the butty

Then each day, trying to avoid the wind, we made our way to Great Haywood in order to trade for the weekend.

Back through the narrow bits

The Roundhouse Gift Shop at Gailey

Passing the pub at Penkridge

Dusk in Great Haywood

Shugborough Hall at Great Haywood

Tea Junction ~ our friends Tracey and Ray run this and travel around like we do, all year round

Leaving Great Haywood this morning at 7am, we dropped down the lock and had a glorious quiet journey to Rugeley, where we could do a proper shop and some errands in town.

This evening, we have been able to do a bit of work on the butty and relax before our 10 day journey back to Foxton for the next Bank Holiday weekend....

Brewood to Norbury Junction (11 miles, 1 lock)

After a day walking into the village of Brewood and then some more jobs on the boats, we set off in the beautiful sunshine along the Shropshire Union Canal.

Gorgeous gorgeous.....

View from Avenue bridge ~ very ornate balustraded bridge leading to Chillington Hall

Avenue Bridge

View of Avenue bridge on the approach to Brewood

'Just nod if you can hear me...'

Another Comfortably Numb on the outskirts of Brewood ~ good taste is all I can say!


We passed by Brewood, where we had walked to the previous day (6 mile round trip!) to visit the shop.

Treelined cutting making the journey quite magical

We moored overnight at Wheaton Aston and tackled the lock in the morning, followed by the waterpoint and facilities.  The lock is the only one in 25 miles of the canal.

Cowley tunnel ~ 81 yards long and unlined showing the rocky ceiling

Coming into Gnosall Heath and our mooring for the next 2 nights

A visit to Stafford on the bus the next day, and we found this remarkable old building

Richard picks up the butty as we head out of Gnosall.  I like to moor in front of the motor, so that the elum (rudder) doesn't get damage by other boats trying to moor

Leaving sleepy Gnosall behind

Old watermill, now a private house

We arrived at Norbury Junction a couple of miles after setting off from Gnosall, no distance at all really.  Filled up the drums with diesel and topped the tank up as the diesel is quite cheap at 59p a litre at Norbury.  

The finished castle scene and lettering to give Echoes a bit of identity

So you find us moored up on the eve of a potentially huge festival, hoping that the weather behaves and the crowds arrive............