Buttercups And Daisy. 9th June

Dunchurch Pools Marina to Norton Junction, Grand Union Canal

Dunchurch Pools Marina entrance

Three miles to Braunston Turn and with each bridge and bend I kept my eyes open, waiting for the first glimpse of the Banger spire. As we came under Bridge 85 there it was just peeking above the hedges. As we got closer and closer the view improved.

Buttercups, cows and sheep now graze the ridge and furrow fields.

Buttercups and Daisy

Tufts of wool clung onto the barbs on the off side, I wonder if I’d be able to collect enough of it for a hat?

Our hope was to be able to pull in outside Midland Chandlers at Braunston Turn if there was space to buy a few things, nothing urgently needed. The water point just before was occupied, so we couldn’t stop there, then there were two boats tied up outside the chandlers. Oh well, we might order what we want and get it sent somewhere, as I say nothing urgent.

Braunston Turn

A short distance on Mick spotted that the boat coming towards us was NB Kamili, stood at the stern were Andy and Irene, friends of ours from Crick. We missed each other a couple of years ago on the Thames when the level came up and before that we didn’t quite coincide for a New Years meal at the Red Lion.

Andy and Irene

Only chance for a very brief chat as our bows passed each other. Their summer will see them cruising to Stratford and onto the River Avon, I’m a little bit jealous, but then so was Irene with our trip.

The Gongoozers Rest was busy, seats on the towpath, their clientele enjoying the mornings sunshine along with a mug of tea and a bacon butty. We tried our best to peer through the hedge to see if we could spot NB Blackbird but it wasn’t that easy.

Approaching the locks

The bottom lock of the Braunston flight was full, I could see a boat waiting below the next lock, were they waiting for a boat to come down? I waited a little while, no water seemed to be coming down, so I set the lock for Oleanna. There was nobody coming from behind to join us, so I just hoped the boat ahead would wait for us, did they understand my wave?

Braunston Lock 1

The chap walked towards us, this meant one of two things. Either there was a problem up ahead or he quite liked a walk to tell us that they were waiting to share the locks. Thankfully he liked the walk and we teamed up with NB Red Kite for the remaining five locks.

We met two boats coming down, but the flight was really quite quiet. The bottom off side gate at Lock 4 really didn’t want to close fully. We emptied the lock before it got too full, despite it emptying at the same time and gave the gate a waggle, then closed the gates the otherway round. This improved things but it took quite a lot of umph to get the top gates open due to the leak.

Lock 5 was having repairs done to the gate surrounding brickwork. New bricks added and large sections replaced, you had to be careful where you put your feet. Mick mentioned about the gate at Lock 4 to one of the chaps who said he’d have a look, hopefully he’d have a long keb to clear what might be getting in the way.

The top lock cottage looking very smart today

We were soon at the top and waving goodbye to NB Red Kite, sorry we didn’t get your names, but the lady had the biggest smile I’ve ever seen. Hope they enjoy the Leicester Ring.

They went ahead to the tunnel. Time to turn on the cabin lights, get the life jackets and big torch out. We followed, not quite sure how far ahead they were. A light pointed towards us from the far end of the tunnel.

Quick calculations were done. There is a kink in the tunnel between 500m and 400m from the eastern portal. The tunnel is 1873m long. If the boat we could see had entered the tunnel when we did then we should meet them in the middle, well away from the big kink. This was the case, just after the halfway mark our bows passed each other.

Light coming round the kink

Another light! Where would we meet them? Calculations. Oh it was likely to be at the kink. Mick slowed us down and then when the kink was very obvious to us we stopped as the boat coming towards us was just on the other side of it. We reversed to give them more space. As they clung to their side of the tunnel it meant their bow ended up right in front of Oleanna, we reversed a touch more both of us willing them to swing round before impact. The boats did touch as did the tunnel sides, but at least it was only minor.

Collision course averted

One more boat to pass and then we could motor on through to the end.

The newish piling before Norton Junction was where we were aiming for today. It’s a popular stretch, but we’d timed our arrival well, a gap our size just opposite the view. The edge was a touch overgrown, which became obvious as we pulled up, here there is a spring making the towpath a touch squelchy. With our bedroom away from the constant trickle of water we’d not have a problem sleeping so we tied up, let Tilly out and enjoyed the view.

Office with a view

An afternoon of research for me, whilst Mick sat out on the towpath listening to Tim Spector regarding the new covid variant. We’ve been logging in with the covid app for well over a year now, changing our location everyday as we move.

I don’t want to stay on the towel!

Once work was done for the day, a load of washing was just about dry on the whirligig, Tilly returned quite excited as it was nearly time for dingding. She was so excited that she missed her footing on the gunnel and ended up with two wet back legs! Silly Tilly. The grass made me do it!

Still light in the sky at 11pm

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been heading up hill, ever since we left Trent Falls, with the exception of coming back down Torksey Lock. In that time we’ve cruised 182 miles and risen through 54 locks. Tomorrow we start going down again.

6 locks, 7.42 miles, 1 straight on, 1 tunnel, 2 mysterons, 1 damp spot with our name on it, 0.3 of a wet cat, 2 hours work, 2 space buns, 11pm still light in the sky.