Wednesday 18th July; Flecknoe to Braunston tunnel (east end)
We have had no luck with a signal for days, so this blog is getting very behind.
There were reminders that we are on one of the busiest parts of the network from about 7 this morning. We were ready to leave at about 9.30, but as soon as we had pulled pins (or unhooked hooks, in this case), more boats appeared. Eventually the canal was clear enough for us to go.
The busiest parts of the moorings, nearer to bridge 102, had plenty of space by now but many boats were staying put, with washing going out to dry. Once more the weather was warm but without too strong a sun as we made our way towards Braunston. Of course, when we met a boat it was at the very junction so we ended up reversing a little way to let them come through.
We moored shortly before the Stop House water point, and went up to the village for some shopping. It’s a pleasant walk up the hill from the bridge and Meg enjoys it too. The grass is as dry as everywhere else but there are wild flowers in bloom, like this pretty mallow.
On the way back I popped into AJ Canopies at the marina. The canopy guy bungees on our very ancient pram cover (which is just a flat sheet to cover the rear deck when we are away) have all failed over the years and been replaced by ones that aren’t quite the right length. When we leave the boat, unless we prop the canopy up on a folding chair with a bucket on the seat, any rain pools instead of running off and breaks even more of them. AJ don’t use the ones we think are the originals, but now I have some shock cord to make some ourselves.
We had lunch and set off for the locks. Two boats were just emerging from the bottom lock, but even better a boat appeared behind us so we had company. As well as the water saving in this dry weather, it made the locks a great deal quicker to work. NB Concorde was on the way back to Weltonfield Marina. These gates are heavy! But the owners have a similar outlook on life to us and we work the locks exactly the same way, so we had a very enjoyable ascent together.
With boats coming down too it wasn’t long before we were approaching the tunnel. It’s double-width, and we were through in about 20 minutes without meeting another boat. We moored in peace and quiet between bridges 6 and 7, beneath the trees.
There were some rough steps up the bank, so up I went expecting to see a field or woodland. Imagine my surprise to find a half-built housing estate! It must be right on the edge of Daventry. The builders weren’t too noisy so apart from a larger number than expected of walkers, runners and cyclists on the towpath it was still pretty peaceful.
We Dave made a start on making new canopy guys for the pram cover.
6 locks, 6½ miles, Braunston tunnel