We have been really lazy over the weekend – enjoying the lovely weather, so I am a bit late with the next episode of our travels!
Last Tuesday morning at Norton Junction was the perfect location to do a self pump out of our toilet tank – we just had to move from our mooring at the bottom of the Leicester Line round the corner nearer to the elsan disposal.
Gary brought the boat round after I had checked availability of moorings.
We have an empty 20 litre container, painted in Muleless red, that we pump into and then take to the elsan to dispose of contents – Gary made about 8 trips to the elsan – this makes up for him not working the locks!
Having finished our pump out Gary had to reverse Muleless back to the junction, so that we could turn round and head towards Braunston.
Narrowboats dont reverse well – no steerage! We were lucky it was a calm day and Gary made a perfect reverse manoeuvre and turn!
Looking very pleased with himself after the turn!
We then headed through Braunston Tunnel.
There are no huge leaks through this tunnel, so we emerged quite dry!
The Braunston locks are very close to the tunnel, so we were very soon waiting at the top for two hire boats to go down in front of us.
As I made the lock ready for us to use, NB Lay zee daze which had been moored decided they would come down with us to share the work.
Between the top 2 locks, CRT were doing some work to the towpath side, and had helpfully (not) left their workboat at the site, which caused quite an obstruction – especially as 2 boats were just coming up the lock and had to pass us in the pound on the way to the lock our two boats had just left!
The rest of the flight had no more “hazards”, but the weather, which had been lovely and sunny started to look very ominous!
We all decided it was time for waterproofs – just in time! We had a really heavy downpour, and were really pleased to leave the last of the locks and find a mooring in our “usual spot” close to the road bridge (and water tap!).
All the locals have been busy since we left – plenty of babies around now!
On Wednesday after a visit to the shop and butcher to top up supplies, we pulled back onto the water point to top up the tank. It was starting to get really busy in Braunston, with boats passing all the time. Almost straight away someone else pulled in to our just vacated spot to wait for the water tap!
As it was such a lovely day we decided we wanted to find a nice quiet spot in the countryside, so we set off and headed down towards Napton.
As we passed one of our favourite spots, Foxes Gate, there weren't many people moored, but as we wanted to charge our batteries we headed on by.
We spent a lot of time on this part of the canal over winter, but it looks totally different now!
By the time we were passing the bridge 102 moorings we had charged the batteries enough, and pulled in.
We soon had the washing out to dry and our directors chairs out for their first airing!
We were soon visited by some more locals with their new families!
We barbecued some lovely beef burgers we had bought from the Braunston butcher and spent a lovely afternoon and evening – at last, this is what we signed up for!
Thursday we headed off in search of diesel – we were getting a bit low!
Just as we were approaching this moored widebeam (we aren't the only ones with washing out!), a CRT workboat came under the bridge, and ended up stuck in the shallows after we had gone by!
We enjoyed our trip in the sun down the bit of canal that looked so different to last time we visited!
We filled with diesel (ouch!) and topped up with water and then headed back to our mooring by bridge 102. Batteries charging nicely too! (State of Charge 96.7%)
Directors chairs were deployed again, and we relaxed with drinks and I started reading my new Jeffrey Deaver novel on my Kindle!
Friday, with alcohol supplies seriously depleted (!) we headed back up to Braunston.
The weather was looking really good for the weekend, and the canal was already busy, so at the blind bends I was sent to the bow as “spotter” and enjoyed the view without the long roof of the boat for a change.
We moored in one of the only available spots opposite the Boathouse Pub, and made a quick trip to the shop for the essential supplies. We decided it was too crowded for us, so after filling with water (again), and turning in the marina entrance we headed back out of Braunston.
Virtually every spot was taken – there was even a widebeam moored at the pub!
Our destination was Foxes Gate. We moored up about 2pm, it was already busy, and by 7pm there was hardly a spot left!
On Saturday, boats started going past about 7am, and there was a steady stream of boats heading in both directions all day.
The weather was gorgeous, we even had to deploy the parasol for some shade!
The local swan family called by again, but the youngsters were tired, so mum was giving them a lift!
We barbecued some more of the butchers burgers – this time they were Pork and Apple! and spent a lovely afternoon watching all the boats go by!
Sunday morning there were even more boats on the move – everyone kept saying it was busier than they had ever seen!
There was a bit of a breeze that was catching out some boats, and there were several tricky moments by bridge 100 – especially when the widebeam arrived!
We thought this was a bit of a tight squeeze . . .
until this dutch barge came along!
He was a really tight fit!
And then a short while later, he came back again – I’m glad we didn't meet him at a bridge!
About 4pm we decided we would head off, run down to the waterpoint and fill up and return to bridge 102 moorings (if there was any space!), ready to head back towards Braunston on Monday.
Although the weather was still lovely, some boats had headed off, so 3 hours later we moored up by bridge 102, batteries charged, water tank full!
We will be visiting the Crick show over the bank holiday, so we are staying close to Napton to be able to get our car from Yvonnne and Roy easily. Unlike the previous 3 years, we will only be visiting on one day, just to pickup any “essentials” we now know we “need”.