Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Ashby at last

We are now on the Ashby Canal. I took the boat down on Tuesday morning when Lisa was at work and we are currently at the Lime Kilns near Hinckley. I had forgotten how much detritus there is in this canal. This is not so much jetsam but rather flotsam. It is all natural ingredients.
I notice that BW have cut back the trees at Marston Junction. Last year, when I left the Ashby and wanted to head towards Sutton Stop, the front of the boat would be in the trees before the back of the boat left the Ashby. Entering was never a problem but leaving with a full sized boat always posed me a problem. It looks like I can now leave my own rooftop detritus in place in the future.
Charity Dock gets more and more bazaar every time I pass. It's now less like a boat yard and more like a scrap yard or badly arranged ex army stores. And long may it be so. You could probably make a couple of boats from all the bows, counters and superstructures lying about.
I notice that since we left in the autumn last year, many of the liveaboards are no longer where we left them. I had heard that there was a crackdown by BW around these parts and although it is nice to find a spot at the 48 hour mooring we have never been able to get to before, that it seems to have left the canal a little soulless and with a little less character. It is, after all, these characters and their boats that make the canal system the colourful, delightful experience that it is and they keep the canals alive in the winter when the marina dwellers fear to tread. And I know many of them.

I think we'll head up to Shakerstone this weekend. I'll be meeting up with my little van again parked further up the canal. If it's still there of course. Might even have a pint in the Rising Sun.


Carl said...

I was at Atherstone at the weekend which isn't far from Ashby (?). I went there just to do some boat spotting and general photography. I saw Gosty Hill (that's a big boat - and where do they cook and sleep?).

The more I see of narrowboat life, the more I'm drawn to it. The only 'problem' is employment, I suppose. Unless I just moor up, but then there's no fun in that, is there?

Oh, I also got to see Foxton locks. It seems very popular with pedestrian tourists which, although I didn't like all those people spoiling my day out, must be good for the canal economy.

Pete said...

Athestone is a good set of locks from which to see boats from. The lockeeper at the top lock famously has an MBE. But it is the Coventry Canal and not the Ashby.

Gosty Hill has Iain and Alison aboard and really is a working boat in the traditional sense. I really don't know how they manage in the modern world but I know that their needs are pretty simple. They cook and sleep in the only accommodation available to them like the boat people in the past. If it were me and Lisa I think things would be very different. They have another narrowboat that they moor aonog side over the summer months. They have just passed me on their final run before the summer. We'll see them again in September.

Foxton is fascinating. It attracts the tourists for sure but for good reason. Boaters love it as well. I'm not sure that the tourists add to the canal economy except for the pubs. The best pub at Foxton is Bridge 51. Well it was for us. Not many tourists there though. They much preferred the big one across the way, The Foxton Locks. Not many tourists buy coal or fuel from Gosty either.

It is a good life and we love it.