Tuesday 26th June; Braunston to Calcutt Marina, then home
The sun was strong enough for us to apply sun cream at 8 o’clock this morning!
We were off at 8.30. We needed the Braunston facilities – sanitary station, shops and chandlery - so we waited for a few boats to come away from Braunston first. We had moored far enough out to take the traditional snap as we approached the village.
The cattle were flicking their ears and vigorously deploying their tails as fly-whisks. As we noticed yesterday, they were not in the shade – we have had to watch out for biting flies in some of the shadier patches so perhaps they are too.
There were two boats on the facilities mooring, but a convenient spot was vacant nearby for us to wait. I walked up to the village as we needed some milk and bread, and went up the main road, through the field path that comes out opposite the church, and past the old windmill, no longer working as I suppose is rather obvious.
I popped into Midland Chandlers on the way back. We often find our fenders are in the wrong place on an uneven mooring, so I bought a couple of the plastic fender hangers, which you can position where they are needed. You can sometimes bang in a mooring pin to hang a fender from, but that is a nuisance and not always possible anyway. They are a glaring white so we will have to think about painting them to match the boat. Eventually the water point cleared and we moved down to empty a cassette (it’s a long walk to do this at the marina) and dispose of rubbish. We topped up the water too, using one of the two convenient taps by the mooring – last time we used this point you needed your wellies, as the tap leaked badly and was surrounded by mud and puddles. It’s looking rather good now, as long as you ignore the overflowing rubbish bins.
Unless you are outside the chandlery, the water point is about the only place to get a picture of both junction bridges at once.
We turned right towards Napton Junction, and looking back through the other bridge could see that there are plenty of visiting boats still at Braunston. It must have been quite a game for boats just trying to pass through over the weekend!
We didn’t want to go into the marina till the afternoon, and would normally have moored in the Flecknoe area till after lunch. But that is very short of shady spots. We have not stopped along the Lower Shuckburgh stretch before; the banks are mostly overgrown, and nearer the junction there are two bridges carrying the busy A road over the canal and it can be noisy. But Dave remembered the location of a shady patch between the bridges so we stopped there for a few hours.
We didn’t sit out on the towpath, as there were lots of small flies - luckily not the biting sort! They didn’t come in through the open side hatch so we were cool enough inside. The neighbours were keeping cool too.
Later on we bimbled slowly down to moor above Calcutt locks, and Dave nipped across to the office to sort out our mooring details so we could go down the locks and straight into the marina. On our way we moved across to let this enormous craft go by.
She came back to the locks while we were still moored above. Although she crept by, it pulled us away from the bank so fiercely that I felt I had to go out and check the mooring pins. Dave returned, and we followed her down the locks. The steerer was having a lesson from Willow Wren, and it was her first time at the wheel; she had just been to the junction to turn, and was then going further down to turn again before coming back for another go at the locks. I would say she was making stately progress, but the bow was pretty blunt and the boat lacked the elegant lines necessary for stateliness.
6 miles 3 locks 2 junctions
On Wednesday Dave left early for the long walk into Napton to catch the bus to Leamington, for the train journey to Wootton Wawen. Unfortunately the bus timetables have changed, and after a wait of nearly an hour for the next bus, all his connections were missed so his journey was tedious as well as hot. The upside (for him) was that I had finished all the cleaning and packing before he got back! At least the rush hour was clearing by the time we left for home.
We are hoping to manage a short trip out in the next few weeks.