Saturday, 23 June 2012


Last week Caracol went into dry dock and had new stern gear fitted.  Nice and shiny it is too, at the moment at least.  This weekend's job was to get her to Braunston ready to have a new stove fitted next week.  The one logistical issue was that it is the Braunston Historic Boat Rally weekend.
 It's an interesting event, but last time we visited the parade of boats effectively blocked the canal giving hours of delays.  So an uncharacteristic pre-breakfast start had us on the way by 6:30 and in Braunston by around 9:00 before the heavy traffic started, and with a chance to look around at the various boats.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Caracol in the Warwick Courier

No really, that is her distinctive light blue/dark blue colour scheme on the right edge slipping into the lock behind the dignitaries on the way to Birmingham before the bank holiday. Details here: and

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Hilmorton to Ventnor Farm via Braunston

Braunston on the skyline.

After asking around about stoves, and lunch in the Old Plough, we hurried off back to Calcutt to get through the locks before the overnight closure.  We wouldn't have made it, with the long convoys of boats slowing everything, except that the opening hours had been increased because of the recent rain.

Caracol goes back into the dry dock soon for replacement stern gear, and then will need a replacement stove, so I don't know how much cruising we'll fit in before our next big trip later in the summer.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Hawkesbury to Hilmorton

The remains of a bridge at Ansty, demolished in the last year or two to make it safe.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Atherstone to Hawkesbury

Gusty winds and torrential rain most of the day today.  I think I only got the camera out once.  That was because I was cruising along a straight stretch when I saw something swim across the width of the canal about a hundred yard ahead.  Once I got level I spotted a vole in the rushes while passing, and it obligingly stayed put while I stopped the boat and reversed back to take its picture.  I think it is the first time I've seen one.  We went to the Greyhound for dinner, and enjoyed some idiosyncratic service in the restaurant.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Hopwas to Atherstone

The wind was a bit gusty through the congested moorings in Hopwas, but fortunately no rain this morning.  After watering at Fazeley, we pottered on to join the queue at Glascote Locks, still maintaining their reputation for being slow to fill.  None of the pubs in Tamworth appealed, so we stopped for lunch and a walk in the woods between Alvecote and Polesworth.
We went up the first few Atherstone locks before stopping for the night.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Fradley to Hopwas

Leaving our mooring at Fradley, we stopped off at Streethay Marina for some advice about our stove installation.  That meant we didn't get to Huddlesford until lunchtime, and since we noticed that the Plough there had reopened since last year we ate there.  The rain held off until we got to the woods before Hopwas, so we stopped there to find them teeming with people.  Unfortunately we spotted that there was a problem with the gas boiler as well as the stove, so just as well the weather had warmed up a bit!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Great Haywood to Fradley

Leaving Great Haywood in better weather, we went as slowly as possible down to Colwich Lock.  As slowly as possible to let any queue dissipate, but it was as busy as ever in the sun.  A stop for provisions at Rugeley, and another at Armitage for lunch at the Plum Pudding.  After lunch we moved on to Fradley which was packed, but we managed to tie up with one end of the boat near the bank in time for a quick visit to the Swan.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Stone to Great Haywood

Through the night the rain pounded on the roof, and in the morning the temperature was about 20 degrees Centigrade lower than the previous Sunday.  It didn't deter a couple of hundred runners participating in an event up the towpath, or some boaters determined to enjoy the Jubilee weekend in their shorts.  Thoroughly drenched, we eventually moored back at Great Haywood for a late lunch and a few glimpses of the pageant on the Thames online.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

To Stone

We decided on a trip up to Stone which we always liked when our share boat was moored nearby at Stoke.  Unfortunately the weather was on the turn, and suddenly everywhere was busy with a queue at every lock.  We walked up from this imposing bridge - actually carrying only a single track road - for lunch in a pub garden in Salt.  After that, onward to Stone where we winded and stopped at the first available mooring , about half a mile out of town.

Friday, 1 June 2012

To Great Haywood

Not so many pictures on another grey and cool but pleasant day.  Caracol seemed to be offering another of those opportunities for recreational plumbing near Stafford, however the kitchen tap fortunately only needed stripping and reassembly to stop the leak, rather than replacement.  Heading down towards the Trent, parallel with one of its tributaries, the wide meadows stretch away from the canal into the distance.