Wed 19th August
We took our Nordic walking poles and had a very pleasant walk through fields and farm tracks to Baddesley Clinton, which is a fascinating National Trust property. It a moated medieval manor house, with priest holes, ghosts and murder stories. It was our third visit, but still very interesting.
Baddesley Clinton House
Flowers at Baddesley Clinton
Fireplace at Baddesley Clinton
Baddesley Clinton moat and house
We were hoping to have a bite to eat at the café after our house visit, but the queues were long, so we decided to walk back before the forecast rain arrived.
Little and large
We timed it well, as the rain came earlier than expected, just a few minutes after we got back to the boat.
No boating today
Thu 20th August
We had heard that Shiraz was heading our way, coming up the Hatton flight from Warwick, so we decided to stay put so that we could catch up with Mike. We last saw him at Little Venice in May.
Around lunchtime we went to visit the shop, and went the long way round via the junction. We found Shiraz moored up and went aboard to meet the crew – Mike plus four others. Two were leaving today, and we arranged to meet the other three at the Navigation Inn.
We disposed of some rubbish before heading for the shop to get one or two items and returning to the boat.
The Navigation Inn is now an up market bistro pub, but the food is good. Sadly the best cider on offer was Thatcher’s Gold. No longer do they have Old Rosie on draught.
Mike and the team had been on a prayer mission up the Grand Union to link in with the opening of a new church near Gas Street Basin. They had been in touch with many churches on the way.
No boating today
Fri 21st August
We had discovered after some online research that the bus services from here were useless. Some of the buses only went once a week. We decided to take a train to Warwick to do some shopping.
At the station we found that the ticket machine only takes coins. We had notes and credit cards, neither of which were any use. We told the guard as we boarded the train, and she came and sold us some tickets.
On arrival in Warwick we walked through the park towards the shops. We found the place was full of tourist shops and pricey restaurants. We had a drink in a coffee shop, and lunch at the Roebuck Inn, and decided to take a bus from there to Leamington Spa, particularly to buy some fleece material to cover our dinette cushions.
There was a bus stop near the Roebuck, and we were soon in Leamington. After trying two or three shops, we found what we wanted in Cargoes and came away with four fleeces, which Hazel will sew into sleeves for our cushions.
We then found a large Tesco Express, where we stocked up on a few things before catching the bus back to Warwick station, where we had to wait 45 minutes for our train back to Lapworth. We popped into the shop once more for some milk before returning to the boat
Hugo was not there, and he hadn’t been around at breakfast time either. He had evidently been in for his food. He seems to like it here and prefers to be out in the bushes than in the boat. He came in eventually for some more food, and then went out again. We decided to put his flap on the one way in so that he was around in the morning.
Sat 22nd August
Kingswood Jct to Copt Heath Bridge 75
We had heavy rain in the night and Hugo was aboard in the morning as planned. We set off fairly early to avoid the rain forecast for later.
We seemed to have the knack of meeting boats at bridges today, which happened three times.
Black Buoy Cruising Club
Knowle Locks were all in our favour, and it took just 40 minutes for the five locks. They are well engineered, and fill quickly. They have very wide pounds between the locks.
Knowle Bottom Lock
Black headed gull
Fast filling locks
Wide lock pounds
Looking down Knowle Locks
We paused at the sanitary station at the top to use all the facilities. It was very hot and humid.
We moored half a mile before the M42, as the wind was coming from behind and we thought it would be noisier further on.
Rural mooring before the M42
James gathered our first blackberries of the season.
Heavy rain arrived suddenly later on, with thunder and lightning. Hugo was not impressed and hid under James’s chair.
5 locks, 5 miles
Sun 23rd August
Copt Heath Bridge 75 to Camp Hill Top Lock
There was more heavy rain in the night, but it was clear by the morning.
Heron taking off
We went under the M42, and past Copt Heath Wharf and through Catherine de Barnes. We noticed that we had been right about the noise, which was louder north of the M42 due to the wind direction.
We were concerned about the mooring possibilities to enable us to get to the church we had planned to visit. Some of the edges are stone or concrete with nowhere to tie up, and no place for a mooring pin. Thankfully we found a place just beyond bridge 80 where there was piling of a sort, with places to sink mooring pins behind the shuttering.
Lonely mooring for a few hours in Solihull
We walked a short distance to Renewal Christian Centre for their second service at 11am. Hot drinks first, among people who had been to the 9am service. We were given a visitors pack, which was bright yellow, perhaps to alert others that we were not regular members, as it seems to be a huge church. We discovered that this was a branch of the Methodist Free Church, which started in America. It was a split from the Methodist Church, for three reasons: 1) at the time black people and native Americans were excluded from the Methodist services, 2) the Methodist Church were selling pews to the wealthy, and 3) They were adhering strictly to the prepared form of service, and not allowing room for the Holy Spirit to move. The Methodist Free Church adopted none of these practices.
Renewal Christian Centre
Hot drinks area
We had around 400 people present at our service and there was another one at 1pm. We didn’t know any of the songs and there were no credits so we don’t know who wrote them, but some were very good. There was no sermon as such; instead there was a panel of six people who answered questions that had been sent in.
Renewal worship band
We left straight away after the service as there was rain forecast and we still had some travelling to do. We had two visits to the weed hatch to remove plastic bags etc. The canal seemed to be very shallow and full of debris. This was the summit level and much of it was in a cutting, with steep banks and trees. We saw several badger setts and at one point there was a dead badger in the water.
The rain came, very heavy, so were pleased that we had our pram hood to keep us mostly dry.
As we passed under the excitingly named “Railway Bridge”, a steam train went across, heading back to the Tysley Locomotive Works, where, apparently, there is a lot to see if you are a railway enthusiast. The steam days are at weekends so we were fortunate to coincide with the train.
As we were arriving at our destination at the top of Camp Hill Locks, another boat, Emma Hamilton, was about to emerge from the top lock. We turned round and reversed into the secure mooring behind the sanitary station, and they followed suit. It was still raining hard, so we got a bit wet.
Hugo was not very taken with the place, and didn’t go out much.
Warehouse by Camphill Locks
Tucked away behind the rubbish bins
Next week: Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. Hopwas Folk Club on Thursday. Weekend Car Hire for a golden wedding party.