At 58 feet length, TQ (as we call her) is a steel hull narrow boat built by Colecraft and fitted out by Elton Moss Boatbuilders. Currently based at Droitwich Spa Marina in Worcestershire we're able to cruise some of the most popular waterways in Britain. The Worcester & Birmingham, The River Severn, The Droitwich Canal, The Gloucester & Sharpness Canal and more.
Our friendly Syndicate decided to go down the Self Management route on 1st March 2012 and so far it has been very successful. Please visit the other pages in this blog to see the new Web Site and if shares are available for sale. (There'll not be many). I CAN CONFIRM THERE ARE SHARES CURRENTLY FOR SALE!
I am having to place a watermark on the blog content as someone on Facebook is stealing photos and claiming them as their own. I wouldn't mind if they asked first and attributed it to my blog. If it continues I will name and shame them. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.
On Friday we stayed at the Braunston mooring. In the morning we did some cleaning inside and out, in between showers- that is, of the heavy rainfall variety- and managed to finish off polishing the outside of TQ.
After lunch we took a walk into the village. Went into two chandlers but unfortunately neither had the appropriate bulb to fit over the bathroom mirror. Got a newspaper, but missed the coffee shop/Poppy's Tea Rooms by two minutes, drinks and food not served after 4:30pm. We were lucky to be able to see the interior of the church even 'though it was then about 4:45 as the secretary had just gone in to do some photocopying! Enclosed a photo of the church inside, Also of one of the very pretty cottages and the old timbers exposed on the end of another. Had a meal at the 'Boathouse' on the canalside, which was good.
Saturday was our last day on the boat and it was a lovely day, nice and warm with no showers. We cruised along the Oxford and stopped in a quiet place, (plenty of good mooring available on a long stretch), for lunch and to start getting packed up etc. Passed this sunken boat- and another half-sunk on the other side of the canal. Back to Calcutt, filled up with water just before the Top Lock, helped with the locking for Dragonfly (CC) and another boat before going through ourselves and tying up in one of the only two spaces available at that time. After a chat with Dragonfly's owners we got to work finishing packing as much as we could and transferring it to the carin preparation for Sunday morning. Had a meal on board and reminisced about our lovely two weeks! Our next trip on TQ is supposed to be in December.....
On Thursday we left Crick at 0810, heading for the tunnel. At the top of Watford Locks- (the photo doesn't do it justice; the grounds are beautifully kept and very colourful with all the flowers)- we checked in with the lockkeeper at 0905. Another chatty lockkeeper and we got through the seven locks in only an hour today. The staircase lock operation is different from other ones we've been to and works very well as long as everyone does the right thing!
The second photo was taken when we were emerging from Crick Tunnel, after the twenty minute trip in the dark. Decided to have lunch before the big locks at Braunston, then waited to see if another boat would come to share the locks with us. After five minutes a boat appeared- and it was one of ours! Jenny Wren, with Edward & Elizabeth Hughes on board. There were a few showers that afternoon, but though some were heavy, they were short-lived. It was a yo-yo game with putting jackets on/off in the heat as we worked the locks together. We parted at the Bottom Lock and soon after, we moored TQ opposite the Boathouse restaurant. Went for a walk to the village later, where we sheltered a resident under our big Windbrella for five minutes and learned a little about the village life.
Continuing problems with the laptop and dongle mean either new laptop or new dongle! (Or sometimes, a mooring place nearer a mobile phone mast.)
On Wednesday, we set off in bright sunshine. Shortly afterwards we went through Crick tunnel, up past the marina, then turned to find a mooring place near Bridge 14. We tied up there at 1045 and did some jobs before having lunch. Afterwards we walked into the village and came upon a Post Office quite soon- great. Except it was Wednesday afternoon, so the post office section of the shop was closed! However, stamps could be purchased in the shop, which was well stocked. We went to see the very old church, St Margaret's, which was undergoing a lot of restoration work. Have enclosed a photo- unfortunately the scaffolding and plastic rather spoiled the outside of it. We passed the three pubs and some very pretty cottages. On the way back to the boat, we went to look at 'The Moorings', a restaurant at the canalside near the bridge. It -and the menu- looked good so we booked a table for later. On the way back to the boat we met a couple with two miniature ponies walking on the towpath- as seen on photograph. Cute. The restaurant used to be called 'Edward's' - as stated in Pearson's, but I believe it isn't so long since the 'new' owners changed the name, although they have been there for six years. The meal we enjoyed there was first class!
Beginning of the Leicester Section at Norton Junction.
Again a bit late, as the signal was very poor yesterday evening. We set off at 0815 and arrived at Br.58 just before 11 o'clock. We moored there as we needed to stock up on a few items, after our trip up the lovely, quiet Ashby canal with its dearth of shops! It was sweltering again as we made our way to Tesco- and also when we were going through the Hillmorton Locks later. We moored for the night near Br.87, (the idyllic spot again), and sat out for an hourenjoying the beautiful evening.
Today we left the mooring at 0810. Took a photo of the beautiful spot but it doesn't do it justice because the bright sun threw shadows over the canal. Filled up water at Braunston, then went into the Marina to do a Pump Out. Shortly afterwards we arrived at the locks and were delayed quite a while because there were a few boats waiting. Also, as TQ and Downeaster were preparing to go to the first lock, we discovered that the boat in the lock was not moving- the lady from the boat having decided to visit the canal shop and hold up proceedings. When she eventually returned, her husband finished his coffee before the lock procedure was continued. Downeaster and TQ went through the six locks together, which made it easier- and we had a good chat along the way of course! Tied up after the sixth lock, to have lunch, then made our trip through the long Braunston Tunnel. We reached Norton Junction about 2pm and into the Leicester Section of the Grand Union. Stopped after Bridge 6 and made a quick visit to Watford Gap Services, having read about this possibility in 'Pearson's. Managed to get a newspaper at the garage shop! Arrived at Watford Locks about four o'clock, in a little rain. A few boats waiting at each side, so it took a while before we got in the first lock. I had received a message from the lockkeeper to say we could go through the first two locks but then had to wait to do the staircase locks. The lockkeeper there organises all the movements of the boats to make sure everything is done correctly! (A good idea!) It was six o'clock when we left the last lock, after a long wait in the second pound. About twenty minutes later we decided to call it a day and tied up along the towpath. Good decision as it rained more heavily after that. The sheep in the field opposite all suddenly went running- literally- for cover under the trees.
Continuing problems with the computer, I’m afraid, so have to catch up when it’s possible. On Friday 1st July we set off at half past nine in sunshine. Just after Bridge 27 we tied up at a BW mooring place, which is actually on the opposite side from the towpath. We walked along the road into Stoke Golding- only a quarter of a mile. It is a lovely village with an old church which we would have liked to look at- but unfortunately a funeral was taking place at the time so we could only see the outside of it. There was a general store and also a Post Office and two pubs! Saw so many fluffy moorhens and tiny ducklings today, as we have done for the whole trip, but every brood is a pleasure to see. Continued on to Shackerstone, a small village (without a shop- but with a Victorian Railway Station and line) and moored near Br. 52 at 5pm. Just a short walk from the mooring to The Rising Sun for an excellent meal. No problems at the mooring overnight and at 0815 we set off to complete the Ashby Canal. A very tranquil cruise to the terminus, in lovely weather again, and we arrived there at 0945. The Ashby Canal Association members are rightly proud of the restoration work of a further section of the canal which was completed last year and are hoping that the whole of the original canal will be restored eventually. There is a small cabin/shop at the terminus, as well as a bric and brac section nearby. We left there soon after 10 and were back at Shackerstone by 11:20. We then went to the Railway station, which has a café and a museum, and enjoyed bacon baps before crossing the line for the 12:30 to Shenton. A mixture of different coaches on the steam train, some dating back to the Fifties. (Hopefully the photos will appear on the blog!) Only 20 mins to Shenton, but a good ride. There is a walk from there uphill, but not a long way, to the area where the Battle of Bosworth was fought- and where Richard the Third was killed. Back down to Shackerstone on the Battlefield Line and back to TQ. Set off at quarter past three and arrived at Stoke Golding at 1845. Moorings were full at Br. 27 so we moored near Br. 26. A bit of a walk along the towpath to the bridge, then followed the main road up to the pubs. The Indian restaurant attached to The Three Horseshoes served excellent food. Today, (Sunday), we set off at 0920 and an hour later came across an old boat straddled right across the canal. It was empty and we presumed that someone had untied the mooring ropes during the night. After that, the canal continued in its peaceful, very rural surroundings. We moored at lunchtime on the towpath near Br. 2. No other boats around and nothing in sight but water, trees and fields- gorgeous. Unfortunately, later on, as we approached Marston Junction, a lot of reeds/grasses got caught up in the propeller. Fortunately we stopped in the very narrow section just before the bridge, so I was able to hold TQ while the captain had the difficult job of removing the offending material. Twenty five minutes later we were off again and eventually moored a little before Br.26, only four boats here, and we had a barbecue!