Thursday 26th May; Brownsover to Braunston
A motor chugged by at 5.30 towing butty Gosport (that’s all Dave could see through the chink in the curtain), though it didn’t keep us awake for long. Somewhat later I popped down to Tesco for a newspaper and to dispose of some recycling, only to find that the bins have been replaced, as in our local Tesco in Devon, by a car-wash. Very annoying. We stopped off to use the sanitary station at the park, and also to dispose of a rubbish bag chucked by some idiot boater into the trees the other side of Newbold Tunnel. Most of the contents had dropped out and drifted in under the offside vegetation so there was room in the bag to put our empty paint tins. It’s hard to see in this photo but both these boats are called Harlequin. There are 28 Harlequins registered with CRT; I wonder what the odds are of two mooring at the same location at the same time?
We cruised on to Hillmorton in cloudy and cool conditions, looking forward to doing a bit of work! At the middle locks repairs are progressing on the towpath side. The coping stones had started to lean in and some boats were getting their gunwales caught as the lock filled. Another course of stone still has to be removed before they relay it all.
The stone and bricks are being cleaned up for re-use by this patient chap. It looks like a long job. The stone blocks have all been numbered to ensure they are refitted in the right place.
There is a crack opening up at the top lock too but although it will be repaired it is less urgent and they shouldn’t need to close the lock.
The canal was very quiet once we had left the locks and we stopped for lunch at the first stretch of piling past the motorway bridge. We were so cold that I made some soup for lunch to warm us up. But soon after we got moving again the cloud began to lift and by the time we approached Braunston the sun was breaking through.
It is quite hard to get a shot at this time of year that clearly shows the ridge-and-furrow fields along the canal. The grass is quite long and lush but you could see the position of the furrows when the cattle walked along them to graze.
We stopped out in the country, about half a mile from the first visitor moorings, to be sure of a quiet spot as Dave has some painting to do. Good decision as it turned out – there was no space at all on the approach to the junction, and although we could have moored outside the marina it was much quieter where we were. Dave got on with his painting and Meg and I did a circular walk via the field path to the church, up to the butcher and back down Nibbetts Lane and past the marina. I do love the artwork on this oil tank at the top of the lane.
I stopped to talk to a couple on a hire boat who turned out to live a few miles from us in Devon. They had been to the Boathouse for lunch and been extremely disappointed with the food so were about to try the Gongoozler’s Rest. Back at the boat, the swan family were visiting. Meg got thoroughly hissed at.
It was a lovely warm evening in a beautiful spot. I had the side hatch open and listened to the birds as I made a pie for tea.
3 locks, 8 and a half miles.