Thursday, 6 April 2017

Radford Semele

Today's Canal - Grand Union

After yesterday's efforts we were not so fast off the mark this morning, despite the fact that it was a wonderful day, weatherwise, with bright blue skies from the outset - here as a backdrop to the lock cottage above the bottom lock.

Our first move was all of 10 metres! The shape of the entrance to the lock gave an opportunity to access the bow fender without hanging over the top. We managed to snap a link in one of the chains when descending one of the Hatton locks yesterday, but Mike had a spare shackle in his collection of useful bits and pieces. It was not quite as easy a task as he had hoped as the chains had been installed with some tension and so it took a little bit of basic engineering to achieve the desired result. Since it also needed three hands, Mike had to enlist Christine to put the bolt into the shackle itself!

We then descended the bottom lock and continued around the corner where the Saltisford Arm goes off (we think we could glimpse nb Hadar in the far distance) and then to the water point above the two Cape Locks. A boat was already in the process of filling so we had a bit of a wait but since we were down to under half full (the washing machine does use quite a bit compared with most boat uses) we did not want to miss this opportunity. The boater was wanting to wait for us to go down the locks with him but a couple of boats were coming up and, in any event, it did take us quite a while to fill up completely, he went down.

After leaving Cape Locks the canal runs through the outskirts of Warwick and then Leamington Spa. It was lunch time when we arrived opposite Morrison where we planned to go shopping. The stretch ahead is known to have very few shops readily available. But first lunch.

Re-fuelled we set off across the road to the supermarket and came back with four fully laden bags - who said they thought our larders were full only a few days ago?

Christine was keen that we should stain and varnish the boat pole. It came from the chandlery as bare wood and it would be much better to treat it before it gets used in anger. So, Mike walked to the nearby Homebase and came back with two small tins, one of stain and one of varnish. He failed to find either thermometer but did pick up a newspaper from the Morrisons petrol station - the main store had sold out.

Eventually we set off once more but with the plan of stopping at Radford Semele - we have not previously taken the opportunity to visit the church that can so easily be seen from the canal - but needs an indirect walking route to get to.

Just after the main railway line crosses the canal there is a faint trace of another line that came from Rugby and joined up at Leamington station. That has long been abandoned - on one side the line is entirely covered by new housing and on the opposite side, where the only remains of the former bridge can be seen, it quickly disappears into a large industrial unit. No chance of restoration here!

A new development of student accommodation is underway - the images of the project on the hoardings suggest a reasonable distance from the canal to the building but, unless the scaffolding is deceptive, it looks alarmingly close and feels somewhat oppressive.

Much of the inner part of Leamington Spa is industrial 19th century terraced housing. (Missed a photo opportunity). Further on, on the opposite side, is a fairly large modern estate of terraced houses - one wonders whether they will last as long as the older ones?

Shortly after leaving the town, we found our destination and moored up. However, by now it was too late to walk up to the church so, instead, Mike applied the first coat to the pole!

It was a lovely evening, still fairly warm and brilliant low sunshine.

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