Back At Great Haywood Marina

Arriving at Great Haywood Marina on Wednesday 15th, we topped up the fuel tank with 40 litres of diesel, and booked in for a week’s mooring.

We took the opportunity while we still had the car to do some shopping.  Plus the staff in the Marina’s office are very obliging for us to order items to be delivered to their office.  Therefore we took the opportunity to do a bit of internet shopping for a new 12v TV, a digital TV antennae, a square satellite dish, and lots of goodies from Sports Direct and M&S.

On the 21st March, our Spanish car was picked up for transportation back to Spain.

It was rather a sad time in some ways, as it was the last ‘umbilical cord’ of us being tethered to the ‘shore’. We’re now completely free, and the first time both of us could remember where we were car less.  It’s a huge relief really as it was a worry, and John was becoming more intolerant of those who like to tailgate other road users.  We’ll miss the car, though hiring a car, if and when we need it, would probably turn out cheaper.

Boy has it rained all week. We’ve had a deluge of water.  Somehow comforted we have a boat!

On 21st March Tesco delivered the biggest order I’ve ever compiled.  Surprisingly all managed to be stored away.

Tomorrow we move out of the Marina, fully loaded and organised for worry free cruising.


Glascote Locks Finally Opens

We ‘killed’ time mooring at Armington Visitors Moorings, we moored right next to a park which was very handy for Rusty.  It’s not easy playing ball on the towpath with a big clumsy dog!  The ball more often than not gets knocked into the water, resulting in an upset dog that wants to jump into the canal to retrieve it.

While waiting for the locks to open, John had a walk to see how progress of the maintenance was going.

On the day Friday 10th, we moved to the top of the locks where we filled up our cupboards from the CoOp and filled our water tank with water.  Just after lunchtime the workmen had finished, and we were allowed to go down the locks.



A Week At Polesworth Visitor Moorings

Polesworth is a lovely village, with the added bonus of having a tasty fish ‘n’ chip shop. With the village having a handy stores, green grocers, butchers etc., it looked a great place to stay.

The day after we arrived, we flagged down Ricky who runs a vintage barge on the canal, selling diesel, coal and gas, for supplies.  There’s something not quite natural having a fuel seller come to you, when we normally have to travel to a garage to top up with fuel.

While in Polesworth, John caught a bus back to Trinity Marina to pick up our Spanish car.  The next day he ‘leapfrogged’ the car to Great Haywood Marina, where we’d booked a mooring for a week while we organised getting the car back to Spain.  We’d managed to sell the car to a local car dealer in Spain, and of course getting the car to them was down to us.

We stayed in Polesworth from 25th February to 3rd March.


Treading Water Due To C&RT Closures

Shortly after planning and setting off on our journey from Trinity Marina on the Ashby Canal, around the 12th February, we thought it best to check up on the Canal & Riverside Trust’s website, in case of stoppages. Slightly disheartened we discovered that Glascote Locks were closed for repairs, and wouldn’t be open until 10th March. Plus further on with our journey, Tixall Locks would also be closed until 25th March.

This meant we had to ‘slow down’ and take our time.  We had to elongate 5 day’s travel to Glascote Locks, into 25 days!  We had nothing to rush around for, so we took our time.  Spending several nights in places where we’d probably do an overnight.

On the night of 18th and 19th February, we stayed in the area where Queen Boadicea had her last battle with the Romans.


Moving slowly on through 11 Atherstone locks.


Filling up with water at Atherstone Top Lock


Rust found a friend called ‘Coco’ at Atherstone Bottom Lock

Moored Between Two Pubs

It's been a glorious sunny day.  Though there were pockets where the sun never got to melt the hard frost from last night.

Tonight, we're moored up at Hopwas, right between two pubs, 'The Otter' and 'The Red Lion'!  We had intended to visit one for a drink, in fact John while taking Rusty for his walk, had popped into The Red Lion to see if they would accept Rusty.  They were very obliging.  

We've been cruising for 5 hours today. During cruising; hot water from the engine was cycled round the 5 radiators of the boat, leaving the boat like a sauna. But as it's going to be another cold night, we banked up the fire, to keep the boat toasty warm.  

After the fresh air (it has been very fresh today), and dinner.... it might come as no surprise we've decided to give The Red Lion a miss! Just wish we had more 'youth' on our side!

So today we've had 5 hours of cruising, manoeuvred through 4 locks, and we've seen lots of interesting things.

A beautifully clear and calm day! Ice on the water helps to highlight the reflection of the trees.


Reflections in the water is stunning. Though we did have to stop while John, through the 'weed hatch', freed vegetation we'd managed to collect.


Frozen fields and icy banks - not a sound was heard!


Cruising under the M6 Toll Road


Took a snap of a 'cubby hole' built into an old bridge on the Coventry Canal. Over a hundred years or so, employers (and other employees) of barges, would leave messages and food inside these cubby holes for each other. These were times before telephones and motor cars of course.

A Test To On-Board Heating

We were warned by the weather forecast, but we didn’t think (feel) the night was so cold!  Not until we had a ‘visual’ this morning…

The heavy frost was a good test of our heating system. We were up at 7.30 a.m., after kettle lit, and fire kicked (love the cabin stove), we peeped through the curtains and yikes, the outside looked glorious.

With a full breakfast inside us, we’ll soon be setting off, wrapped up of course!


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We’re Off On Our December Cruise

We had a decision to make, do we go 'darn sarf' for winter, or do we go 'up norf'!  We decided on going up North to see if we can meet up with family and friends over Christmas and New Year.  

Our aim is to cruise to Chester. Though originally we'd decided to head for Llangollen, but having seen the 'winter maintenance schedule' from the 'Canal & River Trust', we discovered the Llangollen Canal has been scheduled for several areas of maintenance, which could result in us getting stuck in an area for weeks on end while the maintenance is completed.

Yesterday morning, after loading the boat with water, food, and diesel; we set off from Trinity Marina at Hinckley, for the 4 hour cruise to Springwood Haven Marina.  We had booked the boat into Springwood Haven Marina for some work on her.  We arrived mid afternoon, and moored outside of the marina for the night, ready for our 9.30 a.m. appointment.  

Steak was on the menu for dinner, and two seasoned beauties were placed in the pan, ready to start cooking when the new potatoes had almost cooked... but ... I couldn't get a lite on the hob.  It was obvious, we'd run out of gas!  We knew it wouldn't be long before we ran out as we've not replaced the gas cylinder since picking up the boat at the end of August. 

We'd also arranged for Peter Roberts, a boat cover manufacturer, to meet us at the marina.  Peter is making Cyan a 'pram hood' for the deck, and he needed to measure and create templates for Cyan.  The templates will be used to make the cover, which is scheduled to be fitted this Friday while we're at Great Heywood Marina on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

After having a new battery charger fitted, two gas cylinders replaced, and waving off Peter Roberts, we set off on our December cruise!

What a beautiful day it was today!  The 'Coventry Canal' looked magnificent!

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It seems around each bend in the canal, there was something interesting to see:

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After descending down 9 of the 11 locks at Atherstone, we moored up for the night


Fresh air, plenty of exercise, a lovely cosy fire, and a 'tropically warm' boat leads to a sleepy evening.


Gawd it was blo*** cold this morning!

We are still concerned about the energy being stored on board despite new batteries and solar panels. Overnight our batteries are down below 11.00 volts from 13.4volt when the engine is switched off. Spoke to ‘OnBoard Energy’,
and they agreed to do an energy audit to get to the bottom of the problem, so off we went down the Ashby to get near to Springwood Haven Marina on the Coventry, the home of Onboard Energy….We moored up just past Marston Junction on the Coventry as the light was fading (4.30pm).

This morning it was light at 7.00am, and we woke to find the boat coated in frost!


Centre lines were rods not rope, and the deck slippery with a coating of ice….winter has arrived. With stove coaxed into life, we set off, wrapped up against the frosty morning for Springwood Haven, and our appointment with Kevin Mascall.


Cannot praise the folks at Springwood enough. Kevin set too and soon confirmed that there was nothing abnormal within our electrical systems, and that the problem was almost certainly a duff battery in the leisure bank of 4 x 120ah units. A discussion with the manufacturers resulted in an offer to deliver replacement units in 24 hours, so an overnight in the marina, connected to a shore line, and 2 temp batteries with a trickle charger to hold the voltage until replacement units arrive in the morning!

The bonus is we have a massive WiFi signal due to being in line of sight of 2 communication transmitters, we have 50 meg of broadband download and my laptop is red hot….. 🙂

Multi fuel stove is glowing brightly, and we still have the diesel central heating in reserve. Cushty!

Fantastic Autumn Weather Turns Snappy

We had a few hours days to kill, so we took a slow cruise back towards Willow Wren Training Centre for John’s date (Saturday, 29th) with his ‘day course’ on maintaining marine diesel engines.

We had phoned Willow Wren Training Centre, and said we would be arriving by our boat Cyan on the 28th; Willow Wren offered us mooring in their ‘arm’.  We were delighted to see a huge board on the side of the canal saying “Welcome NB Cyan” (nice touch Willow Wren!).

John was one of 8 or so students.  After his course, at the end of the day, John was buzzing with ideas, and he had a confidence boost in his technical abilities.  He was able to ‘bounce’ his technical worries regarding Cyan off the tutor; which was a huge relief for him.

On Sunday morning (30th) we set off on our trip to Trinity Marina in Hinckley.  There’s a fantastic website we use to plan canal journeys (, the website advised that we need to travel just over 39 miles miles to our destination.  Travelling for just 5 hours a day; the journey will take 3 days!  This is us from now on….. such is our pace of life!

We cruised back to the Braunston turning, where we left the Grand Union Canal, and joined the Oxford Canal.

The Oxford is such a beautiful canal, and as a special treat it was clothed in beautiful autumn splendour!
Pictures (especially taken by our old camera) do not do justice to the pleasant views we’re lucky enough to experience.  It’s magic, like a world time forgot!

It was great to see canal-side pubs, boaters, and boatyards entering into the ‘spirit’ of Halloween!
Here’s a ‘traffic jam’, boater style!  The boatyard was totally full of hire boats, and boats for sale, in fact they were moored up two abreast.  So when a ‘customer’ needs the services of the boatyard, they have to moor up ‘three abreast’!  On this occasion stopping the traffic on the cut, which is frowned upon by the C&RT (Canal & Riverside Trust)!

We had the option of chilling out and ‘going with the flow’, or getting ‘excited’!    We chilled!

Eventually we arrived at Hawkesbury Junction, where the Oxford meets the Coventry Canal.  Before we could enter the Coventry we had to go through a lock.  After the huge flights of locks we’ve been through during our ‘October Cruise’, this lock was minuscule! The levels of the canals was less than a foot!  Reputedly so the canal authorities could charge a toll for ‘barges’ entering ‘their’ canal.

This wasn’t the only ‘minuscule thing’ at this junction, we’ve also been told the smallest police station in Britain is built here!
Here is where we left the Oxford behind us.  The history of the canals is so fascinating, for example this bridge was built just after Wellington had defeated the tyrant, Napoleon!

At Brinklow, on the Coventry Canal, we saw a mother duck with a brood of about 8 day old ducklings.  Lovely to see, but so sad to think that their survival prospect is practically nill due to being hatched so late in the year.  The mother duck no doubt has been confused by the mild autumn we’ve experienced.

At Marsden Junction, we turned right onto the now familiar Ashby Canal.

We arrived at Hinckley Marina during Tuesday afternoon.  We will be moored in the Marina for the month of November, though we’ll probably pop out of the marina several times during the month.  We’ve got the option to stay here during December, which will depend on how cold the weather is, and whether our newly discovered ‘wanderlust tendencies’ need exercising.

We’ve got several jobs to do on the boat, and being on shoreline electricity will help.