Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Into Warwickshire


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We have had another lovely autumn day, not so cold today even though we barely saw the sun, but this was the view from our windows just before we set off towards Hatton.








Shrewley Tunnel was soon ahead, its not very long and you can clearly see the other end, but it is unusual with the horse tunnel at a higher level.





We have worked the Hatton flight 4 times before, so it seems familiar now.  Today we were on our own as we went down, but we met several boats coming up and for the last 4 locks were joined by another.  They were all hire boats, it has been a noticeably busier week as it’s half term.  They’ve had quite a good week.

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Trying to find some different pictures of the flight, so as not to repeat previous blogs.






We had completed the journey to Warwick by lunchtime, and we walked into the town, for a quick wander round and visit to the antique shops.  We had quite a few visits here last year when we were ‘stuck’ at Lapworth before Christmas.

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In the Medieval period Warwick was controlled by various Earls of Warwick, many from the Beauchamp family.  It became a walled town, today only the east and west gates survive.




William the Conqueror started building Warwick Castle in 1068 on his way to Yorkshire to deal with rebellion in the north.

The castle developed into a stone fortress and then a country house and today is a popular (though very expensive) tourist attraction. Which is why we have never visited it.





The Great Fire of Warwick in 1694 destroyed much of the medieval town and as a result most of the buildings post-date this period.

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And then we moved on to Leamington Spa and look forward to visiting the town here again tomorrow.

9 miles, 23 locks, 1 tunnel

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Leaving the City and an Invitation to Dinner


Our body clocks are still on British Summer Time so yesterday morning we were up, breakfasted and ready to move by 8am.  We reversed out of our Cambrian Wharf moorings and whilst Tacet was in the first of the Farmer’s Bridge locks I sorted the rubbish and loo and we were off down the flight of 13 in our usual routine, preparing the locks ahead, oh and this time opening a paddle for the boat following us down.  We made good time with a volunteer joining us about half-way down so that saved a trip back to close up and refill the lock, so were at the bottom with the kettle on for coffee at 9.30.



“Step at a time a river carefully climbs down through the town.” 

More lock gate poetry has arrived since the last time we travelled this flight.


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It’s not long though before the Ashted locks come into view, 6 locks this time and Ian worked them.  The Digbeth branch takes us round past Aston University, Typhoo Basin, to the start, or end, of the Grand Union Canal.

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Bridge painting - a brave man on the ledge and underneath a floating platform with a stepladder balanced on top for the underside.




Then there’s the Camp Hill flight of 6, we swapped roles here and met three other boats on the flight so locks were for us and at the top we were leaving the city buildings behind and things began to look a bit greener. 


We had a stop at Tysley to revisit the Vehicle Electric’s garage, where the bad news was that we needed a new alternator after Mr Fixit was unable to, well fixit.  Having taking it on/off/on/off several times over the last week, it didn’t take long for the job to be done and we could move on again.


Once we had left the Birmingham suburbs behind we moored in the romantic sounding Catherine de Barnes village.  Bob and June from Autumn Myst had very kindly invited us to dinner at their nearby home.  We met them back in May on the Kennet and Avon and Oxford Canals, and have followed each others travels since.  Bob chauffeured us to their lovely home where June had prepared a wonderful dinner.  It was lovely to see them both again, and catch up on the past few months and hear about the new guide dog puppy which will be arriving on Thursday.  It was a real treat to go out for the evening too. Thank you.


Today, it was cold when we woke up, the thermometer read 7’.  We had not lit the fire last night as we were out, so a burst of the central heating was needed to encourage us out of our cosy bed.

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It was a quieter travelling day today taking us through Knowle and Kingswood/Lapworth to Rowington.

Tomorrow we shall tackle the Hatton locks down into Warwick.




Tuesday -  10 miles, 25 locks, 2 tunnels

Wednesday -  8  miles, 5 locks

Monday, 28 October 2013

The End is Nigh!


Not because of the stormy weather, of which we have seen very little here in Birmingham, but our time-out, gap-year(s), sabbatical, call-it-what-you-will, time travelling on board Tacet will soon be over.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens.  Ecclesiastes 3:1


Next week we shall start the process of settling back into the real world and putting roots down back on the bank. Tacet will still be our home whilst we get things underway.

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There’s a lot to sort out, a car to buy, house and boat to sell, new home to find, and sadly somewhere along the line, work of some sort.


4.Poultney Weir


So this week we shall enjoy being on the move again making our way back down the Grand Union Canal. Give us a shout if you see us and cheer us as we prepare to leave the friendly world of the canals where we have had a brilliant two-and-a-half years exploring the cities, towns, villages and countryside along the rivers and canals, of this lovely country of ours.


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According to Chaucer, “All good things must come to an end”.  But I’m sure there are more good things ahead.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.  Proverbs 16:3

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Hawne Basin and back to Brum




As we ran out of daylight yesterday and couldn’t get to Hawne Basin, we used the extra hour this morning to complete that trip.  We squeezed under the low and narrow bridge into the basin, it was still early and no-one was around in the shop, so we tied up Tacet alongside another boat whilst we went into Halesowen to the Baptist Church.

On our return we filled up with diesel and set off back into the centre of Brum. The weather was not too bad, after the dismal forecasts.  We had a shower as we set off, and it was a bit breezy but otherwise dry.  With no locks, just two long tunnels to navigate oh and the odd toll islands to squeeze through, the journey was not a difficult one.

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Gosty Hill Tunnel is narrow, mostly fairly tall, but closing in low in a couple of places.






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Netherton Tunnel though, is wide with a towpath each side.









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So now we are back in Brum, in Cambrian Wharf with the hatches firmly battened down awaiting the storms promised threatened by the weathermen.


13 miles, 0 locks, 2 tunnels

Saturday, 26 October 2013



Gosh it seems a long time ago now………….. it must have been a long day……………..but this morning we left Stourbridge and arrived at the bottom the 16 locks to find one boat just leaving the first lock and another just about to go in.  So we followed them both up the flight, and of course met no one coming down. 

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We like this flight, it is pretty and not too hard, we got to the top at about 12.30, time to make lunch to eat on the move before we got to the next flight, Delph locks.

However approaching Brierley Bridge on the Dudley No.1 canal, the two boats in front of us were stopped and putting in pins, so we had to do the same.

There was a tree down, blocking the cut, and C&RT had been called, so we would have to just be patient and wait……….

Tree clearance (2) Tree clearance (3) Tree clearance (4)


Or maybe have a go ourselves………..

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Sitting on the bow of nb Fragil, Ian had a go with the bow saw and several branches were removed and thrown on to the bank.





But it wasn’t long before the real men arrived with the real tools and got on with the real job of cutting and clearing the tree.

Tree clearance (8) Tree clearance (9) Tree clearance (10) Tree clearance (11) Tree clearance (18) Tree clearance (19) Tree clearance (21) Tree clearance (23)


They were very quick and efficient and by 3pm all was clear and we could get through, after nb Fragil and collected some of the bigger bits, which the timber men had cut into small logs for them.


At Delph locks we again followed, nb Fragil and Angel’s Whisper up the flight, and now we had another boat behind us, quite a convoy of us.

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The wind began to pick up and the darker clouds were gathering, but it was still dry and when the other crews stopped at Merry Hill, we carried on as our plan had been to get to Hawne Basin, but with the delay we would have to see how far we could get before it got too dark.

And that meant we stopped at Bumble Hole, where we are being rocked by the increasing wind, but are hopefully not too close to trees which may fall!


8 miles, 25 locks