Sunday, 30 October 2016

Autumn Cruise Week 3

Monday 24th October - Bancroft Basin, Stratford

Today we have spent the day in Stratford.  Helen (my sister), Matt, Victoria and Paris came to visit us from Wootton, Bedford.

We had a lovely day wandering around the old historic buildings in the town.  We had lunch in the Garrick Inn, an attractive timber framed building thought to be the oldest public house in Stratford-Upon-Avon and a walk along the River Avon to see the chain ferry being pulled across the river.

We rounded off the day with tea in Hobsons, a delightful bakery with delicious cakes and scones.  Many thanks to Helen for coming to see us, it was great to see you all!

The Royal Shakespeare Theatre at night. The next production is the Tempest which starts in November.

Tuesday 25th October - Stratford to Wilmcote

Set out from the basin at 9.30 and cruised gently out through the locks leading out of Stratford.

Some of the bridges are incredibly low and we only just managed to get under with our pots still on the roof!

The lock mechanism is very close to the bridge, so instead of a beam there is this strange mechanism.  It makes the gate incredibly difficult to open and close.

We worked our way through the Wilmcote locks and the water levels were quite low. We didn't get stuck at any time but there was definitely very little water below us in the locks.

An excellent view of the autumn colours and the locks all in a row.

A lovely example of the split bridges peculiar to the Stratford Canal.  It meant that with the horse drawn boats they didn't have to disconnect the horse, but feed the rope through the gap in the bridge.  They are very narrow though.

End of the Wilmcote Locks and a gentle cruise on to the village of Wilmcote where Mary Arden's House is.

Moored up and Toby the guard dog has taken up residence on the towpath guarding the boat.
Looks very fierce doesn't he??

We learnt from this plaque that the Stratford Canal is one of the first canals to be fully restored and reopened to the public.

We walked into the village and found Mary Arden's House.  It is now a working Tudor farm so....

 we had Toby with us we could only look over the fence!!  Maybe they didn't have dogs on Tudor Farms!!  We went for a drink in the Mary Arden Inn instead!

Wednesday 26th October - Wilmcote to Wootton Wawen

Set off for a gentle cruise down to Wootton Wawen, crossing the Edstone Aqueduct and climbing up one lock.

The aqueduct crosses over a road, railway, river and footpath.  It is the longest aqueduct in England and is unusual because the towpath is below the level of the water and forms part of the base plate of the trough holding the water.

It is similar to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct as it has no barrier on the off side of the channel.

As we approached the village of Wootton Wawen we could see where they are building a new marina, hidden at the moment behind the trees.

We stopped at this marina for diesel and unfortunately for us the weather closed in and we got drenched in very heavy drizzle. This is also a base for Anglo Welsh hire boats.

Once we were moored up we walked to the Yew Tree Farm Shop to stock up on supplies and then on into the village to visit the Saxon Sanctuary.
It is one of the oldest structures in the Midlands and as the photo shows the church has been added to over the years.  The tower is thought to date back to 900's

In the churchyard was the most stunning copper oak tree, quite majestic!
We walked back to the boat and settled down for the evening.

Thursday 27th October - Day in Southampton

Today we hired a car from Enterprise, they collected us from the Navigation Inn at Wootton Wawen, took us to Redditch where we picked up the car and drove down to Southampton to see our youngest daughter, Annie.  

We had a delightful day, a walk in the New Forest and afternoon tea in Brockenhurst, and an added bonus - Pete, Annie's fiance had taken the day off to see us as well!!

Friday 28th October - Wootton Wawen to Lowsonford

A gentle cruise to Lowsonford passing over Yarningale Aqueduct, another metal trough with the towpath being part of the base plate.  This replaced a wooden one washed away in a flood during 1834. 

Once we got to Lowsonford we stopped to put on water and then did the final lock before mooring up for the night.  Beside the lock is another barrel roofed cottage which is owned by the Landmark Trust and is available for holiday lets.  These cottages were built for the lock keepers who looked after the lock and the stretch of canal up to the next lock.

Saturday 29th October - Lowsonford to Waring's Green.

Made an early start today as we knew there were a lot of locks to get through.  28 locks in 7 miles, a very busy day!!

We passed another of the barrel roofed cottages.  They are peculiar to the Stratford canal and the reason for it is that they were made using the same template as the brick bridges.

A definite similarity!!

The canal passes under the M42, extremely noisy and very fast!!  We travel on this motorway when we go to visit our daughters.

Here is Kingswood Junction where the Stratford canal passes very close to the Grand Union Canal and is joined by the Lapworth Link.

We then continue up the next 9 locks spaced only a few yards apart.  Among this flight is a very handy canal shop, but mooring is very difficult!!

Spot Dave working the locks, fortunately for us a boat had just come down so all the locks were in our favour and we didn't meet anyone!

We finally arrived at Waring's Green, taking almost 7 hours to complete this trip, but it was great fun and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Once moored up we visited Wedge's bakery and stocked up on lots of tasty goodies before settling down for the evening.  

Sunday 30th October - day in Waring's Green

We decided to have a day off cruising and carry out some essential jobs around the boat.  A walk with Toby and a visit to the Blue Bell, a rare cider house, will complete this week's cruise.   

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