Wednesday 2 September

After a good night’s sleep we woke as our neighbours moved off. After breakfast Max and I went off to find a post box for a couple of letters and then we moved the boat down to the water tap beside the Barley Mow pub. With a full tank we headed off through Newbold Tunnel (250 yards) and onto Hawkesbury Junction (11.5 miles)

Yesterday the BBC weatherman said that the first of September heralds the start of the meteorological Autumn and this morning it certainly felt like it had arrived as a cool breeze fanned our faces and we donned long sleeves, fleeces and Storm even wore a hat.

The Crewe to Euston railway line kept us company for most of the way and we passed under the M6 and the M69 as the canal wound its way north-westerwards towards Bedworth.

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We passed a number of elegant iron bridges that occur periodically and which mark the course of the old Oxford Canal prior to its 1820’s shortening when its length was reduced by about a third between Braunston and Coventry to help it remain competitive with the rest of the canal network.

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We passed through the stop lock at Hawkesbury Junction which lowered us about a foot from the waters of the Oxford Canal into the those of the Coventry Canal. We’d intended stopping here but the moorings were all taken and so we turned right at the junction and skirted round Bedworth and Nuneaton.

The site of the Warwickshire Canal Carrying Company commands that you slow down to the admire the fun that someone has had in creating a kind of canalside wonderland from someone else’s rubbish.

Once out of Nuneaton we caught a glimpse of Mount Judd, the largest mountain of waste built with spoil from the Old Judkin’s Quarry.

We passed the CRT’s Harthill yard – a wharf of attractive mellow canal architecture with a splendid clock tower and old dock.

We then passed Boudica’s final battlefield at Mancetter before arriving into Atherstone at about 5.30pm, having travelled a total of 21.5 miles today.

This evening we lit the stove to keep us warm and to help today’s washing load.

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