Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Over the hill...

Over the hill...

After Tom had left us, with engine successfully holding water, we decided to go out for a stroll. Actually a bike ride and a walk, kind of a walcle. Deb wanted to go back and look at the hill over the Braunston tunnel. As the weather was still blooming windy I didn't really fancy the three mile walk into the wind to get to the eastern portal of the tunnel so we compromised by cycling first, locking the bikes up and walking over the hill. 

Although windy the sun was trying its best to make an appearance and the parts of the towpath that were sheltered were starting to get warm. Our fitness levels weren't helping either and the fairly rapid bike ride had warmed us up by the time we had arrived. 

The mile or so approach before you get to the tunnel is really quite a pleasant stretch of canal. Nice and wide and open with great towpaths and pleasant views towards the Leicester arm of the GU. Even the cutting on the final approach was welcome. There was quite an eerie feel low down here and not a breath of wind. 

As we walked up the first footpath the wind dropped, sun came out and it was time to start discarding layers. The first time for probably six and a half months that you could actually feel the power of the sun. 

The first stretch takes you past the end of Daventry. It appears, as it does in many small towns to be expanding at quite a rate, in this case towards the hill overlooking Braunston. You pass the first of the three tunnel vents on the edge of a new housing estate before crossing the main road and heading up through shrub lined farmland, an altogether more pleasant stretch. If you are thinking of walking over the hill from your boat, I would suggest the same way we did and end up on the Braunston side. The views as you crest the top of the hill are well worth the effort. As you pass the highest point, and middle ventilation shaft you're greeted with a little slice of Braunston in the distance, the two most notable of Braunston's many beautiful buildings the church and former windmill. 

Glimpses of the village stay with you virtually all the way down to the westerly portal and the rather muddy stretch of towpath to the start of the Braunston flight. The only other thing you need is a willing volunteer to pose at the top of the tunnel :-) 

Inside the tunnel

Leaving the tunnel

In an emergency turn off your engine... THEN WHAT!!

Church in the distance

Glimpses of Braunston

Don't do it, it's only three feet deep!

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