Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Easy Cruising.


Before setting off from our mooring at Bridge 55, we had to feed the local wildlife.  They seemed to think we were a cafe when we opened up the side hatches!


Our journey yesterday was lockless and, to some extent, listless.  Humming along at a constant 4 mph for six hours, with the weather very fair for the time of year, was relaxing indeed.  The only real interruption was the wonderfully named Husbands Bosworth tunnel, the approach to which always seems to feel rather primeval.


Cutting a long six hours short we arrived at a very quiet Crick and moored up for the night.


Today our journey promised to be much shorter than yesterday. We had the Crick Tunnel to negotiate as soon as we got going and it dripped a lot of water as usual so it was rain coats at the ready.


As we reached the top of the Watford Lock flight the noise from the M1 shattered the normal silence of the canal (and it stayed with us all the way to bottom and beyond – the Watford Gap motorway services are only the other side of the hedge!)


The Watford flight incorporates a staircase set of four locks so there’s often a wait at the top before the lock keeper gives the all clear to proceed.  Time enough this morning to wipe down “Chance” after the wet and mucky confines of the Crick Tunnel.


Manel, an expert at locking procedures by now, became firm friends with the lock keeper ………


……….. and showed off his skills by knowing that he should wind the red paddle gear before the white.   Staircase flights (moving straight from one lock into another) makes a great change from the usual locks – especially for Manel, where a lock of any kind in Fuerteventura would be a novelty!


The workforce take some exercise after the locks!


After the 42 miles we’ve travelled since leaving Leicester we arrived at Norton Junction. Turning right onto the main London – Birmingham Grand Union line towards Braunston we passed the picturesque little toll house.


Mooring up early in the afternoon and leaving the Braunston Tunnel and locks until tomorrow there was time to give “Chance” a good spruce up and to go foraging for blackberries.  Instead Doug and Manel found a stash of sloes that looked more like grapes hanging from a vine.  Fifteen minutes later and we had two bowls of sloes to add to the gin making AND the most amazing blackberries that have already been added to an apple pie. Could things get much better?

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