Never let it be said that we don't make enough use of Briar Rose. The forecast for this weekend was good (cold but sunny), and Adrian's been working very hard the past few weeks, so we thought we'd have a short trip.
We came up to the boat last night. I was on an early shift, so got home at 8.15pm; we set off ten minutes later and arrived at Brinklow at 10.45pm. The car said the temperature was -3C, and inside the boat it didn't feel much warmer. We got the fire alight, moved the oil filled radiator (which is fine for use on shore power) to the cabin, and put the kettle on for tea and hot water bottles.
This morning we woke to a very hard frost, crisp clear blue skies, and not a breath of wind.
After breakfast, we walked round to the other side of the marina to see Doug and James on Chance, where we had tea and coffee, and a full briefing on their January cruise.
Back at Briar Rose we got the boat ready to go, and reversed off the pontoon at 10.45. Out on the cut, there were patches of thin ice, but nothing to get concerned about. At Rugby we passed Oakfield and Piston Broke, then a bit further along at the golf course moorings we saw Derwent6, with its highly polished portholes gleaming in the sunshine. There were no signs of life on any of them.
At Hillmorton, all the locks were in our favour. At the middle lock, the open one has changed to the offside of the pair, from where you get a much better view of the church.
BW are clearly going to do some work on the other lock, with a workboat and pumping gear moored in front. This gate leaks like a sieve, but there was no sign of a new one; the flat contained a new balance beam for one of the top locks, No7.
The sky was a perfect blue as we headed for the top of the flight.
The top of the locks was our target for this unambitious day's cruise. In any case, we were cold and it was lunchtime. We moored up just though Bridge 72, opposite the masts of the old Rugby Radio Station, which are soon likely to be demolished and replaced by 6000 houses.
We've never stopped here before (it's too close to base for most trips out), but it's a nice spot. We have the trains as neighbours, but we've already stopped noticing them. In fact, at this point the Virgin trains are behind the embankment; it's only the London Midland services which are visible. As befits somewhere with a huge mobile phone mast a couple of hundred metres away, we've got a great mobile and internet signal. We briefly talked about going for a little walk to have a look at Hillmorton itself, but in fact we've just enjoyed being on board and relaxing.
6.5 miles, 3 locks.