Friday, 12 April 2013

Spooky church, step back in time...

Spooky church, step back in time...

We decided to stay a few more days on our excellent mooring in Braunston. Whilst most people would see the change in weather fortunes as a blessing and get some cruising miles in we thought we would take advantage and get the paint bushes out again and finish off a few of the jobs we couldn't get done over our winter stop in Hawkesbury. 

My first job was to use some of the bits and pieces bought in the chandlers and get the engine serviced. I managed to make a lot less mess than I did last time and didn't even drop the oil filled filter in the bilge this time :-) so its all done for another couple of hundred hours. The only thing I will need to keep an eye on is that I had to top up the coolant far more than I expected. We do have a pin hole leak in the bathroom rad but only teaspoons of coolant are leaking from there. 

Pela pump sucking all the old oil out

Whilst I was servicing the engine Deb was getting to grips with the generator/sander combination and sanding the side that I couldn't get to on 'Sutton stop'. Gunwales were soon sanded and turned from blue to grey primer, white undercoat , light blue undercoat and finally a couple of blue top coats. Now both sides just need a final topcoat once we find a suitable mooring and a dry few days. Last job of the dry spell was to paint the engine cocoon white and were done until the next few dry days. 

Deb vs generator

The other side gets a lick of paint

Sound proof cocoon now nice and white

If you look closely you will see that the handle is on the wrong end of the paint can, actually the bottom fell off the tin when Deb picked it up!

Whilst paint was drying we walked up the hill to the butchers an managed to pick up some really nice smoked bacon offcuts that ended up making a nice sausage and bacon casserole, bacon and onion quiche and a carbonara'ish  pasta bake; not bad for 99p. 

The moorings in Braunston are a bit hit and miss, especially for such a 'honey pot' location. The 48hr central ones are on a very narrow but dry towpath, the 14 day ones north west of the village are always thick with mud and puddle banks moorings which are nice and open with a pleasant outlook have far too many obstructions alongside the edge so you have to moor a couple of feet from the back and use a plank to get ashore. Not a problem in itself but you also get pushed into these obstructions by some of the idiotic speeding boaters. Something that Mrs J off of the Free Spirit knows all about. 

Our mooring, the best in Braunston, was on top of the river Leam aqueduct which is on the pretty part of puddle banks but had the advantage of about 100ft long of adequately deep moorings. Last time we were here at the end of the "summer" the river that you can see trickling through the left arch (actually it's the middle of three) was gushing through with such force that it had expanded and was using the right arch as well. Today we were able to walk under the canal and across a field to the medieval village of Wolfhampcote. Very atmospheric, and a must walk for anyone stopping in Braunston for a few days.   

The old village of Wolfhampcote is located west of the A45 road near Braunston in Northamptonshire, and can be reached by a track from the main A45 road, or by a lane from Flecknoe, or the footpath under the canal in dry weather. The village was abandoned sometime in the late 14th century and is classified as a deserted medieval village. Local legend suggests that the village was wiped out by the Black Death brought in by refugees from London.

Tunnel to Wolfhampcote

Former path of the R. Leam

Medieval village with Braunston church in the background

St Peter's Church

The most recent gravestone we could find were about 1860's and several a lot older. 

'A black lamb appeared confidently from behind the grave, there were no other sheep for miles around....'

Disused railway bridge in the background

Today the only remains of the village are a cottage, a farmhouse, and the old vicarage, located some distance away. The most notable surviving feature of the village is the Church of St Peter, which stands apparently in the middle of nowhere in a field surrounded by the undulating meadow that was formerly the village. The fields surrounding the area have many ornate railway bridges and the little village of Braunston was served by two local train stations, one in the village itself and one the other side of the canal in Willoughby. 

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