|This Month's Totals and Average|
|168.78 miles||103 locks||85.90 hrs||3.16 lmph|
Up and on the move promptly - heavy day ahead. Let go from a beautiful mooring and continued into Atherstone - very busy. One boat on the services, one waiting to go down, and a very slow tap! By the time I got onto the services berth, there were three waiting to go down, and several coming up. Did the 'necessaries'.
Once ready, attempted to find my place in the queue, but the 1st boat said that I could go first as I had arrived before them - not quite the right order, but they were insistant. Poor road down, most locks had to be reset. My thanks to the Volunteers at #1, #3 and #5 for their help. Moored in the King's Head Pound for a rest and a bite of lunch. Steady stream of boats in both directions.
Refreshed, I set off again down the second half - road just as bad, and no volunteers. Clearing the Bottom Lock, I had a brief chat with Kym & Tracey from the Little Chimney Company . Continued to Meadow Lane Bridge 50 and moored up for the night - also very busy!
Mostly cloudy, with periods of sunshine (hot in the sun!).
|6.32 miles||11 locks||4.72 hrs||3.67 lmph|
Lazy start to the day, but made up for it later on. Got two batches of washing done in between calling in on All Saints in the morning for the service then coffee, having lunch, then calling in on All Saints again in the afternoon for the "Praise in the Garden". Have looked into the problems we found on the Raspberry Pi Entertainment Centre and fixed them, so just the final run of ethernet cable to connect it to the network. Plan is to move on tomorrow, heading down to Fazeley, timed to collect mail.
Was awake at 07:00 so just got up. Almost complete cloud cover. Decided to move nearer to Atherstone before any rain came on. Headed out past Charity Dock, then on past Marston Junction (right for Ashby). Chased by a 'faster' boat so let him go by. Wended my way through Nuneaton - Boot Wharf was as busy and crowded as usual. Moored just after White House Bridge 28 - this means I'm only an hour from Atherstone Top if its raining, could get to pound 5 if needed, but am on a 14 day mooring if required to wait.
Pat rang after lunch with an update. Consultant manipulated, adjusted medication, and provided exercises, which should continue until she returns north in autumn. She will not, however, be returning to "Paws" until 4th Aug due to a funeral. (Calculations for pick-up to be done)
|6.18 miles||0 locks||2.36 hrs||2.62 lmph|
Wide awake at 07:30 so decided to get up and get moving. Continued westward towards "Sutton's Stop" - an uneventful trip. Descended the stop-lock and turned right onto the Coventry Canal, but then reversed back to the services berth for water and loo, but couldn't find the rubbish disposal (I wasn't aware they had removed it, but certainly nowhere to put any rubbish - will have to wait till Atherstone). Had a quick lunch while watering.
Once all ready, let go again and headed north towards Bedworth. As I was passing the Junction, I spotted "Jubilee" clearing the lock (they obviously stopped for lunch as they didn't tail me). Approaching Bulkington Bridge 14, I was hailed by Gwynneth, Chris & Terry, and invited to stop at the house for a cuppa. Breasted to "Grace" at the bottom of the garden. During the afternoon, heard that John & Jan were expected to call, so moved "Paws" round the corner and remoored for the night, then walked back. Great afternoon chatting with both teams.
Light cloud-cover and a slight breeze made for a cooler day. The cloud increased late afternoon. "Jubilee" passed as I was preparing dinner.
|7.87 miles||1 locks||3.24 hrs||2.74 lmph|
Up early to get Pat to the station for her train home. I walked up to the station with her, for the exercise, then to the retail park for a few necessities while Pat is away. Lunch before departure.
Just getting ready, when I was hailed by "Jubilee", so had a chat with Jan & John (BCF Chair ) - great to catch up with them.
On departure, the plan was to find a shaded mooring about an hour out. Unfortunately, no shady moorings big enough for "Paws", so ended up in the semi-shade next to the railway just west of Grimes Bridge 26 - Far further than intended and a far later stop than planned. Paperwork, a simple light dinner, and switched off in the chair!
|6.69 miles||0 locks||2.68 hrs||2.49 lmph|
Up and on the move promptly, moving forward to Hillmorton Top Locks. A fast run down the 3 locks, with no hitches. Continued on towards Rugby as the temperature soared again. Moored just west of Boughton Bridge 59, the nearest to the station for tomorrow morning.
Video call with daughter in Italy, catching up on crochet news, exam results at Uni, residency updates, and IT changes. Lunch slightly late, then a quiet afternoon.
|3.01 miles||3 locks||1.71 hrs||3.52 lmph|
A bit cooler overnight, with light zephyrs moving through the cabins. Woke more refreshed. Getting ready to move off, and we saw Graham (BCF member and Waterways Chaplain ) chatting to our 'next-door neighbour'. He was out for a walk with his dog, Maddy; Sandra was at work so we still haven't met her. Had a long catch-up chat with him, before finally setting off at 10:45.
Headed through the village, noting Graham's new boat "Micah 6:8" as we passed. Had a brief stop at the services berth by the Junction. Continuing northwards on the northern section of the Oxford Canal, the day grew hotter. Stopped by Bridge 79 for a lunch inside in the shade, then continued - albeit following a very slow hireboat - towards Hillmorton. Moored just east of Moors Lane Bridge 72. Was hailed by, and exchanged 'hellos' with, "Reeve" (BCF member) late afternoon.
|5.29 miles||0 locks||2.43 hrs||2.17 lmph|
Another hot night, with ports and doors left open. Up with the sun streaming in, and the temperature already rising at 07:30. Decided to wait for another downhill boat before setting off, but two sets of two arrived before we had a chance. Eventually teamed up with "Jenny" which was, by this time, also setting off. Worked down through the flight of 6 locks in very good time, then moored at the first available space (in case there were no others). Take-away lunch from "Gongoozler's Rest" . Quiet afternoon in the shade. Think I have finally fixed our connectivity problem, with a factory reset of the modem.
|0.84 miles||6 locks||1.40 hrs||4.88 lmph|
After a night with all doors and ports open, we were up early as planned and on the move by 08:00, the current situation forcing us to miss our link with All Saints for a 2nd week. Continued through Crick Tunnel and on to Watford Top Lock where we checked in ready for a downhill convoy - it had just left. There were three going down, two to come up, and we would be 1st down. Decided to use the time wisely so moved across to the services berth for water and loo. With short convoys, we were ready to go just as the uphill convoy arrived (now 3 boats). Saw the "Red Arrows" as we descended Bottom Lock - they were on their way to Silverstone to display at the Grand Prix.
At the bottom, we continued for Norton Junction, turning right onto the main line, lunch on the move. Saw the "Red Arrows" again as they made their way home after the display. Passing through Braunston Tunnel, with two boats coming the other way, we arrived at Braunston Top Lock. Decided that we had done enough so moored for the night, to attack the flight first thing tomorrow.
Another hot day so glad of the tunnels for some shade!
|10.07 miles||7 locks||4.35 hrs||3.93 lmph|
Up early, and on the move before 09:00, headed for Foxton Junction. Managed to get the difficult swingbridge moved, then the easy one just at the junction. Sighted 3 kingfishers as we approached the junction. Moored at the "Foxton Locks Inn" while waiting for our convoy. Checked in and found that the 1st convoy was early in getting away and we would be 4th, so only a 15 min wait.
Once again, an easy run through with the assistance of the CRT Staff. We also had 'help' from Ollie & Evie who were out for the day with their Dad. Once clear of the Top Lock, we continued our return journey towards Crick. Unfortunately, we again ended up behind a slow boat for a while so were later in gettng as far as Yelvertoft, where we decided to call a halt in the blazing heat, and start early tomorrow.
Hot sunshine all day, grateful for any shade we could get.
|17.04 miles||10 locks||7.80 hrs||3.47 lmph|
We've had a look at the options for travel and have decided the best choice is to skip the run through Leicester/Loughborough/Soar/Burton and return via Foxton/Watford/Braunston/Hillmorton, rejoining the original plan at Fradley Junction. There are no rail connections on our original route but, this way, Pat could leave at Rugby for home, I would single-hand via Sutton's to Atherstone, where Pat could rejoin.
In view of the above, we got on the move promptly headed into Market Harborough centre. The 'cut', for the most part, is well overgrown with reeds/rushes, leaving barely enough space for a single boat between. Overhanging trees also need a good haircut. Mooring just short of the basin, we immediately went shopping (a nice walk downhill, but too steep and too hot to walk back so got a taxi - unfortunately, it took ½ an hour to arrive!). Very hot and hungry, we immediately had a hurried lunch (mid-afternoon) while the boat took water. After lunch, we moved forward to the services berth for the loo and rubbish, then winded and headed out of the basin.
Instead of staying overnight as originally planned, we then returned to last night's mooring (within easy distance of Foxton Locks tomorrow first thing). A slower than normal passage as the new hire-yard had just let its newest batch of novices loose! (I say this in jest, as we all had to start somewhere )
After a very hot, and more than a little frustrating day, we had a late dinner and a quiet evening.
|8.71 miles||0 locks||3.69 hrs||2.36 lmph|
Very quiet night (great), not even wildlife noises (not as nice). Early call of nature, so we decided to stay up and get on the move. Let go by 08:20 and returned to Welford Junction, turning right again towards Foxton, hoping to make Market Harborough. Continued through the treelined avenue along the summit pound - water level a little higher today (back-pumping obviously doing its job). The two reservoirs serving this summit had been drained for routine maintenance and are currently slowly refilling. As a result, working hours at both Watford and Foxton have been reduced (10:00-16:00) and the water back-pumped overnight.
We arrived at Foxton Top Lock at 11:10 and checked-in with the lockies. The last boat of a convoy down had just started the descent, we would be the second boat of the next convoy down. It was a 2½ hour wait, during which we had lunch from the small café next to the lock. Sat in the trad-stern chatting to 'gongoozlers' while we had our lunch.
We moved forward when our turn came and were taken all the way down without a break. Teddies were out in force, interacting with the public . There had been a family who had helped us with gates etc during the descent so we moored at the bottom and gave them a whistlestop tour of "Paws" in thanks. Leaving Foxton Junction on the 'Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal' (swallowed up in the Grand Union project) towards Market Harborough, we swung the small bridge at the junction and headed on. Arriving at Foxton Swingbridge 4, Pat found she couldn't get it to move. We swapped places, and I had difficulty, it is so heavy! Clearing the bridge, we decided enough was enough for the day and moored just east of Clarke's Bridge 5.
Word reached Pat that a hospital appointment she had been expecting (some time in the next 6 months) had arrived, so we will have to make arrangements for her to get home to attend, then return.
|9.05 miles||10 locks||4.73 hrs||4.02 lmph|
Beautiful sunny morning. Had a slower start this morning, only leaving at 09:30. Continued northwards through an ever-changing landscape - from open farmland to leafy avenue, from wide canal with hedgerow to pushing through reedbeds with barely a boatwidth between sides. Lunch on the move. Arrived at Welford Junction and turned right onto the Welford Arm. We've only been on this section once before, on a hireboat. Again, a tree-lined avenue, but more reeds and shallower - picturesque though. Ascended the only lock and immediately had to turn at the only winding hole, ¼ mile from the end.
Returning back down the lock, we moored between Bridges 1 & 2, in the shade. A hot, sunny day throughout.
Despite having poor/no signal all day on the boat's 'phoneline', I found that we had a better signal on our mobiles. I tethered the tracker, then my laptop, through the mobile and managed to get yesterday's and today's data downloaded, processed, and the files re-uploaded for today's diary. A bit of a faff, but at least it is another route.
|12.58 miles||2 locks||5.22 hrs||2.79 lmph|
Lovely morning - cloudy but bright. Let go and ascended Buckby Top Lock in company with a single-hander, then pulled in to the service berth. Once everything in order, let go and continued to Norton Junction where we turned right onto the Leicester Section of the Grand Union (this was the original "Grand Union Canal" and joined the Grand Junction Canal to the "Leicestershire & Northamptonshire Union Canal" at Foxton). A lovely leafy canal, it passed the Watford Gap Services on the M1, most vehicles never knowing a canal is behind the screen of trees.
On arriving at the Watford Flight, we checked in with the lockie, to be told we would be on the second rotation. We had a 50 min wait as the convoy came down, then the first rotation went up. We were then moved into the first pound to await the next convoy coming down (it is normally rotated 6 up then 6 down). It was a 1¾ hour wait. When the 1st boat came down, I went to Bottom Lock and kept resetting it for the next one down.
Once it was our turn, we ascended the remaining 6 locks with the assistance of the 4 volunteers on duty - a fairly quick ascent. Clearing the top, we continued on through the wooded landscape past Weltonfield and Welton Haven Marinas to Crick Tunnel. A bit shorter than the ones recently, and quite wet at the northern end. Arriving at Crick, we found a mooring opposite Crick Marina and tied up for the night.
The day had been mostly sunny, although there were a few drips of moisture while waiting at Watford. No phone signal at Crick so all stats and maps delayed to tomorrow.
|5.48 miles||8 locks||3.16 hrs||4.26 lmph|
Only a little rain overnight, but still sputtering over breakfast. Decided to wait until it eased (as per forecast). Got away just after 10:30 and headed back to Weedon for emergency provisions, then continued for Buckby with the intention of getting lunch again at the marina café, but we were running too late for a lunch so had sandwiches aboard before arrival at the locks.
At the locks, we found a queue - 2 in the lock going up, 2 more to go up before us, and another to go with us. One of the boats immediately ahead was crewed by a couple of (very) senior citizens of dubious physical ability, out for their first taste of canal life. I have a feeling they will not find it easy! The elderly couple ended up not actually doing anything to work the locks, it was done by the crewmembers from the two boats behind us, the lady from the other boat in that pair and the crew from "Paws". A very slow climb up the flight! After 6 locks, Pat pulled over while I assisted the other boats through the last lock, then we moored for the night just past Anchor Cottage.
Walked back and had a look at their stock (nothing of interst this time) and bought ice creams. It had become very muggy by dinnertime.
|7.72 miles||6 locks||4.91 hrs||2.80 lmph|
Still no phone signal this morning so couldn't log in to the service or coffee from Doncaster (we'll pick up the service later). Slower than normal start, just one of those days where you are tripping over your own feet . Eventually on the move by 09:30, reversed back to the winding hole, turned and headed back through the tunnel. Met two boats coming the other way so slightly slower passage. A bit wetter this morning, as well. Continued northwards to Gayton Junction where we again used the 'facilities' - there was a wide-beam on the quay when we arrived, they said it could be some time (apparently they have a 1000 ltr water tank (and were running the washing machine) - we only have a 200 ltr and it was only half empty). They offered to let us take the water and they would finish afterwards - gratefully accepted.
On completion, we continued northwards again, stopping for lunch just north of Bridge 35 near Bugbrooke. Despite only doing a short day, it was a nice mooring so we decided to stay for the night. Cleared the comms backlog as a good signal here. Rain returned just before bedtime.
|7.41 miles||0 locks||2.86 hrs||2.60 lmph|
Rain had cleared by morning, cloudy but with a few breaks. Walked up to the Museum shop (found it had a poor selection today), then had a coffee in their café. Noted that the trip-boat "Charlie" had not restarted work due Covid (so no fun with teddies waving to its steerer, Mike. Chatted to several couples in and around the museum and Top Lock before returning to "Paws" for lunch.
With nothing else specific to do for the afternoon, Pat set to baking, so I went back to the lock to assist boats through (and chat). Poor comms unfortunately continue. Mostly sunny, with occasional cloudy spells. Poor comms continue - unable to clear today's updates.
Slow start to the day. Finally got on the move just before 10:00, continuing south on the last leg to Stoke Bruerne. Passed the outskirts of Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke before arriving at Gayton Junction. Stopped here for services before continuing, with lunch on the move, to Blisworth Tunnel, one of the longest still in operation. Had a good run through, with no boats coming the other way - did the run in 30 mins - although it was quite wet today. On exiting the tunnel, we got a mooring just past the winding hole (ready for the return trip on Sunday, maybe).
Day was mostly sunny, through the scattered cloud. Cooler in the sun than of late.
A family of swans took over the towpath for a rest - he was very protective and effectively 'closed' the towpath! Take-away dinner from Spice of Bruerne Indian restaurant. Phone signal very bad at this mooring so no TV and poor communications. Very heavy rain arrived at bedtime.
|9.30 miles||0 locks||3.31 hrs||2.81 lmph|
Quiet night despite the football (pub rather closer than wished). Cloudy but bright start to the day. Just as we were moving off, a Union Carrying hireboat came past so we chummed up with them for the morning - lovely family of dad, 2 daughters and grandma. Descended the 6 remaining locks of the Buckby Flight. Traffic very busy in both directions. Moored at the bottom of the flight opposite Whilton Marina.
Lunch at the café and a visit to the chandlery, Then moved off again, continuing southwards. The canal is now sandwiched between the M1 and the railway so quite noisy until one gets nearer to Weedon. We moored again at Bridge 24 to allow "Catering" to nip to the shop, then continued. Noted where the old branch serving the WW2 ordnance works cut off, when we first visited it there was a hireyard here. Moored for the night just after Bridge 29 - the road and railway had both veered away from the canal.
|5.88 miles||6 locks||4.05 hrs||3.93 lmph|
Again, a sunny morning after overnight rain. A pair of tawny owls were heard during the night, calling to each other. Moved off promptly, as far as the junction (service area busy so decided to wait until Buckby), then turned round to continue our trip southwards. Arriving at the bottom of the Braunston Flight, we 'chummed up' with Steve & Sue aboard "Rosalie" and ascended the whole flight (6 locks) with them. Although the whole flight was against us, there were boats coming down most of the locks so plenty of people to work the locks. Cleared the flight and continued into the tunnel - only one boat coming the the other way, so no delays there. Pulled in at the services berth above the Buckby Flight for water, loo and rubbish, then descended Top Lock. Had a chat with a charity fundraiser for Macmillan Cancer - he's walking 100 miles to London. Backwards!
Moored in the pound below Top Lock for the night. Rain showers had returned and we got soaked mooring up.
|4.99 miles||7 locks||3.49 hrs||3.43 lmph|
More heavy rain overnight, but again a sunny morning although windy. On the move for the final leg back to Braunston - no locks today. Cloud came over shortly after departure, and it threatened rain a couple of times. Noted BCF members' boats "Ein Cariad" and "Kestrel" but nobody about to hail. Noted the windmill at Napton , a scenic landmark on the canal.
At "Braunston Turn", we struck right onto the Grand Junction Canal (the original name for the section from here to London, later part of the Grand Union) hoping to get moored just east of the marina. No luck, no spaces. Winded at the marina entrance and returned to a space opposite "The Boathouse" inn. We had planned to get lunch at the "Gongoozler's Rest" but they were closed today. Home-made lunch aboard.
"Kestrel" arrived at the pub mooring while we were at lunch and we got a quick chat as they headed for the shops. On their return, they let go and continued their trip. Pat took a walk to the shops during the afternoon. Rain set in mid-afternoon.
|6.65 miles||0 locks||2.56 hrs||2.60 lmph|
More heavy rain overnight, but a lovely sunny morning greeted us. Managed to get on the move by 09:30, continuing the run back to Braunston. After about an hour, we came to the two locks at Marston Doles, the end of the summit pound. It seemed to be a little low today, and we were bottoming in several places. There was a queue at the top lock so we were delayed about 20 mins. Once on the move, it was a steady drop down through the two locks, a longer pound and Adkin's Lock, then another longer pound and the six locks of the Napton Flight proper. Other boats were following us, and there was a steady stream of boats coming up - very busy. Had a brief chat with John & Cath of "Tincantoo" as we descended Bottom Lock, they were waiting to come up.
At the bottom, we stopped to empty the loo, then moved up for water, grabbing a late lunch while watering. On the move again, hoping to get moored for the night just round the corner, but it wasn't to be - no moorings to be had. Continued on for another mile before finding a space next to the winding hole at Bridge 111.
Clouding over from dinnertime, the rain had set in by bedtime.
|7.64 miles||9 locks||4.89 hrs||3.40 lmph|
Forecast for today was for rain most of the day. We woke to a bright day with only a few clouds. A check on the rainfall radar forecast suggested only a few showers.
Usual call in to Live Stream Faith from All Saints, followed by "coffee".
After lunch, decided to move off in the hope of only showers. Continuing our return journey towards Braunston, we retraced our 'steps' along the summit pound, passing Fenny Compton, then winding round Wormleighton Hill with its radio mast . At 15:30, I decided that it would be "1st available mooring" and pulled in on the east/west straight under the shadow of the mast. We did only have occasional showers, but they were heavy - not overly unpleasant as they were warm and short. Very pleasant evening.
|6.05 miles||0 locks||2.55 hrs||2.37 lmph|
Looking at the forecast, after a night of heavy rain, there was supposed to be a window of no rain during the morning. We decided to set off in the hope of getting to Claydon Top Lock before the rain came on. Let go just before 09:00, and the rain arrived 10 mins later! Passed Cropredy Marina (noting that every single boat was moored bow-in on their pontoons - odd!), and ascended Broadmoor Lock. Pulled in! Drowned!
Had a cuppie, by which time it had brightened up. Pat decided we were staying put, and she would have a cleaning day. Sun had actually got through by late morning.
After lunch, went out to tighten the moorings to be greeted by a man offside and ahead of "Paws" complaining about our engine running. Due to his attitude ("nul points" to Cropredy in the competition for friendliest canal village), the afternoon's cleaning was put on hold and we moved on. Let go and ascended Varney's and Elkington's Locks. After a longer pound, continued up the 5 locks of the Claydon Flight, assisted on the middle lock by a CRT Volunteer. Found a space above Top Lock and moored up again. No further rain during the afternoon, so probably good that we made use of the time.
|2.62 miles||8 locks||2.36 hrs||4.51 lmph|
Went for a walk into town (mainly for butcher, and exercise) before letting go. Continued up the hill with the locks fairly evenly spaced (about 20-30 mins) - Hardwick, Little Bourton, and Slat Mill. Pat had elected to steer today as the paddles were very heavy coming down. Arrived at Cropredy Wharf and took water and cleared the loo (which we had been unable to do at Banbury). Ascended Cropredy Lock and pulled over for a delayed, quiet lunch.
As expected, after lunch, the Admiral decided we weren't moving, so put out the night-time fenders and tidied away the ropes and gear.
The lovely sunny morning continued through the day into the evening.
|4.48 miles||4 locks||2.77 hrs||3.06 lmph|
A sunnier morning to start the new month. Unfortunately, the day ended up being drawn out with delays.
Noticed at breakfast time that our energy supplier had failed to change our tariff at the end of the previous contract - drawn-out phone call to correct their error ensued. Next stage was to move to Aynho Wharf for fuel and water - a boat had got in before us (whilst delayed on the phone), and the water tap was very slow today. Once he had finished, we finally got our fuel and water (slowly) (the only advantage was that we ended up with brunch from the Brew Box Coffee Shop . Finally on the move, we ended up behind a slow boat as far as the first locks. Ascended Aynho Weir Lock and crossed the River Cherwell, then ascended Nell Bridge Lock back onto the canal. Finally started to make some headway.
Only a light lunch was required (after the heavier brunch) as we continued along the longer pound to King's Sutton then Grant's Locks. Had a brief chat with Chris & Lesley on "Rosie" as we passed them. Mooring just before Samuelson (Tramway) Bridge, we did our shopping at Morrisons, then moved to the services berth below Banbury Lock. Just managed to clear one loo cassette although the Elsan disposal appeared blocked again (only just reopened after its previous failure). Ascended the lock and moved forward to the first available berth opposite Castle Quay Centre. Pat had a quick trip to the chemist then we settled in for the evening, more tired than we anticipated.
Lovely quiet evening, with lovely weather.
|6.91 miles||5 locks||4.67 hrs||2.55 lmph|