Welcome to the story of Hale and Hearty travelling the canals of Great Britian

Saturday, 24 September 2011

The Ashby Canal and Coventry

This week has been less adventurous but no less interesting. We have had a couple of beautiful, sunny days, when we have cruised to move us on south. One day we did the 11 locks up into Atherstone and then spent a happy afternoon at the market and looking at a most interesting exhibition of the history of the town, which grew very quickly due to the hat making industry and so development of housing was in ‘yards’ behind the houses – very cramped and poor quality. The interest particularly was in interviews with people who could remember living there before the programme of demolition took place. We have travelled to the current end of the Ashby canal; there are great plans for restoration of another 8 miles, about to start. On the way we spent some time beside the Battle of Bosworth site, where recent research has shown that Richard III wasn’t killed on the spot previously identified but 2 miles away – some changes to the location of commemorative stones needed there then! Lots to see and do with a steam railway, a glass artist, and on Sunday a dog show and bird of prey flying as well. The glass artist, Richard Golding, is astonishing. I watched breathless for 2 hours as he created a vase, layer upon layer of glass and flowers, and was able to see the finished item when it came out of the annealer the next day. We flew a Harris hawk and a barn owl, only 4 in the group so we were able to get up very close to the birds. Further along the canal we also walked the mile up to Market Bosworth, a lovely little town, beautiful architecture and where Henry VII, the victor at Bosworth, was crowned. The Ashby canal is beautiful, gentle, rural and hardly touching the small communities along the way. And so to Coventry, another city full of interest. The canal basin is just to the north of the ring road and a little haven of peace. Like excited children we have raced from museum to cathedral to art gallery. We have been moved by the spirit of reconciliation that embodies the new cathedral. We attended an evening service. The transport museum has us both enthralled for different reasons; we both especially liked the land speed record experience – sitting in the cockpit for the seven minutes of the drive in 1997 that went to over 700 mph! We have seen another Bollywood movie, just as much fun as the last one, we may be hooked.
The weather has been mixed and is starting to feel quite chilly in the mornings. One evening we had a thunderstorm, interesting experience from inside a metal box. We have lit our little stove and find the boat nice and warm in the evenings.

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