Tuesday, 12 March 2013

A Start

We are at Napton-on-the-Hill in Warwickshire. The little fleet arrived late on Sunday afternoon in a gusting Antarctic-like blizzard and moored in the pound just above the Bottom Lock.

The crews were bitterly cold by this time having struggled for about seven hours against the strong biting northerly breeze and showers of sharp snowflakes flying in their numbed faces, to journey from Long Itchington up through the thirteen double locks at Stockton and Calcutt.

Napton was the goal come what may, the Nirvana, for the Sun always shines for me at Napton-on-the-Hill.

Previously, having topped up our fresh water tanks for the last time, on Friday we disconnected the 240 volts shore power and left Kate Boats on a dull but rain free morning, finally to begin our 2013 adventure.

We cruised gently along the Grand Union Canal in the direction of Leamington-Spa feeling elated to be away and with everything going well, until we arrived off the Lidl Supermarket, only a mile from our start. Here Janis discovered that her alternators were not charging her batteries.

So we stopped and checked for loose wires etc. in the engine bay and control cupboard but everything seemed to be okay. We were moored temporarily on an illegal mooring and a lady came out from her house very quickly after our arrival to let us know this fact and yet didn’t appear to have the slightest sympathy for our obvious predicament.

Janis has an engineering friend and decided to phone him to see  whether he could offer any advice. However she had to leave a message and while we waited for his answer and noting that the house curtains were continuously twitching, we decided that in the meantime ‘Futurest’ would tow ‘Roots and Wings’ the three quarters of a mile to the moorings at Leamington, where we could wait more leisurely. We would be able to remain there the whole night if necessary.

The problem turned out to be nothing very serious. Roger told Janis to start her engine and then rev it up until the red warning light clicked off. The alternator needed a certain revolution rate in order to kick in. The little fleet so far had been dawdling down the Canal at just about tick over, which hadn’t been very helpful to the machinery.

At this point there were sighs of gratitude all round but we had decided to remain at Leamington for the night anyway and went ashore for the rest of the day to indulge in the delights of this delightful Victorian spa town with its good shops and splendid architecture.

On Saturday, the following day, we motored for five hours, through the bleak countryside of early Spring, up through the ten locks at Radford and Bascote, finally tying up in the country near Bascote Bridge, just short of the lock at Long Itchington.

And now we are at Napton with the breeze not quite as bleak this morning but in glorious sunshine, which bathes the hill behind me and highlights the little sandstone church at the top of the hill and the brown thatched cottages that hug the steep slope below. From the mooring here the base of the windmill is hidden beyond the church and behind the crest of the hill but the wooden, white freshly painted sail frames, poke provocatively from behind the hill and glisten in the Sun.

It never fails, whatever the weather, the Sun always shines for me when I am in Napton. 


Val Poore said...

Lovely, how I would like to be there too. My dream is to cruise on the English canals.

Old Salt said...

Hi Val.
It is especially wonderful after being laid up in the one place all winter.
Though winter not bad here this year, if one goes out cruising then, knowing the UK weather pattern one could easily be frozen in, miles from anywhere and cut off from supplies.
So it's very lovely in the spring Yes.
Enjoying your blog with great interest.