After a week in Saltisford it was time to leave. The weather had changed for the better yesterday and we had enjoyed a sunny afternoon in Warwick as a result. Saturday dawned with a bright blue sky and after a quick trip to Sainsbury’s we paid our dues to Ian and set off on our return journey. It wasn’t quite as simple as all that, Ian had disappeared with the hirers of ‘Saltie II’ which belongs to the Saltisford Canal Trust so we waited outside the office until he returned. While we waited we spoke to Ken and Fiona who were just off on their boat ‘Aileen Rose’. A few minutes later Ian returned and we settled up with him, a lovely bloke dedicated to the arm and a credit to the charity. We returned to Phoenix III and had a brief conversation with the couple on nb Oakdale, the boat that we had been tied to since Sunday. They told us that they lived in Bristol and were taking Oakdale to Braunston to be blacked the following week. Sadly they are giving up boating and plan to sell the boat in September so we wish them well in whatever they do.
We set off and with some sadness left the Saltisford arm before turning right on to the Grand Union canal. When we reached the Cape locks we caught up with Ken and Fiona and quickly dropped through into the pound that would take us through Warwick and Leamington before we started the climb out of the Leam and Avon valley.
We enjoyed our trip on the sunny Saturday morning and when we eventually caught up with Saltie II, the crew pulled over and let us pass. Soon enough we were behind another narrowboat and we expected that they would be our companions as we started our climb from Radford to Long Itchington. In the end it didn’t work out like that because they caught up with another boat at Radford bottom lock and by the time they had gone through and another one had come down, Aileen Rose with Ken and Fiona on board had arrived behind us.
We spent the rest of the afternoon climbing our way out of the valley in the company of two lovely, friendly and very experienced boaters and that made the day very easy and enjoyable. We passed our lock mates between Bascote and Long Itchington where they tied up before we ourselves moored just beyond the Two Boats pub. After a sandwich and a drink we walked to the Co-op in the village before returning to the boat. We soaked up the last few of the sun’s rays and then retreated to the inside of Phoenix III where we devoured another of Susan’s delicious meals, this time an amazingly tasty piece of roast pork with accompanying veg.
Amazingly, we have been blessed with our second sunny bank holiday in the space of a month and so we made our way back into Warwick and wandered around the shops again. The weather forecast has now worsened for the coming days so we have had to make a decision on our travel plans. After a fairly short discussion we came to the conclusion that we would stay for the week in Saltisford and then cruise back to Braunston at the weekend when the forecast is set fair again. After returning to our boat we found Ian and confirmed that we could stay until Saturday as well as plugging our shoreline into the mains power supply.
So with our new plan in place we prepared to spend the week in Warwick and as a result there will be no more blog posts until we take Phoenix III back to Braunston.
We left our overnight mooring above the Fosse lock at eight o’clock and with no-one else around, made our way down to Radford Semele. As we skirted around the village we spotted a young deer running quickly across the adjacent field. On reaching the end of the field it jumped into the cut and then tried unsuccessfully to climb out on the towpath side. After a couple of attempts it gave up and managed to clamber up the bank on the off-side before disappearing into the hedgerow at the edge of the field.
We carried on with our cruise in the sunshine through Leamington and around Warwick through the two cape locks and into the Saltisford arm. After checking in with Ian the site manager, we moored alongside nb Oakdale and then walked into Warwick town centre. After a few hours wandering around the market place and enjoying a drink outside the local Wetherspoons, we returned to Phoenix III. We ate our evening meal at one of the site’s picnic tables and then spent the rest of our time sunning ourselves on the front deck until the sun finally disappeared for the night.