Kings Bromley to Atherstone
26th July 2010
21 Miles - 16 Locks - 9 hours
The schedule for this trip calls for 9 hour days, so its up and away, but today it was dull and overcast with rain threatening all the time. Straight off we passed Chertsey, moored just beside the bridge.
We had a clear run down to Fradley but then picked up an uber slow craft which we trailed all the way to Seethay Wharf, where we stopped to buy some gas. The guy asked me to lift the canister myself as he had only just has a hernia operation and I commiserated with him. No sooner had we left him astern than I did my own back in lifting a razor! I know - how daft can you get. I just lent over a bit sideways and heard something go twang.
I have been a member of Sutton Coldfield Canoe Club in the recent past and was aware that their floating boathouse "The Dhow" had been sold. I was therefore pleased to see it moored up at Whittington.
Glascote Lock Cottage
Within a mile we had rejoined Captain Slow who likes to travel at tickover and was not minded to let anyone pass. Now this slow, slow, slow slow slow approach is fine if you have all the time in the world, but we need to be in Thrupp in six days and this demands a pace more like 3.0 mph. In the end I closed up the gap and very grudgingly he let us past, with no hello and a stony scowl on his face. Miserable git.
Colourful scene at Atherstone Bottom Lock
We had on and off showers all the way from Glascote Locks to Atherstone, easing off as we approached the bottom lock. As luck would have it a tug was exiting so I lined up for a perfect entrance but was distracted by the other boat. The steerer seemed to be oblivious of the moored boat he was approaching and I watched in fascinated horror as he hit it at full tilt, ricocheting off and crashing into the far bank. I am not sure who was more surprised, the crasher of the crashed. Both parties emerged and the guilty party did at least stop and offer unreserved apologies. The sad thing was that the moving boat was one of those graffiti covered ones with the words "cool canals" sprayed down one side. I dont know about cool - all I could see was heat as I left them and slipped into the bottom lock chamber.
Rothens Coal yard at Atherstone top lock
We were up the flight in two hours, stopping opposite the old hire base where we took out Yorkonought and Nomos on the 1960's. Sadly the old coal yard occupied by Rothens is now a thing of the past, the coal has been swept away and the rather graceful office stands empty and forlorn. Lets hope it gets a new lease of life before the vandals reduce it to a pile of rubble. Its a bit of canal heritage which deserves to be preserved.
Wilson and Staffords hat factory
Good fish and chips are to be had near bridge 41, next to the old hat factory.