Sunday 13 July 2014

Big Trip Home Day 2–Slow going from Braunston

We left Braunston a 8:50am this morning and crept past Yarwood. Lesley and Joe appeared at the side and rear doors as we got along side and waved us off wishing us well on our journey.  Hope Yarwood's work is as you wish Joe and Lesley.  You'll have to show us the changes one day.

We cruised slowly past the Braunston stop house as a boat had pulled out in front of us, moved 200m and pulled back in just to the right of this picture.

Braunston stop house
At Braunston turn we found it was tight as a hire boat with what sounded like Polish crew on board came towards us and turned right at the double bridge leaving little room for us to squeeze past. I managed to hold AmyJo back until they completed their turn then proceeded slowly round continuing on the Oxford canal.  We asked them if they were being followed and was told no, only to be confronted with an on coming boat just round the corner.  Perhaps they did not understand our request.

Not even looking where he was going

Moored boats for quite a distance out of Braunston
The going was very slow for the first couple of hours due to all the boats moored up on the way out of Braunston, clearly everyone was out enjoying the weekend.  We lost at least two hours running at tick over as we passed the boats not wanting to go too fast in case we pulled a mooring pin.

Once clear of moored boats we managed to make some good ground though slowing frequently for the occasional moored boat of which there were several.  By now a light drizzle had set in so the rear doors and hatch were pulled to and the boatman’s hat and coat were pressed into service.

Ominous grey clouds herald drizzle that started after this was taken
We stopped briefly at the canal shop just before Hillmorton to stock up with a few toilet essentials, a tiller pin tassel and replace a couple of go-kart fenders I lost cos I tied them on in a hurry (lesson to self - tie em proper!)

By lunchtime we made Hillmorton locks and in the middle lock we met briefly with the new owners of nb Caxton.  Whilst they ascended and we descended we managed to exchange pleasantries then we wished them well on their trip.  

I know that boat

Its Caxton and her new owners with Sue at the helm and George lock wheeling

Later a passing boat called out that they had read our blog whilst eating breakfast.  God we have a reader Chris, so better smarten up our act and spelling!

Hillmorton lock beams have been carved with some short phrases. Not sure if it in keeping with the canal history but looks interesting none the less.  These single boat locks come in 3 sets of pairs making it possible for boats to pass each other in opposite directions whilst locking at the same time as happened when we met Caxton.  They in one lock and us in the other beside them.

After that we made better time towards Rugby.  We knew we were headed that way by the artwork present in the bridge ‘oles, some of it quite good.  Shame the graffiti taggers had to spoil it.

Guess where we are headed

We had intended to stop to shop in Rugby but all the mooring spaces were spoken for so we continued on.  We have plenty of food aboard for now so no urgency.  By now we had caught up to a Rose Narrowboats day boat full of young things clearly enjoying the day out.  It was very apparent they were also enjoying a drink or four as their manoeuvres were becoming more and more erratic and slower as time went on.  We followed them at tick over for several miles until just as we reached the arm that was the old route of the Oxford canal they decided to wind just as a boat coming the other way and us behind them were going converging on them.  Both the other boat and ourselves gave them plenty of space as they ricocheted of both banks in their attempt to turn.  Thank god they missed us as they came past us,  I'm not even sure the helmsman was even aware we were there as he could barely hold his beer can without spilling it!  Should we have reported that to the hire boat company or just let them all enjoy their outing?

Next was Newbold tunnel, we knew this 189m long tunnel had been lit with different coloured flood lights at one time but sadly now only one light remains working.  It must have looked ethereal when they were all lit.

The one remaining light at the end of the tunnel
 (sorry could not resist)
We carried on past Brinklow Marina but time was now against us as it was 3.30pm.  We knew we could not make Hawkesbury junction as all the moorings would be taken time we got there so we found a lovely quiet spot under the shade of some beautiful trees in All Oaks Wood just short of Brinklow village and spent a hour or two cat napping in the front of the boat.  Apart from the occasional car not a sound can we hear other than the wildlife hidden in the woods.

Our mooring for the night well away from the maddening crowds
 This spot is so peaceful and the sun shining though the trees left these lovely dappled highlights on the water.  So far this is one of our favourites spots of the trip.

 Our route so far today

Total distance:14.34 miles Elapsed time:6h50m51s Locks:3Bridges:42 Tunnels:1
Average speed:2.09 mph (2.53 lock/mph)

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