Trip to Warwick

We had a couple of weeks till our planned departure for visiting friends and our land home in Cornwall, so we decided we would take  trip to Warwick as although we had passed through many times we had never visited the town. We set off early on Friday 22nd June from the marina, as the weather was still fair and getting hotter as each day progressed. We managed the 3 locks at Calcutt on the Grand Union mainline, then stopped for breakfast. Carried on to Stockton locks where we teamed up with another boat. The chap was single handing so I think was glad of the help. Through 2 locks (10 in the flight), and we encountered a problem with one of the pounds between the locks being totally empty. A nuisance but easily rectified by letting water down, but it takes time. One boat coming up the flight, but we didn’t see any other boats that morning and managed to get through the rest of the flight with no problems. We stopped at Long Itchington for elevenses, but were quite near to a busy road, so thought we would move along to somewhere we had moored in the past. Bad move as the towpath was really overgrown and we had difficulty mooring in many places due to low water levels. We ended up going through Bascote locks (includes a staircase lock of 2 and 2 other normal locks), through the following lock and we saw some mooring spots so pulled in as we now tired, hot and teasy. We needed a bottle of wine to relax (any excuse).

The weather has been exeptional, so we decided to stay put on the Saturday and chill as best we could. The water levels keep rising up and down as the locks are worked, but there really hasn’t been much boat traffic.

our up and down mooring

a few pictures of more flora along this little stretch of towpath

wild rose


sleeping mallard

grasses amongst the reeds

spider webs

crab apples

Sunday 24th June and we moved on another sunny day through 5 locks to Radford Semele. The World Cup is on and England were playing in the afternoon, so we wanted to get moored to watch the game. I had already prepared dinner. Unfortunately we couldn’t get a good enough TV signal so had to tether the phone to computer to watch the game. England won against Panama restoring our faith in the team.

church tower at Radford Semele

Monday 25th and another sunny, early start to beat the heat. We were heading for Leamington Spa and Lidl as wanted to get a few of their special items (paint thinners and anti rust paint). On the way we were flagged down at a bridge by a young woman asking if we had a boat hook to fish out a bicycle from the bridge hole. We stopped after the bridge narrowly missing the bike which I may add we couldn’t see as it was submerged. The bike belonged to an elderly chap who was there dripping wet; he had ridden through the bridge hole (which they are not supposed to do), clipped the curve of the bridge and then was catapulted into the canal. This could have ended badly for him if the woman hadn’t stopped to help him, as he would have had difficulty getting out of the canal; or even been submerged if he had hit his head. Reported to CRT as a safety issue.  After our stop at Lidl we headed on, through 2 more locks at the Cape, and headed into the Saltisford arm. A private arm that has been restored over a 30 year period by a trust of volunteers. £6 a night with water and electric at an extra charge if wanted, but we didn’t need it as our solar panels have kept our energy needs going since the sun has been shining daily.

evening sunset

a very hot blackbird

The gardens in the arm at Saltisford

lock gate feature in the garden

looking up the arm

and looking down

On arrival our boaty friends Penny and Joe were already there having negotiated the 21 locks of the Hatton flight earlier in the morning. We met up with them in the evening for a chat and catchup (we saw them briefly at Norbury earlier in the year), and drank a little too much red wine!

Tuesday 26th and we were feeling a little delicate after the night before, but still we pressed on with a short trip round Warwick town centre to look round the shops. Lovely little town with mostly independent shops, and the usual charity ones. I managed to get a lonely planet book on Australia in one of them; an old version but still very informative. In the afternoon we offered a boat to breast against us as room in the arm was getting tight. After chatting it transpired his daughter-in-law, a GP, had worked in St Columb Surgery briefly around 9 years ago. I didn’t recognise her name but I think she was there when I was nursing Emily through her illness. Small world.

Wednesday 27th June and we were off again to explore the tourist side of Warwick . Another hot and sunny day after a cloudy start.

Warwick castle

We looked at the tower of the castle as now it is really a theme park. We last visited here in the 1980’s. Very expensive entry fee also. Our main aim was to visit the Lord Leycester Hospital. A place founded by Robert Dudley (Queen Elizabeth 1 favourite), for wounded ex servicemen. It has never been a hospital as we know it, but still houses 8 retired members of the armed forces. A lovely place to live as the photo’s show.

Hospital from the outside

£6.50 each entry fee

Bear and Staff the symbol of the Dudley family

Tudor buildings opposite the chapel area

buildings within the complex

stairs lead up to the Great Hall built in 1450

inside the Great Hall

coats of arms of the Dudley family

inside the smaller hall where weddings are now officiated

chair used by King James 1 when he visited the hospital

intricate woodwork on this Tudor building behind the Brethrens kitchen

part of the garden area

view from the top

After our walk round we had tea in the kitchen, then made our way to St Mary’s church to view Robert Dudley’s tomb. A lovely church with much to see.

one of the many tombs

intricate ceiling in the 14th century chapel

the chapel where Robert Dudley’s family are laid to rest

Robert Dudley’s elaborate tomb

A lovely day exploring, back to the boat then found a shady spot to sit with Izzy as very hot. Penny and Joe were leaving, so we said goodbye to them.

Thursday 28th June and I was up early. Emptying the toilet cassette, getting rid of the rubbish and paying the bill for our 3 night stay. A lovely place from which to explore the town. And safe to moor. Though with the dry weather the roof of the boat was covered in sticky tree sap.

Off after the other boat had moved from us, back through Cape locks, for another stop at Lidl for fruit and veg. On again through Leamington to Radford Semele. We stayed here till Saturday as the day was overcast and breezier though still very warm. The weekend was spent slowly cruising back through to Long Itchington.

Tuesday 3rd July and we were up really early to get through the Stockton Lock flight before the heat of the day. We were nearly through before we met boats coming down. Water levels on the canal are markedly dropping and we are scraping the bottom in many places. We made it though to the newly formed Nelsons Wharf.

widebeam boat squeezing through the overgrown vegetation

Nelsons Wharf and the new home of Willow Wren training centre

looking into the arm and moorings

Wednesday 4th July and we left at a normal time to Calcutt Locks, through 2 with a novice boat then a stop for us to fill up with diesel, so the tank is full when we leave the boat. Then through the last of the Calcutt locks with a boat we had shared Cape Locks with the week before. Turning right at Napton Junction, and past the marina , to a favourite spot by the old Bridge Inn that was. Turned the boat round and moored for a couple of days. We did have around 6 drops of rain though in the afternoon!! Thursday 5th July and Charlie did an engine service and oil and filter change. It was really hot to be doing this sort of job down the engine compartment but a ggod spot to do it as space on the towpath to put things.

Overgrown towpath at Napton

Friday 6th July and we headed back to the marina to prepare for our next adventure on land. Fridge and freezer getting low as I use up all bits and bobs. Interesting meals being prepared! Saturday 7th and washing machine going, washed the boat of the sticky sap and dust. Watched England win again against Sweden. Car booked for Monday then off to Canterbury for the first of our visits on Tuesday.

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