Monday Oct 12th - Hilmorton
Sunday October 11th – Long Buckby to Braunston
We left Buckby Wharf after breakfast and almost immediately arrived at Norton Junction (we have been here several times before!) and this time we turned left. It was a bit overcast but at least it wasn’t raining! It wasn’t long before we reached Braunston Tunnel. Once again we were amazed how many narrowboats were out and about, having seen so few for the last three months whilst we were in East Anglia. We were following one boat and there was another one following us and we passed two boats coming the other way whilst we were going through the tunnel! I had the umbrella at the ready all the way through the tunnel as they are often damp, drippy places but this time it wasn’t required at all as it was perfectly dry all the way through.
Almost as soon as you emerge from the tunnel there is a flight of locks waiting for you. We reached the top lock and saw that there were two boats coming up. The boat that we had followed through the tunnel had moored up and we pulled in behind them. We had a quick chat with her crew and they agreed to share the locks with us – its always nice to have someone else to help on these big, double locks. With the work halved it took us no time at all to get down the flight, helped by the fact that there were boats coming up the flight too, which meant that all the locks were set in our favour. We finally came out of the bottom lock and there was Braunston ahead. It is always busy at Braunston – there are boats everywhere! There is a hire boat company immediately after the bottom lock and their boats are moored two abreast in places, which makes the channel quite narrow, especially when there are other boats coming up the canal towards you – it was all very tight! We saw one space on the moorings but thought we would go on a bit further to see if we could find one nearer the entrance to the marina but there was no space left, so we turned the boat in the marina entrance and went back to the one we had spotted on the way past. We soon had the boat securely moored then we went off to explore! Clive had arranged to take the canopy for the cratch into AJ Canopies on Monday morning. We knew they were based at Braunston but not exactly where so we went on a bit of a reccie. We soon found their office and noted that they opened at 10.00am – oh goody, that means we can have a lie in!
We decided on the way back to the boat that we would go for a walk up into Braunston village to The Old Plough Inn for a drink and a bite to eat – it being lunchtime! We have been in this pub before, in fact several times! The last time we were there was last November– I actually finished writing my Christmas cards and stuck all the stamps on in the bar then posted them at the Post Office in the village! We had a bowl of soup and a drink then headed back down to the boat. Unfortunately there is no mobile phone signal in Braunston, except for one spot half way down the footpath! I got two texts and a phone call on the way down!
Monday October 12th – Braunston to Hilmorton
We did manage to have a lie in this morning, till about 9.00am! After breakfast Clive wandered along to AJs to see what time they wanted the canopy – the answer was now! So he trotted back along the towpath and quickly had the cover off and we folded it up so he could carry it easily. The lady from AJs told him it would be ready at 2.00pm – amazing! So,we had a few hours to kill – what to do? I decided to make use of the launderette! We didn’t have a lot of dirty washing but I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity so I packed up all the light stuff, including the towels and tea towels and headed off to the launderette. I met a couple of ladies doing their laundry too. One of them, Heather, was Australian, she hails from Melbourn. She and her husband, Paul, have realised their retirement dream which was to come over to England, buy a narrowboat (Roxanne) and cruise the British waterways – they have been doing it for three years already! They are going home for a three month “holiday” in November. Its amazing how many Ozzies we have met onthe waterways but of course they don’t have anything like our canals in Oz – just rivers like the Murray! The other lady actually lives in one of the lovely waterside houses here at Braunston with a mooring for their own narrowboat. It was nice chatting to them both and hearing of their own travels and experiences.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with the launderette though! The washing machine wasn’t bad, it got everything clean. The dryer however took a £2 token and lasted for about half an hour but when it was finished the washing was still extremely damp! I decided to bring it back and finish it off on the boat. So the saloon is now festooned with damp washing! The other problem with the launderette was that the pump mechanism for the toilet pump-out was actually in the laundry room and when a boat came to use it the pong was apalling!
We had a bite of lunch then at 2.00pm Clive went back to AJs to pick up our newly repaired canopy. They have made an excellent job of patching the tears and also repairing one of the zips, which had also been damaged.
We had it all fitted back on in no time – all we need now is the new A frame, which Dave Bassett is making for us. That should be ready in a couple of weeks time and Dave will catch upwith us to fit it.
Well it was only just after 2.00pm and it was a really beautiful day so we decided to get in a couple of hours cruising. We left Braunston and a few minutes later arrived at the junction with the Oxford Canal. The last time we were here we turned left onto the Southern arm of the Oxford but this time we turned right heading North.
We had a very pleasant afternoon cruising along in the sunshine but there was a definite nip in the air. It is now beginning to feel quite Autumnal, the leaves are turning quite rapidly now. Again we passed quite a lot of craft, it’s amazing how busy the waterways still are really.
At about 5.00pm we had a choice to make – moor up now or go down the Hilmorton flight first? We decided to moor up for the night and hit the flight first thing in the morning. Unlike the rivers we have so much mooring space available to us we are spoiled for choice! However we are now moored up opposite a field full of cows!
We are on the outskirts of Rugby but you would never know it from the scenery, its lovely.
The Hilmorton flight is only three locks so it’s nottoo daunting a prospect for the morning!