Bangerless! 29th April

Bridge 103 to Water Lane Bridge 9, Grand Union Canal

Not a Lapwing but it was singing it’s little heart out

1980’s synthesised kazooing woke us this morning. Lapwings. Their call will always remind us of Lock down 1 opposite the potato field at one of our early moorings. Such a distinctive call. The three or four of them were in good voice, I wanted to record them but first their was an aeroplane, then passing boats, followed by a tractor, then they had gone. They seem to like freshly sewn fields.

A swan on a very private nest, willow fencing around the area

Pushing off was one of those waiting games today as boats kept coming past. How polite should one be in not pushing out in front of someone? Or should you just grab a gap when one appears? In the end it wasn’t that bad and the boat in front of us soon pulled over for morning coffee, a training boat.

With the trees now in leaf the spire of Braunston church took it’s time to show itself. Bangers! But would we get moored? We hoped our arrival time was suitable to be able to fit in a gap just vacated.

Braunston Turn turned

At the turn we turned southwards, the other folk occupied by a boat that seemed to be wanting to wind. Then we played the chicken game, would there be a mooring further along by Butchers Bridge or not?

Quack quack!

Maybe we’d fit in at the back just by the bridge into the marina, over looked by rip stock mallards. No there was a ledge stopping us from coming in fully and so close to the entrance we’d rather be out of the way.

The moorings had a couple of gaps, one long enough for a 50ft boat perhaps, the other much shorter, but the two together might just fit us. Mick slotted the stern in and then went to see if he could attract the attention of those inside. They moved back and we slotted in everyone on piling hooks rather than rings.

Very pretty

The Aubretia at the top of Nibbits Lane was wonderful. Over the years it has cascaded and tumbled down the dry stone wall to make a fantastic display.

The butchers for a Sunday roast shop. Pork would be on the menu, next cheapest after chicken. A joint for four of shoulder. We got a very generous joint more likely for six or eight, good job we like pork. Some veg, a pork pie and some bacon.

Sunday Roast

Then the question. ‘Are you still doing gluten free sausages?’ The signs on the cabinet didn’t look promising. The answer came back, ‘No we don’t do them’. Well I was very lucky once in the past. No Braunston Bangers for breakfast anymore! The church spire won’t have quite the same effect from now on.

Wait for us!

After lunch we pushed off hoping that a boat that had just passed would wait for us at the locks. The hire boats were busy, two were being filled up with groceries from a Sainsburys van, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many crates! Was this a stag do? Maybe but for an octogenarian!

We had a partner for the locks. Yay! Well we ended up having two. Up ahead was a single hire boat that had only just been sent of from below the locks, they were mob handed with plenty of sailor hats on display.

NB Whistler shared the first three locks with us then it was obvious that we were now being followed by another single hire boat, time for us to split up especially as we’d caught the boat ahead. There were downhill boats at most locks now so gates could be left.

Swapping over

We teamed up with a canal time boat for the last three locks. Once the lock was filling I’d walk up to the next to empty it or help open gates. I signalled back to the lock below that there would be two boats coming down, Mick acknowledged my signal. However he didn’t pass it on to the two ladies crewing for the hire boat, who closed everything up. Soon rectified.

Braunston Top Lock

Once up the last lock it was time for the tunnel. Now is it 300 to 400m from the other end where the kink is? Or 400 to 500m? Thankfully no-one was coming towards us so we didn’t have to adjust our speed to avoid any possible collision. We can confirm the kink is between 400 and 500m from the Norton Junction end.

What plumage! I think there might be a baby sheltering under her wings

The moorings with a view looked pretty full so we pulled in before them and soon found ourselves surrounded by the stag do boats, a boat in front and one behind us. They were a touch noisy to start with but soon settled down to munch their way through their supplies.

Turned out nice again

6 locks, 7.28 miles, 1 right, 4 Lapwings, 2 git gaps made a mooring, 1 huge hunk of pork, 1 pie, 4 rashers, 0 bangers! 12 maroon crates, 2 locking partners, 1 tunnel, 2 mysterons, 1 mooring without a view, 2 boat stag do, 12 stags having Nanna naps.