This is another 'bonus' day on the Big Trip, as Adrian was originally due to be at meetings near Heathrow this morning. But they were postponed, so he's been able to work on the boat all day. We came up to Rugby yesterday from London -- Adrian in mid afternoon, me a bit later after work. Using a car, a train, and a hire car, we ended up with everything where we needed it.
This morning, Adrian took the hire car back while I hoovered (making the most of being on shore power), and got the boat ready to cruise. We paid for our four nights mooring (and can recommend Clifton Wharf), and set off at 9.20am. A few boats had already gone by, including fellow Braidbar Cala, who are presumably going to the same place we are, and Festina Lente. I reversed out of the arm and headed towards Rugby. Shortly afterwards we passed Hadar, but Keith was too busy looking where he was going!
As this part of the network is very, very familiar to us, the idea was to get as far as possible, so we can spend more time in the places we haven't been so often. At Newbold, the lights in the tunnel are now pretty pathetic, with only three still working.
The vegetation on the offside is seriously out of control in places, and the canal was also pretty busy. We passed four boats in the narrow section through the cutting near Brinklow. At Stretton Stop, a boat was coming through the narrow, so we then went through and closed the little swing bridge.
The only lock of the day was at Hawkesbury Junction, and even then it's only around a foot deep. A disabled trip boat was just leaving the lock, another was coming through the junction, and another was behind it. We worked through the lock, and Adrian did a great turn round the 180 degree junction, and on through the narrow.
The next bit is very dull, with long straight sections, and nothing much to look at. But the pub at Bridge 14, which has long been closed and pretty much derelict, is being refurbished as homes, and is already partly occupied.
Charity Dock was its usual eccentric self, and we then passed Marston Junction, where the Ashby Canal heads off. Nuneaton's allotments are still there, but there's also a lot of new housing which wasn't there when we last came this way a couple of years ago. Springwood Haven marina looks even smarter than we remember -- difficult though that seems. We carried on past the waterways yard at Hartshill, which looks rather unloved.
We moored up shortly after the next Bridge, at just before 5pm.
23 miles, 1 lock. (57 miles, 24 locks)