Saturday, 12 September 2015

Up the Ashby Part 4. Snarestone and beyond ....

It is a very peaceful, warm and sunny day on this, our last piece of the Ashby from Shackerstone to Snarestone.
Buzzards wheel, spiral and slip-slide past each other high above us; a statuesque heron takes off like a pterodactyl as we disturb his solitary post; two kingfishers shoot out from the trees, flash blue fire as they sprint up river then shoot back into the undergrowth. Everywhere there are pigeons, magpies, squirrels, ducks, moorhens, walkers, fishermen, boaters and cyclists.

And soon we see the Snarestone Tunnel - shorter (250 yards) than those we've passed through this week, and narrower - this is for one way traffic, so watch carefully before entering ....
and so we reached the winding hole we'd looked over when making our recce earlier in the year.
But from our neighbouring boater we learn that the Ashby Canal Association has just opened a further stretch, only a week ago, and we would be in the "First ten" boats to boat it. How could we refuse? So the kind gentleman opened the swing bridge for us and off we went into the unknown - all brand new 500 meters of it.
The bridge (below) is still being completed, though it looks like it's only the coping stones yet to be placed,

the winding hole is just 50 feet (Patience is 45) and there are diggers at the very end (above) showing the way to future expansion, but this is currently the end of the Ashby.

Plans abound to join it up 4 miles further north to Moira.
So, back through the tunnel and we moored up 100 yards downstream where Patience will stay until we pick her up again next week for the return journey. Thanks to The Globe, an attractive and refurbished pub ideally situated for visitors to Snarestone and The Ashby.

We covered a total of 69 route miles and 18 locks, including 47 completely new route miles for Patience from Braunston Junction to Snarestone on the Oxford, Coventry and Ashby Canals. And after a brief respite, back we shall go!

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