Friday 4 September 2020


 Today's Canal - Grand Union

This next section we have traversed every year since 2011, except in 2016. As a result, much of the detail is familiar and when added to the fact that the day was generally very grey, we are struggling in today's blog to think of something different to say and show!

Just after we started to prepare to set off, another boat showed on the horizon (OK, so came around the previous bend!) As is usual in canal etiquette, we let them go by before finally letting go (we had already untied from the goat chains). However, this was not entirely altruistic as we knew that we were minutes away from the Bascote Staircase and a string of locks down to Leamington Spa. As this was an experienced and well-crewed boat, we hoped for an easier passage.

We have often moored close to this former railway bridge but we included this photo for its range of colours especially in the gently rusting bridge sides.

We soon finished the four locks of Bascote - the above is the bottom lock - and they stayed with us for one more. At that point they opted for a Full English Breakfast and so pulled onto a convenient mooring below the lock. Thereafter we had to operate all of the locks on our own.

Just below Fosse Top Lock, and alongside the bridge that carries the Roman road of Fosse Way over the canal, we paused to empty the elsan and also to adjust the weed hatch (it has a tendency to loosen and sound an annoying rattle)

Radford Bottom Lock is the last before Leamington Spa after which the canal begins its long climb up to the Birmingham level.

We then had about 45 minutes cruise to the Morrisons stop, just on the further outskirts of Leamington. We did our shopping before taking a lengthy break for lunch and rest!

It was almost quarter to three before we sere on the move once again. 

Almost immediately we passed this rather desolate feeling open space that look and feels as if it has long since seen any TLC. Later, looking at maps and aerial views, it seems as if this was a left over space when creating the adjacent large roundabout and road scheme and not, as we had previously considered, a former industrial site. Too often, planners or local politicians have these good ideas for community assets but do next to nothing to put in place the long term funding to maintain them.

Between Leamington and Warwick the canal has a number of aqueducts, including over the River Avon where one day there may be a set of locks to join the two together. However, this is the one that crosses the main railway line between the towns.

The canal runs to the north of Warwick town centre and sees ,little of interest. On the OS map from 1887, most of it is in open country, apart from the section beside the Emscote Mills - where Delta Marine Services, amongst other businesses, now operates.

The modern large Warwick Hospital is on a site that has had such an institution for some time. Part of the site was once the extensive Warwick Union Workhouse.

Eventually we arrived at the two Cape Locks. Alongside the upper one is the Cape of Good Hope pub where several groups were enjoying a drink or food at tables in the gardens.

The Hatton flight is 21 locks and to reduce tomorrow's task just a fraction we went up just two to moor in a longer pound.

10.3 Miles - 14 Locks

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