Monday 6 September 2021


 Today's Canals - Coventry, Ashby

A day with a number of breaks in cruising to attend to various routine matters, prop clear and shopping. Before we set off, Christine took a good look around the basin, partly because she was intrigued by what looked like railway arches.

A plaque on the wall between the two arches explains that these were originally built into a retaining wall to hold stocks of coal for the nearby gas works. From the top she had a rather different view of the basin.

Back at the boat we cast off from our mooring and then turned around to face out of the basin but before we passed under the narrow Bridge 1 we stopped at the service block to empty the elsan. We then had to move to the moorings outside the basin in order to fill the water tank.

Another look at Cash's Hundred Topshops. (We have probably told this before but the 'Topshops' were the uppermost level, built to house weaving looms which each family could use to earn their own living. They were powered from the same source.)

Mike was relating to Christine the street he had visited yesterday. Try as we might, this is the best view of the Ordnance Works that we could locate.

We wanted to do a 'Lidl'  more food shopping and so aimed to stop close to Bridge 6A. Alas, the towpath here is completely covered by the new cycleway and no mooring is possible. Second choice was to stop near Bridge 8 flor Tesco. Again cyclists have completely displaced boat moorers near to the bridge. Our map suggested a mooring a little further on. Since there is nothing better for several days now we had to manage but our stern was some distance from the bank. Tesco is not set up to make life easy for boaters - there were no trolleys reading available to those who just walk in - Mike had to walk some distance in to the massive car park to find one. Customers Services gave a lame excuse about it being someone's day off!

As we set off once more it was increasingly obvious that we had something around the prop so we found a convenient bank where we could come alongside - not a lot but sufficient plastic rubbish to make a lot of difference when it had been removed.

No complicated manoeuvre at Hawkesbury junction today as we headed straight on towards Atherstone, although we plan to turn off onto the Ashby at Marston.

Charity Dock - of course!

We were too busy at the junction to manage a photo and we stopped for the night just before the first bridge - not a 'proper' mooring so we needed pins and even so there was a gap between us and the bank.

Before we finish this blog we wanted to write up some of what we have managed to find out about Hawkesbury and Longford Junctions. The Coventry Canal was built before the Oxford and quickly established a business with the coalfields just north of the city, opening between Coventry and Bedworth in 1769. The same year the Oxford Canal proposers obtain parliamentary permission to connect rom here to Banbury, the Thames at Oxford and thus take traffic go London. 

Locally the companies would be in fierce competition for tolls and a compromise was achieved which required the Oxford to join the Coventry closer to the city at Longford. For some time the Oxford had to run parallel to the Coventry for about a mile, just feet away from each other. Once the Coventry was completed northwards, this unnecessary time wasting so irked the boaters, customers and the canal companies that the current junction was constructed, where originally planned. But it is likely that most boaters coming from the Oxford Canal are bemused that instead of continuing straight ahead at Sutton Stop (as it looks as if it should) they have to make a sharp right onto the Coventry.

We made various efforts to see evidence of the second line as we cruised by but although it seemed plausible nothing worth photographing!

Anyway, here is a clip from the 1887 OS Map which shows the old line as disused.

It had been sunny almost all day but by the time we moored it was uncomfortably hot and we collapsed to a cold/hot drink with relief!

8.4 Miles - 0 Locks

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