Tuesday 24th May; Sutton Wharf to Hawkesbury Junction
It was a shame to be leaving this lovely mooring, but needs must and it’s a beautiful day for cruising.
Meg and I started with a run up through the woods to drop off some plastic bottles and beer cans in the recycling bin at the Battlefield Visitor Centre. A lovely fresh morning and cool in the woods but we got warm very quickly. Apart from one dog walker on the disused railway track there was nobody else about as we followed our route from yesterday and the birds were singing fit to bust.
We shuffled along to the facilities block for the necessaries and pottered on down to the offside moorings at Stoke Golding. Shops are far and few on the Ashby and we had run out of bread. I was directed to the little shop via the jitty alongside the churchyard – a local word for an alleyway between houses or in this case the churchyard wall. I got the paper and some bread and milk – there is not a lot there – and on the way back down to the boat I went into the allotments behind the Baptist church where a chap was working, and asked him if anyone had any rhubarb I could buy. He gave me as much as I wanted and refused to take anything for it! That’s the good. And the bad?
We continued through Hinckley and out into the country again for a lunch stop, when we discovered the bread was mouldy. Too far away now to go back and complain. The most annoying thing was, that if I had read Nicholson’s before going up to the village I might have found the George and Dragon, which (at least the last time Nicholson’s was revised) sold bread, local cheeses and pork pies. Ah well. We cut off the outsides of the loaf and used the middle. I should have made some soda bread but was too lazy.
On we went down to Marston Junction. There was a lot of fair-weather cloud by now and it was cold when the sun went in but not too bad – at least it was dry! One of the mobile home park residents must be a happy soul now ….. in case you hadn’t heard, Leicester City are the unexpected Football League champions. Way back at the start of the season some faithful fans had put a bet on them to win at 5000 to 1. I bet they’re happy too!
The milestones along the Ashby now have new figures for the distance to the end of the canal – at the moment the head of navigation is still 22 miles from Marston junction. There is a notice advising you to take 8 off the second figure for your travel calculations. The restoration team must be very optimistic! Work is definitely starting again in the autumn.
I steered round my first junction a mile after this. Apparently this is not the easiest junction turning south – I suppose that is some comfort! You can’t see far in either direction as you emerge onto the Coventry, and a boat was moored up too, and I ended up with a boat waiting in both directions and one wanting to leave the Ashby too. Still, I didn’t get stuck and didn’t hit anything!
As we passed Charity Dock I snapped some of the features I missed when we came up.
We cracked on down to Hawkesbury Junction where we pulled in at the beginning of the 48-hour moorings, then went straight down to the Greyhound to book a table for tonight, relaxing with a beer before going back to give Meg her tea. A nice view of the bridge, even if it’s not quite level. And I hadn’t even had half a pint.
We had a lovely meal in the pub. If we hadn’t booked we would have had to eat outside and it was too cold for that.
13 and a half miles