Saturday, 28 September 2013

On The Ashby Canal.

Saturday 28th September at the Bosworth Battlefield Site.
We awoke to a beautiful autumn morning and, after breakfast, walked into Nuneaton town. We were so glad that we had taken the trouble; the town which looked cheerless and rather run down last night had sprung to life. People thronged the busy streets and the market lived up to its reputation. We bought fruit, vegetables and farm eggs from market stalls; the quality and the price of which were excellent!
In the shopping centre, we stopped to watch a display by a local dance troupe who were very good indeed. They were surrounded by a large crowd who were clapping in time to the music and applauding each group enthusiastically.
M went to buy a "few bits" at the Co-op (no M&S in Nuneaton!) while R took himself off for a
Costa coffee in order to gird his loins for the task of carrying the "few bits" back to MM.
Back on board, we set off for Marston Junction just a couple of miles away. On the way we met three swans having a serious arguement. One of them started by flying straight at the other two.
There followed lots of posturing, with their wings up and their heads kept low. A few yards away, a full-grown cygnet was keeping well out of the way! They followed us for several hundred yards, with the two males at the back weaving back and forth just inches away from each other. Interestingly, although it was all very aggressive posturing, they never actually touched.
At the junction, we turned on to the Ashby Canal which used to serve the coalfields of Moira.
The canal is still is navigable for 21 miles and there is a very active Restoration group working to open the last eight miles to Moira.
It was a lovely journey. The Ashby is a lock-free contour canal that meanders through peaceful rolling farmland, in many ways reminiscent of the South Oxford.
We moored for the night by Shenton aqueduct, very close to the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field where Richard III was killed in 1485. This is the aqueduct from the canal:

And this is what it looks like from the road (you would never guess there was a canal there!):
There is also the Battlefield Heritage Railway here and the plan is to visit both the battlefield and the railway tomorrow.
Before dinner, we walked up to the Heritage Railway Station to take a look.
Today: 15 miles, 0 locks and 6.9 hours.
Trip: 447 miles, 327 locks and 380.3 hours.

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