Friday 28th April; Nether Heyford to Braunston Top lock
After rain overnight the morning was dry and with less wind than before, though still cloudy. We pulled pins before 9 and stopped at Weedon Bec for a quick visit to Tesco. We have not explored the village but presume it must be quite pretty or what is the reason for all the antiques shops on the way down to the shop? Anyway, one had a ‘Clearance’ sign so I went in on the lookout for a flat-bladed knife so Dave can have one of his own in the tool-box and not keep pinching mine from the galley!
Ideal. All the man wanted was a donation in the charity box. There is a huge site being cleared at Weedon but by the time I got the camera out of my pocket the hedges were in the way. No idea what it’s for – housing or industry probably.
This chap hadn’t moved much. At least it wasn’t raining for him!
The apple blossom is still magnificent though it does make the hawthorn, which is just starting, look a bit dingy. But that will be fantastic in a few weeks.
We were at the bottom of Buckby locks by 12 and as there was a boat to share with we opted for a later lunch. The boater was on his own and was on his way to Runcorn, having bought the boat in Peterborough. He had come up the locks from Northampton in the dark the night before. There were no boats coming down Buckby for the most part, and one ahead of us, but the boater was young and very agile so once the locks were filling I left them to it and went ahead. At one lock I was able to take my ease on a bench while I waited for them.
His boat was very definitely ‘a project’ – he had a camping stove and when he needed to go through a tunnel he had to wire the headlamp directly to the battery.
The water point at the top lock was free so we used all the services. The first Aintree Beetle 30, Ain’t She Sweet, was nearby. A very smart and pretty little boat. And moored so conveniently for the pub for a drink (Dave saw them) and then to sit in while you eat your sandwiches. Too bad if there is a queue for the locks.
I made our sandwiches while the water filled and then off we went to Braunston, munching as we cruised. After a swift passage through the tunnel we stopped on the empty visitor moorings, just past the work boats repairing the towpath. They seem to be raising it by a few inches and putting in drainpipes to run underneath and stop the path flooding.
Dave took Meg for a walk over the tunnel and I went off for a run, discovering Waiouru moored up lower down the flight. Tom wasn’t around but I had a nice chat to Jan. Later on we enjoyed a meal in the Admiral Nelson. When we came back the visitor moorings were nearly full, with a small tatty cruiser on the lock mooring.
Well after dark we heard a boat passing. The little cruiser only had an interior light working – without a headlamp they must have been waiting for dark so they could be sure they wouldn’t meet an oncoming boat in the tunnel. I hope they had good night vision, or at least a torch!
9 miles, 7 locks, Braunston tunnel
Total this trip; 111½ miles, 79 broad locks, 4 tunnels, 2 large aqueducts, 4 swing bridges