Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Stocked up and Southbound

Tescoman arrived at around 10:40 this morning, but by the time we’d got everything away and said our goodbyes to Chas and Ann (they’re going the same way, but more slowly) it was gone midday.

We set off with good intentions, to get to the bottom of the Napton flight before we moored for the night. But as is often the case, the actual commission didn’t meet up to the planning.

The weather was fine and dry, but blustery when we set off.

The cows opposite our mooring were in disagreement about the forecast. Those nearest expected rain, the others were more upbeat….

The land around here has been cultivated for centuries. Evidence of Feudal farming practices can be seen in the remains of ridge and furrow in the fields.
Lots of lambs and calves around, someone’s Sunday lunch on the hoof.

Come in No. 20, your time is (almost) up…
A landmark visible for miles around, the steeple of All Saints Church, Braunston. Final resting place for many a boatman.
We stopped off at the water point just before Braunston Turn, emptied a loo tank and the rubbish, then I made a quick visit to Midland Chandlers next door while the water tank was filling. We’d had a spot of bother with the wind trying to get onto the wharf, and it was this wind that made our day shorter than we’d intended.

Through one half of the twin bridges at Braunston Turn, and we ran into the crosswind that had now become quite strong.
We came up behind a lass who was trying, with limited success, to pole an empty narrowboat shell along the canal.

A yard forward, a yard sideways
With the wind and the traffic, she was making little progress, so I did the gentlemanly thing and offered a tow (after finding out that she only wanted to go a mile or so, not all the way to Banbury!).

Under tow
We dropped her off near the winding hole just past bridge 98. Our good deed for the day.

I was feeling a bit weary as I’d had a hard run first thing this morning, and the wind seemed to be getting stronger, so we made the decision to pull over near bridge 103, about 4 miles short. It’s a pleasant spot here, with a good stretch of towpath.

This section towards Napton and beyond didn’t get the straightening treatment in the 19c that the northern reaches had. Consequently it follows a charming but tortuous route around the lumps and bumps of the landscape.

Although we’re turning left now, we’ll be going through that bridge next…

And for all those Corrie fans out there, ain’t it a shame that Ken didn’t have the bottle to move onto Martha’s boat last night and join her in her trip to London. Although I think maybe the Cheshire locks would have done for him…
Back to the mini Kievs with Deirdre and Blanche, then.

Locks 0, miles 4

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