Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summer Cruise - Week 6

Monday 11th July - Hawkesbury Junction to Coventry and back again

We woke up and it looked so dull that we thought we would give today's plan a miss, but it soon brightened up and we decided to set off.  

We stopped just past the junction to put on water and were delighted by the artwork on the bridge over the canal.  This marks the start of 'The Greenway' - a stretch of the canal which terminates in the Coventry Basin and has a large number of sculptures decorating the canal banks.

The canal then passes under the M6 and all the associated noise that goes with it.  I am quite pleased we moored further back over night as it was quite a bit quieter!

Exhall Basin is a private mooring area and is very pretty, but I would find it too noisy as it is so close to the motorway.

Although this is now housing it once used to be the wharf for loading and unloading coal from the last working mine in the area, Keresley Colliery.  

Coal delivered was for the Foleshill gas works the site of which is now occupied by the Ricoh Arena, home to Coventry City Football Club and Wasps Rugby Club.

Nearing the terminus we passed 'Cash's Hundred Houses' an elegant row of weavers cottages built in 1857 to house Joseph Cash's workforce.  Their living accommodation was on the first two floors and the individual weavers' looms on the top floor.  There were supposed to be 100 cottages but only 48 were ever built and 37 remain today.

Once we had moored up in the Canal Basin we walked in to the city centre and visited the cathedrals.  

On the night of 14 November 1940, the city of Coventry was devastated by bombs dropped by the Luftwaffe. The Cathedral burned with the city, having been hit by several incendiary devices.  

The decision was taken to retain the ruins of the Cathedral as a reminder of the folly of war and to build a new Cathedral immediately adjoining it.

We also saw the statue of Lady Godiva who according to a legend dating back to the 13th Century rode naked (covered only by her long hair)through the streets of Coventry in opposition to the oppressive taxation of her husband's tenants.  

In the Canal Basin stands a statue of James Brindley flanked by restored wooden warehouses which date from 1914 although there were earlier buildings on this site.

We retraced our journey back up the Coventry 'arm' and moored up again just past Hawkesbury Junction.

Tuesday 12th July - Hawkesbury Junction to Hartshill

Cruised gently on for 8 miles as far as Hartshill and spent the night there.  We passed nb Windrush, another Bourne Boat which was launched about 6 months before ours.

Wednesday 13th July - Hartshill to Alvecote

Approaching the top Atherstone Lock, there is a derelict factory which is all that remains of the town's tradition of hat making.  A local lock volunteer assured me that planning permission has been granted for restoring the building and turning it into apartments once vehicular access can be sorted out. Hopefully sooner rather than later!!  

Thursday 14th July - Alvecote to Whittington

Lovely cruising weather today, sunny intervals, light winds and most importantly - dry!!!  We needed to wait at the top of the Glascote Locks and saw a beautifully restored boat in the Glascote Basin,

nb Hare.

At the end of the cruise we moored up between Whittington and Huddlesford in open countryside, quite beautiful.

A walk into Whittington was fascinating as we discovered that Thomas Spencer is buried in the churchyard there.  He invested £300 along with Mr Marks and began a store called Marks and Spencer in 1894.  His investment turned into £15,000 when he retired after the company became a limited company in 1903!

Friday 15th July - Whittington to Handsacre

Left our peaceful mooring outside Whittington and began our cruise towards Handsacre.  We passed the private moorings of the Lichfield Cruising Club 

and then under the railway bridge where a family of House Martins had made their nest and were busy flying around catching air bourne insects along the canal.

We continued to the end of the Coventry Canal and Fradley Junction.  Here we turned left onto the Trent and Mersey and headed towards Handsacre.  This means we have cruised the entire length of the Coventry Canal and the entire length possible of the Ashby Canal. Two more canals to tick off in my copy of Bradshaw's Companion to the Canals!!!

Stopped on the outskirts of Handsacre and spent the evening having supper at The Olde Peculiar.  We booked a table for two humans and a well behaved dog - this did make me laugh!!

Saturday 16th July - Handsacre to Great Haywood

Set off today to reach Great Haywood and find a mooring just after the lock.  When we came through here before it was very busy!!  We stopped at Rugeley to call into the large Tesco there to get large cumbersome items such as toilet rolls, tissues, water and so on.  All fresh produce we shall get at the Canalside Farm Shop at Great Haywood.

A good shot of Ella as she ascends Colwich Lock.  The lock house is looking especially pretty today!!

At Great Haywood we met George the Fender-Maker and his wife Carol.  They tour the canals selling anything and everything made from rope made by George and beautiful canalware painted by Carol.  Dave treated himself to a wooden barrel and a large water can painted in maroon and cream!!

Sunday 17th July - day in Great Haywood

As the weather today has turned out rather nice we have decided to spend the day at Great Haywood.  Walks along the towpath, drink in the pub garden and BBQ beside the boat.  Very relaxing and finally hot sunshine!!

This weeks stops on the map are purple dots.  Next week we carry on up the Trent and Mersey Canal, another new part of the canal for Ella!!

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