Thursday, 20 July 2017

Hatton Station (and a little bit of culture)

Our mooring at Hatton station – no boats in sight either way – just as we like it

It was forecast to be hot and muggy on Wednesday afternoon which meant we wouldn’t be doing a lot because of Buddy.  So, to make the most of being moored by a station, Buddy and I took the train to Warwick for the morning.  He was as excited as ever when we got to the station.  There are several reasons he gets excited: he knows we meet people from the train sometimes, especially Karen; he seems to really enjoy train journeys; trains have carpets which are great for rolling on and most of all trains have crumbs.

No carpet on this train but he’s found some crumbs!

We walked to the castle first but decided not to visit as it was full of school parties.  The best view of the castle is from the river Avon that runs through the town.  It is the same river Avon that we were on in May and June this year on the navigable section between Stratford and Tewkesbury.  There are ambitious plans afoot to continue the navigation up to Warwick and form a link with the Grand Union canal.

One of the pleasant things about Warwick is that there are lots of little green squares which are really peaceful.

Sitting in one of the green spaces

Although the town walls were removed long ago, the original three gates are still in place.  The east and west gates have early Victorian pillar boxes by them.  These are quite celebrated as they were made in the style of Doric columns.

One of the Doric styled Victorian pillar boxes

The east gate

West gate under repair – pillar box handy for leaning equipment against
The north gate has a church attached to it (apparently the gate was rebuilt in the early 1400s when the church was built)

Like many old towns, there is a mixture of old and contemporary housing.  The houses known as Leycester (old spelling of Leicester) Hospital date from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and were originally halls for local guildsmen.  They were obtained by the Earl of Leicester in 1571 who endowed them as homes for retired servicemen and their wives and they are still used for the same purposes today.

The houses known as Leycester Hospital (apparently there was never anything medical or hospital-like here)

Some other old buildings

The streets are a mixture of narrow alleys and broad market squares

Feeling quite continental

On our way back to the station we passed an old gasworks built in 1822 that has now been converted to flats.  It was one of the first gasworks to be built in the world and the two octagonal towers housed the gasometers – the towers are original as they were built, with false windows, to hide the gasometers.

Gasworks opposite the original end of the Saltisford arm

The Saltisford arm is a branch off the Grand Union canal that used to run into Warwick - the first section is still in water and used for moorings and a boat yard.  One of our earlier blog entries covered the original route and some of the old structures that can still be found amongst the modern buildings.

The last thing we saw was a door from an original cell from the county gaol built in 1695.  This part of the wall still exists, hence this door, but the rest of the building has been long demolished.

Judith, my sister, and Nigel popped over to the boat during the afternoon so we had a catch up over tea and made plans for going camping in the Yorkshire Dales in August.

One of our tomato plants bearing fruit for our daily salads

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Hatton Station (too hot for Buddy again)

As we want to go down the Hatton flight after Karen comes home from work on Thursday, Buddy and moved a little closer to the top of the fight by having a mini cruise to Hatton station on Tuesday.  No locks for a change but one tunnel.

I forgot how wet Shrewley tunnel is, even in this dry weather the water was gushing through the roof in places.  Fortunately, I avoided most of the water but the boat and I were still pretty wet when we came out.  I know I always put a picture of Shrewley tunnel in the blog when we go through but the offset horse tunnel still fascinates me.

Shrewley tunnel with its separate tunnel for horses and workmen painting the railings (actually one was a workgirl)

This section of the Grand Union – between the locks at Knowle and Hatton varies between being in deep cuttings or on high embankments which makes for a pleasant and varied journey.  The cuttings are always welcome when the sun is beating down.

Cutting coming into Rowington

Rowington embankment

Mooring at Hatton station was easy when we were last here in January as there was only one other ccer there.  When we arrived on Tuesday there were two boats moored so I went to get in behind the furthest one.  It wasn’t possible as the sides were too shallow.  It seemed that the only place to moor near the station was where the two boats were.  I kept trying for a few hundred yards and eventually found a spot where I could get the boat in to the bank.  As it happened it was actually a much better spot – more open and away from the houses by the station.

Moored in the sun at Hatton station with a shady spot for the dog

Although we walked a bit during the day, Buddy wasn’t really bothered and much preferred laying outside the boat.  Most of his time was spent in the shade of the trees whilst I sat outside and read.  

It was a good spot to moor as there were plenty of butterflies around including lots of freshly emerged Gatekeepers.  I have noticed a lot of Red Admirals around at the moment too, so maybe their next brood, which emerges when the fruit is on the ground, will be really plentiful.  Red Admirals in the late autumn sun, getting tipsy on rotten fruit, always remind me that winter is nearly here but also that summer hasn’t quite gone!  Just sitting outside the boat I also saw some Green Veined Whites, Large Whites, Small Whites, Large and Small Skippers, Commas, Small Tortoiseshells, Speckled Woods, Meadow Browns and some tatty Ringlets.

A family of buzzards spent a lot of the afternoon soaring and mewing above the boat and a couple of kingfishers flew past as well.  Now we are back on the Warwickshire section of the Grand Union I would expect to see kingfishers every day now.  When it’s hot Buddy still insists on laying on the dustiest bit of the towpath so walkers and cyclists have to go around him.  I feel it’s fair as he obviously finds it cooler and the towpath is plenty wide enough to get past him.  Of course, if the path is too narrow then I don’t let him do it and make him lay elsewhere.

Dead to the world – if it wasn’t hot I would have had to stop him pestering the children

In the evening Karen and I went to Stratford to play bridge.  I think we will stay put on Wednesday and maybe take the train to Warwick to have a look around.  Even though it’s only three miles or so away it wouldn’t be fair on the dog to walk as the forecast says it’s meant to be even hotter.

Signpost where we were moored on Monday night – ensured we were going the right way towards Warwick 😉
Peaceful mooring for Tuesday night