Monday 4th July - Stoke Golding to Market Bosworth
Set off today for a much slower day! We left Stoke Golding and cruised very gently towards Market Bosworth.
On the way we passed Sutton Wharf where people were already sitting with teas and coffees watching the boats glide past.
We had got this far on nb Minuet and turned round a few years back. The canal is new territory for us now!
This family of swans were desperately trying to get out of the water as we cruised by. Toby really doesn't like swans!!
We arrived at Market Bosworth and decided to carry on past the visitor moorings beside the bridge. There seemed to be work being done at a building site on one side of the canal and a new marina was being developed on the other side. Unfortunately all very noisy!
We carried on to Bridge 44 where there is space for about 3 or 4 boats and it is incredibly quiet. We walked back along the towpath to Market Bosworth and across the golf course into the village. The village market square is quite idyllic! Unfortunately for us we had arrived on Monday and everything was closed apart from the Co-op!
Tuesday 5th July - Market Bosworth to Snarestone.
A delightful day, warm sunshine, but quite a breeze which made it chilly when the sun disappeared. Snarestone is the current terminus of the Ashby Canal, which used to go as far as Moira.
We have noticed that there are a lot of weeping willows on the canal. They do look lovely, but if you have to get beneath one they can sweep everything off the roof!
As you approach Snarestone you come to the only tunnel on the canal. The village of Snarestone is built over the top of the canal and it has no towpath.
The tunnel is only 250 yds long but is crooked and you can only just see if something is in the tunnel. Although it is quite wide it is only wide enough for one boat at a time.
We arrived at the terminus, moored up and explored the canal as far as the end on foot.
The winding hole at the end is only wide enough for a 52ft boat, so we couldn't turn there. The canal bed beyond is in filled with colliery waste. Restoration will continue through Measham to Moira, but it is a long, expensive and slow process. Maybe we shall see it completed before we need to give up boating!!
Wednesday 6th July - day at Snarestone.
We decided to have a quiet day at Snarestone Wharf. It really is most delightful and incredibly quiet. By about mid morning we were the only ones moored up and we relaxed in the sunshine. We set out our table and chairs on the towpath, got out our books and basked in the sunshine.
In the little office/shop there was a beautiful Measham Teapot. Unfortunately they are not being made any more, but the story goes that the boat men coming through Measham would stop off, order a piece of pottery and collect it as they passed on their way back. Hence the reason why many of the pieces have inscriptions on them.
I think the pieces are very pretty, but they now command quite a lot of money on the antiques market.
Snarestone Pumping Station is now privately owned and has been renovated as a home. It was originally built in 1892 to provide a water supply to Hinckley. The owner of the property told us that it was meant to be a coal mine, but the discovery of water caused them to make it into a pumping station!
The mile markers are quite interesting on this canal - they record the miles from the start, 22 miles, and how many to the end, 8 miles. In this case, these are the 8 miles which have yet to be re-opened between Snarestone and Moira.
Thursday 7th July - Snarestone to Congerstone.
Found today that we had significantly depleted the batteries over the past two days. Too much watching tennis and football we think!! Ran the engines and they soon sorted themselves out. It made us look more closely at all the switches and begin to understand them!
Stopped at the little village of Shackerstone to explore the station for the start of the Battlefield Line which goes through to Shenton and Market Bosworth.
The line was closed today but it looked quite interesting. The village on the other side of the canal was very pretty indeed.
We carried on towards Congerstone and we saw the first water lillies in flower. We also saw our first kingfisher but I wasn't quick enough to get the photo!!
Moored up at Conglestone, by which time I was feeling pretty under the weather with headache and earache, and just wanted to lie down and sleep!
Friday 8th July - Congerstone to Shenton Aqueduct.
A very short cruise today as we want to explore the Bosworth Battlefields. Stopped at Market Bosworth where they are building a new marina, and walked up the hill to stock up on provisions. All the shops were open and we made use of the local butcher and greengrocer.
We then cruised along to Shenton Aqueduct where we set off on a circular walk taking in Bosworth Battlefields Museum, Sutton Wharf for a cup of tea and back along the canal - quite a long walk but very interesting!
The Battle of Bosworth is a milestone in our history. It marks the end of the Hundred Year War. It is referred to as 'two kings - one day' as King Richard was killed on the battlefield bringing to the end the Plantagenet rule and Henry VII was crowned beginning the Tudor dynasty.
Beautiful sunset for the end of the evening, looking back across the aqueduct.
Saturday 9th July - Shenton Aqueduct to Dadlington
Woke this morning to very heavy rain, decided to sit it out until it stopped and then go and find Whitemoors Antique and craft Centre. Fascinating place - I would love to find a piece of Measham pottery but no luck today!!
Short cruise through to Dadlington, moored up for the afternoon and evening, and walked Toby.
Dadlington Wharf is tiny, room for one boat only!!
Sunday 10th July - Dadlington to Hawkesbury Junction
A very blustery day today with many boats on the move. We wanted to put on diesel at Ashby Boatyard, so made our way carefully there. Pulled over at Stoke Golding as it was very, very blustery and waited until it calmed down a tad!
Diesel here was self service - a new one for us. A bit different from filling up a car!!
When the canals were built in the 18th and 19th centuries, they were often routed in such a way that farmers had their land bisected, so bridges had to be provided to allow access to fields on both sides of the canal. These bridges are frequently referred to as accommodation bridges, and however solid and well constructed, don't lead anywhere except from one field to another.
We left the Ashby Canal, now one of our favourites, so beautiful, and turned left onto the Coventry Canal again. We are going to the end of the Coventry Canal in Coventry but are going to moor over night at Hawkesbury Junction.
On the way we passed Charity Dock with a bizarre collection of mannequins!
At the junction there is a semi-derelict engine house, now a listed property.
There is also a handsome cast iron roving bridge made in Derby in 1837, which links the Coventry and the Oxford Canal.
The Coventry Canal is on the left of the picture and the Oxford canal is on the right.
This taken standing on the bridge.
So ends our 5th week of our cruise. We have thoroughly enjoyed the Ashby Canal and would recommend it to anyone simply because of the sheer beauty of the countryside and the stunning little villages.