The Coventry Basin moorings are surprisingly quiet. We slipped away this morning at 8am in sunny but chilly conditions. By Bridge 2 are the Cash's Hundreds weavers' cottages. They used to have accommodation on the lower two floors, and looms on the top floor. A hundred were planned, but they actually built only around half that number.
Just beyond Bridge 8 we made a brief stop, so Adrian could go to the nearby Tesco, which is huge. I got the boat tied up and started some washing, and then Marilyn, David, and Lesley went by on Waka Huia so I had a brief chat to them. Before long we were approaching Hawkesbury Junction, which is much easier from this direction as you don't have to double back on yourself.
Adrian worked the lock, which has a rise of less than a foot, and we were then on the North Oxford. Thanks to improvements in the 1830s, this canal has long straight sections which combined with the fact that we used to moor round here and travelled it frequently, makes it rather dull. There were some moments of interest, though, provided by wildlife. I saw what I'm pretty sure was a water vole; it set off from the offside, swam right into the side of the boat, looked confused, and then went round us as we went past. Later some sort of bird of prey flew overhead and settled in a tree. I had very bad photos of each of them.
At Stretton Stop, Adrian jumped off to open the little swing bridge, which is used by staff at Rose Narrowboats.
We passed the entrance to Brinklow Marina, where we moored when we first bought Briar Rose. Not a single one of the coloured lights in Newbold Tunnel is working any more. At Rugby, building work is well advanced on the new retail park near Tesco; and there's also a lot of building work going on a Clifton Cruisers.
It was still relatively early, so we decided to go up the locks at Hillmorton. A big change since we last came this way is that all the masts from the Rugby Radio Station have gone. A volunteer lock keeper emptied one of the pair of bottom locks for us. At the middle pair, Hillmorton Church looked rather nice in the sunshine.
There was a space on the piling at the top of the locks, so we pulled in and moored up. As we were reasonably close, I phoned the Canal Shop, which supplied our composting loo, to see whether they had any cocoa shell in stock. This is one of the best things to use as a base in the loo, but we've never been able to find any. They had some, so I walked along to buy a couple of kilos -- I had no idea what a kilo would look like, and it turns out to be quite a volume; 2kg should do us for about six empties of the loo.
Later, just before 6pm, Brian and Diana on Harnser went past. I went to chat to them as they went down the top lock.
21 miles, 4 locks. (307 miles, 249 locks)