Hours Cruised – 7
Interesting people and idiots – 0
Water Voles spotted – lost count at 7
Water Voles photographed so you could recognize it – 1
Classic album – Bob Marley – Legend
Set off at about 10am, having been passed by at least half a dozen boats (including Briar Rose) within an hour! On saying to the last one “it’s busy this morning” his response was “Is it, I hadn’t noticed”. That’s the great thing about canals, it can be very busy and you don’t notice it except at locks. No locks today, so all is good.
First stop was Nuneaton to pick up essentials (dog food & tea bags). It was a quick pit stop, as Nuneaton did not really encourage you to stop! Restocked, we took the decision to take a detour up the Ashby Canal. We had heard good things about it, so thought it would be a good opportunity to get out of the procession of boats we were in before we hit the lock at Hawksbury Junction.
First thing you notice about the ashby is it is SHALLOW. I know I have said that the Coventry was shallow, but the Ashby is REALLY shallow, and seemed to get shallower still as we went further up.
The other thing you notice is that there are a lot of burrows in the bank. Water voles, it turns out. There have been a lot of efforts made to reverse the decline in this fabulous little mammal, and on the Ashby canal it seems to be paying dividends to the extent that I was really hopeful I might spot one.
It seems they are actually quite common on the canal. I lost count at 7, but must have seen well into double figures by the end of the day.
Other than the plague of water voles, and a strange duck disguised as a peacock at the Lime Kilns pub, the trip up The Ashby was pretty uneventful. We arrived at Sutton Cheyney at about 5pm, having struggled up that last couple of miles past ducks standing knee deep in the canal. Turned, and as the moorings there were all full, moved about 1/2 mile back down the canal to moor. In hindsight, a much nicer mooring.
Given the infestation of water voles, I thought I would get my camera out and see if I could catch one on “film”. Turns out they are a lot more difficult to photograph than to spot. I spent a good couple of hours sat on the bank, and whilst I saw a good number of the critters, I only managed to get one shot where you can actually tell it is a water vole.