A three mile walk before breakfast while it was reasonably cool. Six miles of cruising to charge up the batteries before mooring up for the afternoon in some shade.
We took delivery of our lovely new cushions for the back deck this afternoon – they look very smart and have really improved the comfort of the locker top seating. We will be sitting out on them with a glass of wine later.
Storm braved the engine bay again this morning and fixed our leaking stern gland which was something he’d been quite nervous about. The chandlers at Rose Narrowboats sold him the correct kit and provided a few words of guidance. This has saved us a trip to a boat yard and perhaps a hefty maintenance charge.
With only three miles to go to Rugby, we tested it out this afternoon and all was OK.
We retraced our way along the Coventry Canal to Hawkesbury Junction and turned onto the North Oxford Canal towards Rugby, and spotted a terrapin enjoying the brilliant sunshine.
We experienced lots of traffic/train noise as we travelled alongside the high speed Virgin train line and passed under the M6, the M69 and then the M6 again before mooring up for the day in quiet countryside near Brinklow.
We set off early for Coventry but not quite early enough! We’d just passed under the bridge before Stoke Heath Basin when we heard a blast from a steam horn and with that a bow shot out of the basin ahead of us and we had to Blackbird quickly into reverse to avoid a collision. That boat was closely followed by two further steamboats.
They all turned towards Coventry and we set off to follow them. As we passed the entrance to the basin there was another boat waiting to exit the basin and we found ourselves unwittingly in the midst of a procession of about ten historical steamboats.
We pulled over as soon as we could to let them pass. After we’d moored up we joined a small number of pedestrians who’d turned out to see what was going on. A media photographer commented that the Coventry Canal Association should perhaps have publicised the event better to attract a larger audience.
Having walked round the basin to view the boats close up, and their highly polished copper, we went off into Coventry City; Storm to the Transport Museum and me to do some window shopping.
We met up again a while later in the café of the Museum for “God Cakes and Coffee”. The cakes are a local speciality and we’re not sure whether they owe their name to Lady Godiva or some other icon.
We then headed off to IKEA that is right in the city centre. We couldn’t resist spending but we did show real restraint.
By the time we got back to the basin there was no sign of the festival boats and all was quiet.
We enjoyed a drink that evening in The Old Windmill, a lovely tudor building with lots of little rooms with many nooks and crannies, watched by the pub cat.
This morning we left the Ashby Canal after a week of fine weather cruising. It was busy at the junction as we turned left towards Coventry – there was a boat wishing to turn into the Ashby, another boat behind that impatient to be carrying straight on but blocking our way forward and a boat immediately behind us and we had to wait a minute for a space to move in to. We’ve never seen the canals with so much moving traffic on them as this year.
We ambled past the chaotic but characterful “Charity Dockyard” at Bedworth. The site frontage is quite long and has all manner of stuff that will no doubt ‘come in useful one day’ and mannequins have been used to artistic and comic effect bringing a wry smile to the faces of people floating by. There are boats moored, most of them in various stages of decay with no sign of restoration. The boatyard advertises that the dry dock is available for hire but it is unclear how you would get into it without a massive logistical boat move as there are about 8 boats all breasted up immediately in front of the doors. The first time we passed we hadn’t even noticed the dry dock beyond!
As we approached Hawkesbury, towpath gossip warned of a steamboat festival being held at the wharf ahead and the CRT website implied this was a two day festival between Hawkesbury and Coventry Canal Basin.
As we’d planned to continue on to Coventry we moored up at Hawkesbury and decided to postpone our trip as moorings in the basin itself are limited and we imagined there would be boats breasted up with plenty of sightseers.
Whilst letting our lunch settle five small steamboats ploughed past us and that was the only activity we saw all afternoon apart from a mass of people outside the pub enjoying the sunshine. Sadly, the festival appeared to be a bit of a non-event
A super sunny day. We pottered about the boat in the morning and then went into Hinckley to collect the computer in the afternoon. The Art College was having an end of term exhibition of student work and we popped in to see what they’d been up to before buying an ice-cream and catching the bus back to the boat.
We left the mooring early evening, stopped to fill up with water, and moved out into open countryside to find some shade and to charge the batteries.
We enjoyed several long walks as we went off to explore different areas of Hinckley.
There is a lot of building work going on and we were impressed by the amount of green and public space included in the various schemes. Cyclists and pedestrians have not been forgotten about – something that we notice more and more as we try to access places intended only to be reached by car.
The boat also got a wash (well half of it – the side closest to the tow path).