Arrived at Hillmorton – An Anniversary and A Mystery Solved?
Yesterday started pleasantly sunny, we reversed to the water point to top up, disposed of our rubbish and bought a bag of coal from Midland Chandlers, who thought we would still need the stove on some nights in May?
I set off towards Hillmorton in shirtsleeves, but the weather proved deceptive as a cool breeze sprung up and a jacket was needed for a while. There was little traffic along this stretch which had considerable widening and straightening in the 1820s and the remains of the original less direct route (which hugged the chosen contour) can still be seen in places.
The Waterway Routes maps on my tablet show these old sections and have (I think) solved a mystery which had puzzled me when passing on previous occasions, the alignment of what appear to be old stables/workshops(?) now converted to housing.
My theory is that the canal originally ran between them and the houses on the right of the picture. The map below shows the old alignment and you can make out the old course by the curved hedge line on the Google Earth screenshot and the winding hole being the stub of the old route. Do you think I’m right?
At the top of the Google Earth screenshot, marked Saison’s Narrowboat Hire is where we hired from Hillmorton Narrowboats; our first boating holiday, with our friends Ted and Carol and all our kids, back in 1983.
As we neared Hillmorton Top Lock we spotted nb Gosty Hill which used to be based at Claydon and sold coal & diesel on the Oxford, Coventry and Ashby canals. Ian & Ali stopped trading some while ago and I had heard it had been sold although it didn’t appear to be trading at present.
We moored up above the top lock and had a very nice lunch at the Canalchef Café, Whitebait for Joy & Tempura Vegetables for me.
Today was spent doing a few chores in the morning and this afternoon we caught a bus to Rugby and back. When we returned we found C&RT had finished working on the locks, one of each pair had been closed for repair for about the last month. So the locks will be fully operational for the Bank Holiday weekend but no moorings free this side of Bridge 72 as they are full of C&RT workboats!
So here we are for a few days arriving on the fifth anniversary of buying our boat and celebrating five years of being liveaboards on Saturday.