Sunday, 8 March 2009

Spring Cruise - Day Three

Heavy rain overnight, but we woke to bright sunshine. It was still cold when we set off at 8.30, with another couple of boats starting right behind us. In less than an hour we reached Marston Junction, which turns out to be angled backwards when you approach from Hawkesbury. Adrian did a neat spin turn into the bridgehole, and we were on new territory.

Now regular readers will know that I haven't really been looking forward to the Ashby, not being a fan of "lock free cruising". But I immediately rather took to it. There are plenty of bridges, which are all uniform and made of stone at the southern end of the canal before turning to brick further up, and your progress is measured by stylish little mile posts. There's plenty of interest alongside the water too, including massive, ugly pylons, dwarfing the bridges.

As the scenery deteriorated towards Hinckley, so did the weather, and we had the first of several showers. But the rain was never heavy, and we pressed ahead. Just after Hinckley we passed Gypsy Rover, and Dot emerged from the cratch to shout hello, and tell us about the unfortunate leak in their calorifier.

In the afternoon, we had almost every type of weather imaginable, sometimes all together. At one point, my face was being stung by hail stones, while up ahead was blue sky and white fluffy clouds.

As the day went on, the wind got up and it was cold. But there were still things of interest, including the steam railway at Shakerstone, where there seemed to be an engine in steam, if not actually moving.

We ended the day just before 5pm a few hundred yards before Snarestone Tunnel, and about a mile short of the current end of the canal. We'll do the last mile in the morning, before turning round and heading back.

24 miles, 0 locks. (54, 7)

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