Grand Union, Birmingham and Fazeley, Coventry and Northern Oxford
6 days - September 1982
Following the 1981 debacle on the Leeds Liverpool Canal the same quartet (Captain Snr, Captain Jnr, Mother and Aunt) tried another route, this time tackling what has become known as the Warwickshire Ring.
The loop was tackled from Weedon on the Grand union and therefore involved a lengthy trek north to Braunston where the Grand Union and North Oxford overlap and the circuit starts.
This was the second of three trips involving the "weed" boats which prosaically were based at Weedon and formed part of the Weedon Narrowboat fleet. This trip was on Duckweed, which previously hired in 1980 for a madcap dash round the East Midlands ring, a trip which was so rushed that no photographic evidence remains!
I would like to think that flat caps were fashionable at some point in the early 1980's but I can't find any evidence to support this argument....
This trip started with a run up the Grand Union, thorough the Braunston tunnel and then on to the Hatton flight. This ring is really a 10 day route, even without the extra legs to and from Weedon, so we were under pressure from day one. The descent to the Leamington / Warwick sump pound and then back up the full Hatton Flight was tackled in a single day with your truly providing most of the lock-side muscle.
The journey then took a dive through south east Birmingham descending through the narrow Camp Hill Locks before veering to the right to the Birmingham and Fazeley via the Saltley Cut and Garrison Locks.
The Captain Snr had a major aversion to stopping in Birmingham (probably wise) so this section was again tackled in a single day, before stopping close to the Dog and Doublet.
Having passed the unchanged footbridge at Market Drayton it was on to the Coventry Canal and up the Atherstone Flight before stopping in an unmodernised Coventry basin.
I had no idea that this trip would cover what has become our boating back yard, and that in seven years I would be married and living in Birmingham. Its a small world.