Welcome to Shell-Bell.co.uk

This is the blog of Norwyn & Sheila aboard their narrowboat Shell Bell.

August 12th 2011 A nice evening

We set off from Mercia marina around 11:30. It wasn’t a good start; cap’n Norwyn left 1st mate Sheila on the mooring pontoon !!!! Sheila made her way round the marina and got back on board at the bridge at the marina entrance. Then what do you know it started to rain !!!. We had a steady cruise to Branston and found a mooring before the pub. We had a nice evening in the pub with Adele Banks and Bob morrell who are responsible for Shell Bell’s new paint job. Thanks again guys.

August 11th 2012 Back on Board

We set off from Suffolk around 11:30 for the three hour drive to Willington. The roads were quiet so it was an uneventful trip up and we arrived around 14:30. After unloading the car we set about making Shell Bell ship shape for the start of our cruise tomorrow. The new coach lines and Name look great; we are really pleased. Our plan is to set off in the morning and head for the Shropshire union to start with.

August 8th 2012 Shell Bell gets her coach lines

Well it has been a while since our last blog. We have just been catching up with things at home, Norwyn has done a lot of fishing on the rivers Waveney and Yare with some success. Shell Bell has finally had her coach lines and name added to the new paint job and looks really nice. We are planning to go back on board Saturday and we will leave the marina Sunday for a leisurly cruise up the Shroppie to Chester the up the Llangollen with Ben and Claire at the end of August.

Shell Bells new lines and name

Shell Bell before her new paint job

July 13th The river opened

Friday the 13th wasn’t unlucky for us. At 08.30 this morning two canal river trust guys informed us the river was open but said if you are going to go make it sooner rather than later as the forecast is for more rain and it may close again. Norwyn knocked on John and Nancy’s boat to inform them of the news. Soon we were all on the move, there were no queues at any of the locks so we were soon on the river. it was running fast,a bit hairy but ok. Once through Wychnor lock it was back on the canal. The queue this end was huge with lots of boats waiting to get onto the river. Some have been held up for a week. Well it was straight forward after that and we had a steady run back to Mercia Marina. We then packed up and headed off on our journey home to Suffolk. Oh I forgot to mention it RAINED all day lovely.

July 12th 2012 Waiting in Alrewas

We set off from Fazeley this morning in glorious sunshine at last. We made a quick stop at the service block to empty the loo tank and top up with water in case we get stuck at Alrewas for a couple of days due to the river section being in flood. We arrived at Fradley Junction around 13:30 and moored on the Coventry Canal just short of the actual junction and walked to the junction to see how busy it was. As we walked up to the first lock who should be exiting but John and Nancy on narrowboat Perfect Harmoney. They moor in mercia marina one pontoon up from us. A bit of chat and we decided we would both go through and moor before common lock. John and Nancy went on the water point and we walked back to get Shell Bell and bring her through the locks. Once through the first lock we came across Perfect Harmoney moored in the small pound between locks. After a quick chat John explained that Nancy had slipped and hurt her leg whilst they watered so they would moor in the pound overnight. We moored just short of common lock with a view  to walking into Alrewas to check out the moorings. But John beat us to it and came back and said there were moorings at Bagnall lock so both crews set to and we are now all moored at Bagnall lock and we wait for the river section to open. There appears to be a lot of rumours about the number of boats that are backed up waiting. In truth there are not that many.  Fradley is full but they are not double breasted. Alrewas has a couple of spaces and there are no boats moored on either the water point or indeed the lock moorings. The hire boats must be feeling it. There are six of the classic fleet from willington and two canalboat hire from Sawley here in Alrewas and I noticed an Aqua hire boat in Fradley.

The water level indicator it needs to be in the amber or green

July 11th Will the river be open

This morning it was wet again and not only wet but cold as well. We had decided that we would have a long day and try and get to Fazeley Junction. Setting off in the rain and cold we arrived at the top lock at Atherstone at 11:30.  There was a small queue so we opted to use the service block and top up with water and dump some rubbish. By now the persistant rain had turned to showers. It took  about 3 hours to clear the eleven locks in the flight. By now the weather had changed completely, the sun was out although there was quite a stiff breeze, We made good progress and we cleared the Glascote locks at Tamworth and soon we were moored at Fazeley Junction. We are now only 11 miles from Fradley Junction where we turn for the final leg of our journey  into Willington.  The one big question is – will the river section at Alrewas be open tomorrow? If not will we be able to moor at Fradley or Alrewas or is it all jam packed?

Today  13 miles    13 locks

July 10th 2012 Beyond Nuneaton

Well, two days to blog as yesterday we had no internet connection. That said it was the only bad thing about yesterday, the weather was sunny and warm and made for an enjoyable cruising day. We left our moorings around 09:30 and we were soon at Braunston turn were we took the left turn and joined the Oxford canal. We had to wait to use the service point as a boat was already topping his water tank, it took a while but as he moved off another boater pointed out that the other water tap had far more pressure and it sure did. We were soon topped up and on our way. The nice weather continued as we went through the three locks that make up the Hillmorton flight and we eventually moored at Hungerfield. It was a nice evening and Norwyn spent it fishing, catching a few decent roach and bream to round off a really nice day.

View from our mooring at Hungerfield

What a difference a day makes.  Although dry this morning it was noticeably cooler as we left our moorings at Hungerfield. We made steady progress and had only the odd shower.We stopped for diesel at Rose narrowboats at Stretton under Fosse. Around noon we arrived at Hawksbury Junction with its stop lock and two very tight turns. There was a queue for the lock but we were soon in and our exit was now impeded by a 60ft Anglo Welsh hire boat that didnt appear to know what direction to go in, so the tight turn got even tighter and although we missed him it had impeded our next turn onto the Coventry canal and we nearly ended up wedged across the cut. But as they say inches make a difference and it certainly did this time because we had about an inch to spare and Shell Bell swung round. We moored for lunch soon after and whilst stopped it started to rain and this carried on for most of the afternoon. We passed Marston junction which is the entrance to the Ashby canal and carried on through Nuneaton and have moored just through at woods bridge. We should be back at Mercia Marina sometime over the weekend but at the moment the river section just through Alrewas is closed due to high water levels, so we will have to keep an eye on the situation.

pulling in for diesel at Rose narrow boats

July 8th 2012 Sunshine hooray

What a glorious day, well most of it, the odd dark cloud did appear but for the most part it was sunshine all the way. Another busy day today. Within a quarter of a mile of setting off we came to our first lock of the day at Radford.  Then onto the three Fosse locks. Although double locks we didn’t have another boat with us. Once through we quickly came to the five Bascote locks two of which are in a staircase formation. Leaving the staircase lock we new it wouldn’t be long before we came to the 2 Itchington locks quickly followed by the 8 Stockton locks. As we reached the first of the Itchington locks we were joined by NB Samuel Fletcher who would stay with us through these ten locks and also through the final 3 locks of the day at Calcutt. Once through Calcutt locks we said our farewells as they would be going into their marina at Napton junction whilst we would be turning left and heading for Braunston. We moored for the night about two miles outside Braunston in lovely countryside. Whilst travelling today we had a call from our youngest son Ben to say that he and his girlfriend Claire had completed the London 10k run which they did for the Macmillan charity.  Well done guys. Donations can be made at      www.justgiving.com/claireAndBen88

Today 11 miles       23 locks

entering a lock

view from our mooring this evening





July 7th 2012 The Hatton Flight

No rain this morning when we set off.  It was a short trip to the top of Hatton Flight, where we stopped and filled the water tank and dumped some rubbish. Then it was time to get going. As we pulled into the lock another boat appeared in view and as these are double locks we waited. It was NB Surveyor, a hire boat with a really nice family on board who were over on holiday from Florida. So we set off through the 21 locks. After a little over 3 hours we reached the bottom lock and said our farewells to our locking companions. Then we moored for a much needed lunch. After lunch we set off through two more locks and on through Warwick and Leamington Spa, only stopping briefly at a large Tesco store to take on provisions. We have moored for the night just through Leamington Spa and about half a mile from the first of what will be another busy lock day tomorrow.


Today 7 miles    23 locks


The first of 21 locks

NB Surveryor leaves the lock with her crew closing the lock

July 6th 2012 The weather man was spot on

The forecast was rain and by god they were right . It tipped down most of the day. It was already raining when we set off, after about a couple of miles we made a quick stop at Waring’s green boatyard to empty the loo tank. Then it was onto the Lapworth flight of locks. We did 20 locks before taking the side channel and heading onto the Grand Union canal. Onward in the rain we went, through Shrewley tunnel and we have moored about half a mile from the Hatton flight of locks which is our challenge for tomorrow. Sorry no pics today, far too wet.


Today 14 miles    20 locks      1 tunnel