Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Best Urban Mooring Award and nominations for village moorings

Yes, the phone lines are closed although you may still be charged.  The people have spoke and they have largely agreed with me and Kath (there’s a first!). So the Herbie Award for Best Urban Mooring 2012 goes to . . .
Cambrian Wharf Birmingham
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A well deserved and popular win.
And so we forge onwards with the nominations for the next Award. Best Rural or Village Mooring
Bear in mind that like our other awards, this can only go to somewhere we have been on Herbie this year.  That in effect means somewhere on the Warwickshire ring, the Stratford canal or the South Oxford.  And of course our home patch between Foxton and Braunston.
Let’s see.  We’ve moored at or very near Norton Junction, Foxton, Welford, Braunston, Long Itchington, Napton, Cropredy, Aynho (wharf), Enslow, Thrupp, Preston Bagot,  Curdworth, Alvecote, Hawkesbury, Ansty and probably a couple more I can’t recall, plus a few “out in the sticks”.  There are some lovely remote moorings on the South Oxford summit, and on the Coventry canal like this one
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but I think I’ll stick to the villages this time.
I’m ruling out a favourite place. Hawkesbury.  You have to stop at Hawkesbury, you’d be mad not to. Nice grassy moorings on the N Oxford canal side, an attractive canalscape, and the rather wonderful Greyhound pub. So wonderful in fact that I didn’t find time to take a photo of the moorings. Anyway, I’m not sure it’s rural or a village, just the outskirts of Coventry. 
So let’s examine our criteria for judging.
A good village mooring would ideally be well maintained, close to the shop and/or pub, and perhaps handy for public transport.  As with all moorings, some nice bank to sit out on and proper mooring rings are a real bonus.
We had a great time at Long Itchington moored next to Jim and Sarah on Chertsey, but to be fair, it’s a long trek into the village.  At Aynho we moored next to Bones and shared a good evening at the pub, but the village is miles away and the moorings are only OK.  I think for the top three we’’ll go for:
1. Braunston,
- also nominated in 2011.  Braunston has a lot of visitor moorings, although often not as many as there are visiting boats.  This year at the Rally, we had to moor quite a long way out.
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Even then, as Grace demonstrates here, there is a good footpath up to the village from “round the back”
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Braunston has plenty to offer the boater, not least the numerous chandleries, and a good butcher, cheap meals at the Boathouse pub and now a “reborn” Admiral Nelson.
2. Thrupp
A little gem this one.  Thrupp is for many the last stop before Oxford if heading South. The visitor moorings are overseen and beautifully maintained by the Thrupp Canal Cruising Club and they let you stay for a decent while.  A week I think.  A nice grassy bank, mooring rings, a good pub and Annie’s Tea Room.  BW, sorry, CRT services too.
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The little road you see here is only a service road, and very quiet.  The only disturbance we had was a certain Mr Maffi thrusting himself upon us and then dragging us down to the pub, and a certain Mortimer Bones peering into the engine bay while I was hard at work changing the oil.
3. Curdworth
Curdworth is often reckoned to be the first safe overnight stop heading out of Birmingham on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal.  After all the locks you have to do from the Centre of Brum, you’re glad to see it. That’s why it gets a nomination.  It’s in the right place when you need it. Looking on the map in the Nicholson’s guide it looks although the whole area is very built up and urban, but Curdworth is actually a sleepy commuter village and I imagine fairly up  market.  Twice now we have moored in the cutting  near the short tunnel. 
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Very quiet, and handy for the village where the Beehive pub does remarkably good value grub and cheap beer.
I have a feeling that this list might be contentious, because I have left out some good places.  The winner will have to be very good won’t it.  Which do you fancy?
As well as a result, tomorrow well have  nominations for Best Cruise on Someone Else’s Boat – we have some absolute crackers.


Anonymous said...

Hurrah for Cambrian Wharf!

I couldn't think of my favourite country mooring - do'h!

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

Leo No2 said...

My vote goes for Thrupp - nice people, good pubs, excellent afternoon tea and a clean well tended mooring with all the services - what more could you ask for?

Adam said...

Just like it had to be Birmingham, it's got to be Thrupp, hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

Never Braunston - until, that is, they find some pride in the state of the towpath!