The Ashby, At Last! 4th July

White House Winding Hole to between bridges 6 and 8, Ashby Canal

You’ll be glad to hear that Tilly was back to her normal self this morning, desperately wanting to go out, most probably to get another fix of ants! We kept the doors firmly shut so that she could go cold turkey, hoping that we can avoid her having to go into rehab!

P1350943smP1350945smWhilst still in the shade this morning Mick lifted Oleanna’s engine board and went in to do a service. Well an oil change and oil filter, he’ll do the air and fuel filter another morning soon, when we have shade again.

P1350947smI got the buckets and cloths out and gave the port side roof and cabin side a much needed wash. She’d needed a clean before she got covered in tree stickyness, then that had just attracted any dust in a mile vicinity. Boy she was filthy! The starboard side isn’t as bad, but now needs doing too. That will have to wait for the towpath to change sides towards the end of the Ashby or when we’ve winded and are coming back.

Numerous boats came past us and many seemed to be stopping for the day as we were pushing off. Yesterday we’d checked the price of diesel at Springwood Haven 92p domestic. We knew that was 10p more than down the way at Star Line Boats, so we cruised on into Nuneaton passing NB Grace we’d breasted up to in Worcester earlier in the year.

P1350956smP1350968smHere the locals seem to have progressed over the last couple of years in picking up after their dogs (and possibly themselves). The evidence is very visible with all the knotted black plastic bags that have been thrown across the cut, now covering the offside banks of the bridges! At least it did mean that we were safer than in the past to step off and moor.

P1350974smP1350976smA boat was having a pump out, water fill and diesel when we arrived at Star Line, so we pulled up opposite and made sure they knew we were waiting before we sought shade. When it was our turn we pushed over and watched as the diesel pump clicked up the units on the almost illegible screen. The pump clicked off at 100 litres which made the calculation very easy (domestic rate 82p).

P1350997smThen we were off again dipping in and out of shade as we made our way to Marston Junction where the Ashby branches off to the north east. A tight turn in through the narrow bridge hole, a chap sat above signalled that there was a boat  coming. Luckily it was deemed that the bridge was ours just as we completed our turn and a Black Prince hire boat held back for us. We were now, at last on the Ashby Canal!

P1360005smP1360020smWithin the first couple of miles we passed another three hire boats (one of each of the major companies) and a few private boats. A Viking Afloat boat made us glad that we hadn’t chosen a shady patch on a wide bend to moor as he misjudged it with quite a bump and scrape. The canal is known for being shallow and this was very evident to us when ever we passed moving boats, Oleanna leaning over towards them as the water got sucked out from under her. Hope our galley drawer runners last our visit here.

P1360026smA cool wooded cutting sadly had no suitable mooring places, so we ended up pulling in further on and waiting for a hedge to give us some shade.

They had taken their time today. This outside was good, a few too many walkers on the towpath, but plenty of sideways trees and some extra catwalk to strut along,That’s not your boat Tilly!’

Earlier in the day we’d wondered if we’d come across a coal boat now that we had a full tank of diesel. Sure enough we’d settled down when we heard the putput of NB Callisto come past. Sitting very low in the water with a full load of coal, he must be doing summer rates to be carrying that much. Oh well, if you don’t know where they are you can’t always use them.

DSCF7114sm0 locks, 7.52 miles, 1 left, 9 litres oil, 1 filter, 1 loose battery terminal, 1 chat with Ricky, 0.5 clean boat, 1 grounded junkie cat, 100.07 litres, 1 kamikaze branch, 7 none existant, 11 months to wait, 4 hire boats, 3 drawers, 1 trespassing cat.