Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Shakespeare Country

1 lock and 3½ miles, Now moored above bridge 59, Stratford on Avon Canal

As it was a beautiful morning we took a stroll into the village to have a look at what the village had to offer. St Peter's church is the most prominent feature dating back to 1035. There has been a church on the site since 720 but this was a wooden structure which was replaced by stone in 1035. Various additions have been added in the 14th and 15th centuries. The village was also known for it's paper mill and watermill which I believe is still in working order but we failed to find it.

After lunch we slipped our moorings and headed off but we didn't get far as the Anglo Welsh boats were being moved around and blocked the aqueduct and the basin. It was only a short delay before we were under way again passing over the 30yd Wootton Wawen aqueduct. With only 1 lock, our progress was pretty steady but we did encounter 3 boats in the opposite direction even though we were told that the Wilmcote lock stoppage wouldn't be open for another day, so we are not sure what's happening yet.

Next point of interest was the 200yd long Edstone Aqueduct carrying the canal across a valley above meadows, road and railway. we were hoping for a train to pass beneath us while crossing but no luck, it went past 2 minutes later. The cast iron trough of the aqueduct only comes up as high as the gunnels of the boat so standing on the back deck there is nothing between you and the valley below, Whow!

We have moored up above bridge 59 so that we are able to visit Mary Arden's house tomorrow, too late in the day to visit today. However we did check out the railway station which for all intents and purposes is, as it was in the days of the Great Western Railway.

We noted that the Guide Friday bus from Stratford passes through here so that could be useful. Wandering past Mary Ardens cottage which is reputed to be the birthplace of Shakespeares mother, actually is incorrect as she was born 30 yards away at Glebe farm, we saw some of the workers dressed in period costume and the menagerie which included some unusual pigs, a Buzzard, a Hawk and an Owl. What variety they were I'm not sure as I was unable to read the sign's from a distance.

Due to ominous looking black rain clouds appearing on the horizon we decided it was time to head back to the boat. Moored just ahead of us is a waterways contractors boat that is full of trees that they have recently cut down. Unfortunately they are going to have to pump out the engine hole before they can move it again. It seems that they moored it next to an outflow which may have only been trickling out at the time. With the recent heavy rain the outflow has increased and poured water straight into the engine hole vent sinking it, Oh dear.

955 locks, 1319½ miles, 39 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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