As the autumn weather settles in on us, our cruising enters a new dimension – slower and more leisurely, frequent pauses to remove the build-up of leaves from our propeller, and the time to admire the scenery of changing colours. It has also been a fantastic time to share our experiences with more family and friends, both on the canals and in the countryside.
We completed our time on the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley Junction, turning right here onto the Coventry Canal to continue our journey south. The Coventry Canal takes us down to the Hawkesbury Junction where we will eventually turn onto the North Oxford Canal and meander to our winter moorings near Rugby. The beautiful Ashby Canal runs to the east off of the Coventry Canal at Marston Junction and we took the time to explore this lock-free canal twice with separate visitors. A truly beautiful part of the country – predominantly rural, no locks and with lovely villages and country pubs to visit.
Trip to Derbyshire
Whilst moored at Fradley Junction we were collected by Bob’s long-term friend, Max, and went to stay with him and his wife Jenny in their home at Youlgreave in Derbyshire. When we started this adventure we stayed in their home while we searched for our narrowboat and have come to love our visits both to our friends and the beautiful Peak District of the Derbyshire Dales.
Bob and Max took the opportunity to catch up in the local pubs (beer makes for brilliant bonding!!), while Bron and Jenny enjoyed a little Rummikub and a glass of bubbly or two!! We also spent a day visiting Longshaw on the eastern edge of the Peak District. Despite the very windy and cool weather, we enjoyed a 2-mile walk through the grounds and then warming soup and rolls in the cafe for lunch. The scenery is magnificent and well worth braving the elements to see.
We also took a hike on a very blustery and wet day to visit the Nine Ladies Stone Circle on Stanton Moor nearby, before taking a trip to Sheffield in the afternoon. Despite hoping to visit the Winter Garden near Millenium Square, the rain was incredibly heavy so we restricted ourselves to coffee and cake and a spot of retail therapy – all under cover.
And then, all too soon, it was time to return to Celtic Maid and resume our journey. But we had a wonderful few days of great company, delicious food, enjoyable games, and new adventures. Thanks, Max and Jenny!!
Farewell Yasha and Juergen
One of the best things this year was having Yasha and Juergen in the same country as us. We had been in different countries for the last 6 years apart from our all too brief trip to Peru to visit them at the beginning of 2017. They caught up with us near Manchester back in June, again in Kidsgrove and Barleston to celebrate their anniversary and Bron’s birthday, and finally, we said a brief farewell to them in Atherstone as they completed this UK trip and headed in their camper truck through Europe to Morocco which they hope to explore during the winter. They plan to return to the UK next year to visit Scotland and maybe other parts so we are sure that we will have more time together then. Their adventures can be found at dare2go. Miss you both xxx
Philip and Sammy
We have been excitedly anticipating a visit from Bob’s nephew, Philip and his wife, Sammy since we attended their wedding in Canada last October. Philip is Judy and Ted’s son and whilst we love having them aboard we appreciated them giving up their September visit to us for Philip and Sammy. It was even more special to have them with us as we were the first leg on their honeymoon trip to Croatia. Feeling very blessed.
They arrived by train in Atherstone where we met them on the platform and safely stowed their minimal luggage before heading off to the supermarkets to stock up on beer, wine, and a little food!!! After dinner, we sent them off to bed to recover from their long flight from Vancouver BC.
Over the next four days we got them to experience taking Celtic Maid through some locks, steering her, mooring, the Ashby Canal, country pubs, Autumn in England, lots of food, some walks, and some Celtic Maid style relaxing.
On our last night together we had a fantastic dinner at The Greyhound pub at Hawkesbury Junction washed down with some great cider, beer, and red wine.
All too soon we put them in a taxi and said farewells as they headed on to their adventures in Croatia. Please come back again – you guys rock!!!!
During our time on the Ashby Canal, we also met up with friends of Julia and Malcolm from NB Figment – Lesley and Tony on NB Pipedream who moor in the same marina as Figment. We had heard a lot about them and certainly enjoyed the few times we had together. We do very much hope to see these new friends again in the near future.
Julie and Phil
We planned to meet up with Julie and Phil again before we left for Australia and they made this happen by coming to see as at Market Bosworth on the Ashby Canal. Although we had just been there with Philip and Sammy it was no inconvenience to cruise back up and spend some time there with Julie and Phil.
One thing we had never got around to doing despite having spent considerable time here early last year, was taking a trip on the Battleline Steam train which runs between Shackerstone, north of Market Bosworth, and Shenton, to the south. Despite the wintry weather, we all had a very enjoyable day and the scenery looks different from the train despite the line following the canal for much of the route.
We had four very enjoyable days with them and look forward to sharing time together next year.
Well, you might ask!
First into the Springwood Haven Marina at Nuneaton to get our bottom cleaned and blacked (to protect Celtic Maid in the water from rusting and ensure no nasty damage exists). We also hope to get a few other painting touch-up jobs done and correct a problematic rudder.
Then it is off to Dunchurch Pools Marina where Celtic Maid will have a holiday over winter while we go Down Under to enjoy the grandchildren, children, friends and of course summer weather!!!
A quick trip before we go to get some checks on Bob’s recalcitrant eye and a visit to Baldock to see our friends Sue and Christopher and then …….