Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Back to Calcutt

Friday 12th September
1 lovely mooring all oaks wood
At All Oaks Wood it was a cool and grey start again, with several boats on the move.  We have been surprised by how quiet the canals have been this trip, until we reached the North Oxford.  From a distance, this bridge looks as though a big chunk is missing from the parapet.
2 has the bridge parapet got a gap
We knew the green ‘gap’ would be ivy but got quite close before we could be sure!  We made our way to Rugby through the Newbold tunnel – now only one feeble light left illuminated at the Rugby end – and picked our way through the Rugby moorings, which were busy as usual and made more tricky by a boat that stopped mid-channel for a conversation with one of the moorers.  Hillmorton was busy too, and there was plenty of time to empty a cassette and dispose of rubbish while we waited for locks. 
5 hillmorton
We’ve always been intrigued by the lines of poetry, trying to work out the order they should be read in.   Well here it is -
6 locklines explanation
So the words on the Hillmorton gates aren’t consecutive or even completely accurate (not to mention ‘doors’ which we’ve all grumbled about).  The words on the Farmer’s Bridge lock, which we passed last week, are quite indistinct now.  We stopped a little way further on for lunch in a spot with no radio reception and very poor internet signal.  We keep telling ourselves to record these places (and the good spots too, of course) but so far haven’t remembered to do it.  We had a slow time of it after lunch.  The first hold-up was as we approached the Barby moorings, where we waited for this ‘sandwich’ to come through – a CRT work boat with butty both before and behind!
9 butty motor and butty
This is what was in the first butty – new gates for the Hillmorton top locks, which will be done one at a time in the next couple of weeks.
8 new lock gates for hillmorton
After them, we passed Spey towing Betelgeuse.  You can read more about them here http://severnerwillow.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/betelgeuse-bolinder-butty-boating/ which I spotted via another blog.
10 spey and betelgeuse
Then we gradually found ourselves catching up a real slow-coach.  The canal winds about, and there were quite a few moored boats, but the only boat we have ever seen going that slow was a first-timer who pulled over to let other boats past.  We thought he’d be bound to be stopping at Braunston, but no – though there was plenty of room he clearly didn’t want company and eventually pulled in out in the country.  So I had plenty of time to get the camera level for a snap of Braunston Turn.
12 braunston turn
We carried on to a favourite spot near Flecknoe Bridge.  Lots of others had the same idea – there were boats every 50 yards for a long way, in fact the next morning we saw they went all the way to Lower Shuckburgh.  Anyway, we had a relaxing early evening watching the hire boats going back to base, and out as well towards Braunston, from Napton, Calcutt and Wigrams Turn, before we tried, and failed once again, to get a signal to catch up with blog posting!
15 miles 3 locks
Saturday 13th September
The final couple of Calcutt hire boats went by very early, clearly aiming for the 10am handover deadline.  We waited till later before tootling down there ourselves, where we were able to book our winter berth on the mooring we left nearly 3 weeks ago.  Apart from a long trek to the showers and Elsan point it is an excellent mooring spot, with water and power, quiet yet close to the car parking, and good for dogs.  We have a few things to be done at home now but hope to be out in early October for a while.
3 miles 3 locks