How to get there -
Junction 3 M6, head towards Bedworth, first left off motorway coming north, 3rd exit heading south, first left under M6 bridge, then first right, follow the road to the traffic lights, over the canal bridge turn left into Sutton Stop.
Get a map with driving directions to start
(enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site -
Sutton Stop, drive to the Greyhound pub and there you have the choice of the Oxford or Grand Union Canals.
The trip is roughly around twelve miles. I started my trip at 11.30am on Saturday, but I portaged past the lock at the beginning of the canal, then put in on the other side. As I started I had to pass barges moored on either side on a bend so I was wary of oncoming barges and if they do come you drive on the right on canals. I was told on the SOTP forum and they were right.
The beginning was fairly typical of an urban canal, the roar of the M6 can be heard for the first 2 miles and burnt patches left by kids burning the bins. Once you have left Sowe Common and passed the pub on the right, the feeling transforms into countryside and after a steady paddle I came to the M69 bridge. At Ansty again moored boats but I had no problems and the people on the berges going past were nice and engaged me in conversation.
I pulled the canoe out at Ansty to have a coffee and a rest, 10 minutes later I was off again. The weather now started to play its part, the forecast was not good. Up till now it had been a bit cloudy and breezy. Past Ansty golf course I was out in the middle of nowhere but heard road noise from the M6 again. Once I had gone under the bridge the wind was in my face. It decided to rain and blow hard. At one point I went backwards but battled on.
Before it got to the point where I couldn't carry on and I nearly stopped, the weather died down and I carried on to Stretton wharf for another coffee at around 5.30pm and talked to a lovely man who moors his boat there. I know the area well as i grew up in Brinklow just down the road.
Rested and refreshed I paddled off with pain in my shoulder from going backwards earlier. I was looking for somewhere to camp on the towpath, it wasn't until 7pm i finally decided to camp at the entrance to Brinklow marina in a little wooded area. Just as I got the tent up the heavens opened and I stayed in my tent until 9.45am, Managed to get the camp down in the rain, set off a few miles to Newbold where a tunnel is. I recommend a light or torch. As I didn't have one I managed to keep up with a boat much to the amusement of the ladies on a day trip through the tunnel.
On the other side of the tunnel I went past Newbold quarry to Brownsover picnic site, once more boats on the either side so be careful as I had to wait for boats to pass. I managed a coffee at Clifton wharf, before the last leg of the journey to Hillmorton wharf.
Just before I got to Hillmorton Wharf there is Hillmorton locks. I got out and dragged my canoe on the grass verge as I didn't have my trolley, 3 locks in total then half a mile to the wharf by 3pm. I suggest getting out at the Hungry Horse pub not the moorings as I did and my friend that picked me up was told in no uncertain terms that he wasn't allowed to park there by one of the owners.
In all a full days tough paddle but an easy and pleasant two days which I recommend as the scenery out of town is beautiful. There is no official camping site but I had no problems camping next to the towpath and I left it as I found it. All in all really enjoyable and great for my first paddle on a canal.