Victor reckons we will not make it!

Published: Wednesday, 18 May 2022

THIS is the fourth time we have ventured up the Ashby, but not always making it to the end.

Bridge22The first time was to just after the tunnel before any restoration then again when the first part of the restoration was completed. The last time we did not make it and this time I reckon we shall not.

There were some very shallow sections with the water not up to its normal level, slowing us right down, I have to admit some stretches were not too bad, but alas time took their toll.

But the bridges need some tender loving care, especially Bridge 20 below Stoke Golding that our Keith, who is currently moored nearby told that it certainly would not stand clouting with a boat, as the picture shows.

Our Thomas and Keith had a good chat, no doubt praising the wonderful activities of Canal & River Trust on maintaining the waterways in such a marvellous condition!

SunkenFiredBags of rubbish

It was here below Stoke Golding that we were amazed at the bags of rubbish in the waterway, counting seven bags, and there was a lady on the towpath obviously collecting other bags that had been discarded on the towpath.

People told us it was a regular occurrence with the wind taking over and the floating bags finishing up amongst the boats in the nearby marina.

In the next pound was a sunken boat that had been fired, that is always tragic but really after so many months it was about time it was moved according to the locals.


So again we have not made it to the end, winding and heading back even though not so many boats to pass slowing us down as there was simply nowhere for them to moor!

What there is is miles and miles of wooden piling with sharp cut tree branches sticking out preventing any hope of getting into the side without removing the paint.

Bridge10So if considering the Ashby bear this in mind and if thinking of mooring then dive onto the first bit of metal piling you come across. Or you could be at the tiller for a long time!

More bridges

Seeing the state of Bridge 22 awakened my interest in their state, and it was not long before another cracked bidge came into view—Bridge 13, (pictured), and not only cracked but worse, it is seen that a stone had already broken away from the roof and landed in the cut.

So let's hope the vibration of such as a Gardner engine or similar passing under does not dislodge yet more stones to fall, and perhaps onto the boat or even worse, a member of its crew. Of course I could be mistaken about the effect of such engines, that could have no effect whatsoever.

Then still another badly cracked bridge, this time No 10 that could also do with some urgent attention, but don't expect it will get any.  Then away from the Ashby under Bridge 1—and you have guessed—a crack down each side. But enough of pictures of bridges.

Well worth a visit

Please don't get me wrong about the Ashby and its lack of dredging and crumbling bridges. It is a very pleasant canal indeed to cruise through countryside that is devoid of all those many canal-side housing developments of so many waterways, yet interesting features to discover, especially the Triumph museum for motor and motorbike enthusiasts and battlefields of days gone by, for the historians.

Just remember there are no canal-side supermarkets or such except by bus, so come well stocked.

But indeed well worth a visit and a bonus to those either first getting acquainted with boating or not liking locks—as there aren't any!

And the advantage of the lack of moorings means you are not slowing down every few minutes for moored boats!

SpringwoodHavenClearBack again 

So back onto the Coventry after an early start it being two hours before we met a moving boat then within just half an hour encountering nine oncoming boats! Prompting the remark from Jan that they hunt in packs—just like U boats!

The problem being if a front boat is really slow, and some first time hirers are, there will soon be a right convoy.

What a difference

All too often stopping for either diesel, pump-out or items at canal-side  services means a struggle to get mooring, as every foot is taken up with moored boats, bringing in income of course, but not much good for boaters, many of whom—us included, simply carry on.

CartBr24OneSo what a change to see the mooring (pictured above) at Springwood Haven, with plenty of space to get diesel have a pump-out or even visit its chandlery.

Also empty

Also empty were the CaRT moorings at Bridge 24, with only one boat in sight and that just before the official moorings start, so obviously not paying.

So that's a loss of income caused perhaps by a high charge for simply mooring off-side but with no other facility, that many boaters get towpath-side for free!

Don't assume

There is a trend these days for people to assume that readers know what a notice/statement actually means so don't state it.

A prime example is the notice advertising the Anchor Inn stating it is available three quarters of a mile from a bridge that has a footpath leading from it.  Assuming of course the person reading knows which way—along the footpath or along the canal.

After all there are many of both—along a path or road from the canal or along the canal itself, assuming who is reading it knows, but often does not.

TreeBestThe pub is along the canal this time, but I wonder how many have taken the notice to mean along the footpath and trudge to nowhere, no few, that's for certain. A pity the people at the Anchor Inn haven't enough sense to make it clear and not assume.

Escaped in time

Just learnt from friends Steph and Dan White that the Ashby was at a standstill between bridges 25 and 26, with a tree blown down in this afternoon's wind.

Though quite a queue of boats held up they learnt that contractors were unable to come out straight away to clear the tree and free the boats stuck on both sides of the obstruction.

TreeClearedSo the boaters took matters into their own hands and managed to clear the branches, as shown, but were unable to clear the trunk with the navigation still blocked until the contractors arrive.  Images courtesy of Dan White.

The Atherstone Flight

So down the Atherstone Flight and volunteer lock keepers busy talking to each other in the distance, but alas no help coming our way!

But of course we managed, as we always do without a single volunteer either way, in fact only that couple in sight all the cruise so far!

Victor Swift