Captain's Log - Week 7
I have always wondered what Braunston tunnel goes through and as we had a spare day on Monday (once Tom from RCR has sorted out our coolant leak) we decided to go back and have a look. I'm glad we did, I have always wondered what the air shafts look like, I had looked on Google Maps but as you are looking down on them it doesn't give you that ground perspective.
On Tuesday 16th we made an early start as we had the remaining 6 locks of the Buckby flight to go through and had spied some logs between the locks which would mean briefly mooring on the lock landing to pick them up. The plan was if we left early there would be only a few, if any, boats around and we wouldn't cause a problem - and the plan worked but we did start off at 6:30am. The Buckby flight consists of seven broad locks (we only had six to do as we moored up after the first one last week), in total it gives a fall of 63ft. I have to admit they are the toughest locks I have done so far, the first few were ok but the last ones were horrendous. I only just managed to get the paddles up on lock 11, being short the windlass was at neck level so not easy to put pressure on them, I persevered and finally got the water out of the lock so James and LJ could escape. It was just after this lock we stopped to collect the wood, we only passed one boat on the whole flight and it was here but luckily enough it just passed straight through and into the problem lock. Continuing on into lock 12, I managed the paddles ok, opened the gates out went James and LJ but could I get the gate closed again - no way it was not budging, so for the first time in our travels I had to call James back to help me get the gate closed. This was not easy for me as I don't like to give in and calling him back meant I had given in!!! Anyway Lock 13 the final one just at Whilton Marina was pretty tough too, but I was determined not to give in twice in one flight. Once back on board I made some bacon sarnies and tea as we continued our journey to Weedon and poor James had to put up with me saying "those locks were really tough, the toughest we have ever done" for the rest of the day (and the next one too, they were that bad!!)
On Wednesday 17th we took a wander to Stowe Hill Wharf where James asked if we bought LJ up could they drill a hole through to the batteries so we could get the fridge cables through. He could do it on Thursday and asked us to be there after 10:30am as he was blacking a boat first thing. With this good news we wandered back to have a brief look around Weedon and a lazy afternoon. In the evening we treated ourselves to a curry at the Indian as on a Wednesday they have a banquet night where you have a starter, curry, side dish, rice or naan all for £9,95 each, not surprising it was really busy in there. I would certainly recommend it if you like a curry and are in the Weedon area on a Wednesday.
Waking up on Thursday 18th the wind was still blowing a hoolie and we had to get to Stowe Hill Wharf, we stopped to top up the water tank on the way and this gave us a taster of what to expect once we arrived at the wharf. The wind was blowing us off the bank and James managed to get close enough for me to jump off with the center rope in hand, I got it round a bollard and tried to pull LJ in, not easy at the best of times but on this occasion James had to resort to using the bow thruster and we got safely anchor to the edge. Once the water was filled the next obstacle was to get LJ reversed into the wharf so the back of the boat was near the workshop door. James managed this relatively easy despite the howling wind. With the hole successfully drilled and grommet inserted it was off to continue our journey towards Bugbrooke. We moored up on a stretch with no other boats as the plan was to get the wood chopped into logs which meant using the chain saw so we wanted a quiet tow path and not to disturb anyone with all the noise. James managed to get the wiring connected up to the batteries as well so now our new fridge is fully working - we just need to get it stocked up,
Friday 19th, we were planning to get the loo tank pumped out at the marina just up the canal from where we were, but after a quick phone call they only offered pump out to their moorers and weren't open to the public, We had passed one a mile or so behind so decided to go back there and get it done. Once that was out of the way and we were moored back in the same spot it was on to tackle the wood pile. We have now got probably the largest collection of logs we've ever had. Yes I know it's getting warmer but we also use our stove for cooking so all that wood will get used, and anyway it is still chilly in the evening. Les and Mea, on Blue Moon, were planning on passing our way at some point today so they would stop so we could catch up again, we only briefly saw them when they visited us at Brauston on 'Freaky Friday'. I had just finished clearing up and putting away after the log sawing session when I got a phone call to say they were about 5 minutes away - perfect timing. So it was coffee and cake on Blue Moon this time, and a quick catch up turned into over four hours, where does the time go. As we parted company Mea and I both said it seems like we have known each other years, but in reality we have been following each others blogs for the last year and only met for the first time a couple of weeks ago.
On Saturday 20th I had arranged to hire a car from Enterprise and they were coming to pick us up between 9am and 10am. We need to get up to Birmingham early Monday morning as James is finally booked in for his gall bladder operation. As we had the car for a few days we decided to pop down to see mum, who lives about 10 miles outside Reading. We went out for lunch at the Cunning Man, a pub on the Kennet and Avon at Burghfield, which is the neighbouring village to Mortimer where mum lives. We just can't get away from canals! We had a lovely late lunch and then back home to walk the dogs and a nice relaxing evening chatting. We didn't leave until about 9:30pm and it took an hour and a half to get back to LJ, we parked the car in the nearest road then walked the three quarters of a mile back along the towpath to LJ, luckily I have a torch in my bag at all times!! It was only when we got back and caught up on reading other blogs that we realised Tom and Jan on Waiouru were moored just down from the Cunning Man.
On Sunday 21st we were planning to move LJ up nearer to civilization as we need to have the car close by for an early start tomorrow to the hospital in Birmingham. We had planned to move up opposite the Wharf pub but there are only four moorings available there so we would have to be lucky to get one. As it turned out that's where Mea and Les had moved Blue Moon up to the day before as they also wanted to be near the road as they needed to get into Northampton, they planned to move on today so we were going to take their mooring, as it happened I got a call from Mea to say the boat in front of them was moving on so we set off and got the mooring at the front. Thanks for the tip off Mea - isn't it great when a plan comes together. So it was goodbye to them again with plans of meeting up on their return journey and our continued journey once James has recovered. We then set off in the car to Northampton to get stocked up with supplies.
Tuesday 16th April, Long Buckby, Lock 8 - Weedon
4.5 miles and 6 locks
Thursday 18th April, Weedon - Bridge 34 Bugbrooke
3.5 miles and 0 locks
Friday 19th April, Bridge 34 - pump out - Bridge 34
3.5 miles and 0 locks
Sunday 21st April, Bridge 34 - The Wharf, Bugbrooke
0.75 miles and 0 locks
TOTAL FOR WEEK
Cruising - 12.25 miles
Locks - 6
Cruising - 64.75 miles
Locks - 17
Tunnels - 2
|Our mooring just before bridge 34 near Bugbrooke|
|Getting to work on the log pile|
|Les and Mea on Blue Moon|