Narrowboat News - Edition 4

Narrowboat News - Edition 4

Dear Everyone,

Editorial comment from my sister Pip, who knows her UK flora - May blossom is not Blackthorn but Hawthorn which does flower in May, hence ' don't cast a clout till the May be out’.

We had a slight frost last night, just a few frozen dew puddles, cool in the boat but the lack of wind - for the first time since we arrived, was a joy. There is something magical about floating along on totally still water with the arc of the old stone bridges being perfectly reflected as a circle. With the lack of wind and dry air it wasn’t too chilly if wearing lots of layers - my old ski pants are coming in handy. Once the sun came out it was almost warm at times.

We didn’t stop as frequently on the way back down the Ashby but I enjoyed being dropped off at one bridge (a bridge is an excellent drop point as it narrows to a definite firm edge and if travelling slowly it’s easy to step off the boat) and then transiting by a series of footpaths through the village of Stoke Golding to pick up a few supplies and rejoining the boat a few bridges further on. The plan was aided by the fact that the canal wrapped itself around the village. I had the chance to explore the village and admire a handsome bull in one of the fields along the route. This has been a rural trip but not much livestock alongside the canal, the fields of sheep didn’t have many lambs around - not sure where they all are. We usually make a start around 0800 ish and one field of large fully fleeced sheep were still asleep, everyone laying on the ground like a bunch of wooly maggots or deflated Christmas lawn ornaments.

The Ashby hasn’t been good for walking - no locks all all from one end to the other and the towpath a quagmire in places and very slippery. However I took a walk to check out for a possible mooring and had some lovely fauna sightings. I was keenly watched by a kestrel - close enough to see his lovely colouring. I also heard an intriguing sound - coming from the wings of a bird. The bird was a lapwing - an although I have seen them often before - over the engine noise I hadn’t heard their wing noise (hence their name apparently) they are also called peewits - and that’s exactly the sound of their call. He/she was putting on an impressive aerial display - it was fascinating. I also encountered a water vole merrily swimming along near the bank. It’s an ideal spot for them as the ragged edge allows them to get ashore. This is a problem with improved armco edges as wildlife can’t get out of the water. I have seem several drowned hedgehogs on previous trips.

On the maintenance side of things (which keeps himself entertained) as we approached our first tunnel, we discovered that the tunnel lamp on the bow wasn’t working, we improvised with someone standing on the bow with an inspection lamp. It’s all now fixed! The leak under the sink is nothing significant and not the source of the water in the bilge. However the side hatch leaks in heavy rain, may be a winters worth? Hard to believe.

Lucy Neatby

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I so love following along with your narrow boat adventures! My sister and I will be spending 3 weeks in Scotland in May (a bucket list trip). Thanks for the wonderful narrative and photographs! Hugs from Kansas, USA

Mal Hoover

Hi Lucy , the reason you’re not seeing much livestock in the fields is because the cows haven’t been turned out from their Winter housing yet. Won’t be long though . U x


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