Saturday, 27 September 2014

Crick to Braunston

Wednesday 24th September. Heavy rain overnight clears early and by the time we've passed through Crick Tunnel the sun is out. Before we know it we are under the M1 and queuing to go through Watford Locks. If we had a Ladybird book at about Bridge 5A it would show a fast train on the west coast railway line, the M1 motorway and Services and the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal (plus a plane flying above) all in the same place, for they almost interconnect here, near Long Buckby.

As we go under Bridge 6 I recall eating terrible fish and chips at the restaurant there 20 years ago, now renamed Mango Lounge and closed.
It takes an hour to get through Watford Locks (staircase, 7 locks, 16metre fall) ...
... even with a helpful lock keeper, then we reach Norton Junction at 1pm and, not pausing for lunch at the tempting pub to the left we charge on to the right and  on the Grand Union proper.

 Through the Braunston Tunnel for 20 minutes and we approach that boater's mecca of Braunston itself, though there are still 6 locks to go through before we reach the moorings by the marina. So it is 3.45 before we finally moor up, 10 miles, 13 locks in 6 hours 20 minutes including 30 minutes waiting at Watford Locks.
In late afternoon we wander up the hill away from the canal and into the village. Down by the canal it feels like a full-on canal village with hundreds of boats, busy comings and goings, two chandleries, eating places and various shops - but in the village itself they live a separate life, it seems.
Bridge over the Junction of The Oxford and The Grand Union

The Junction facing south down the Oxford Canal

Bridge on The Grand Union at the entrance to Braunston Marina

Under the bridge at the marina entrance

In the evening we stroll back up the towpath to The Admiral Nelson, widely recommended as the best for food and we entirely agree. Here is a view as we entered the lock on our way down.  It's a good place where we were well looked after and well fed.

Back to Patience, torches in hand, and we notice that Winter Moorings commence on October 1st. Clearly we are nearing the end of the season, when only hardened liveaboards stay out on the water. So we light our little stove, newly renovated, and our thoughts stray towards winter.

No comments:

Post a Comment