Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Relaxed return

The out bound journey is chronicled here. The return to Welford from Napton boasted new crew, with wife Jenny and brother in law Peter tackling the locks while Duncan was at the helm.
Dropping off the second car at Napton was made easy by the good people at Crossroads Garage (thank you!) on the Shuckburgh Road at Napton, who let us park for a few days in their forecourt in return for a donation to Air Ambulance, while we took to the canal. Our temporary mooring was by bridge 110 just 5 minutes walk away, so we carried our stuff and set off straight after an onboard lunch.
And so just a couple of hours later we made our entrance to Braunston. Torn between mooring in the main line or knocking off a few locks to make tomorrow's work easier we first took in the sights of the marina then compromised and went through three locks to moor above The Admiral.
AS a useful aside it's worth pointing out that some of the Braunston locks have ground paddles as well as gate paddles. The former are very stiff and hard to work. For those unaccustomed to them the idea is to avoid a surge of water by opening the ground paddles gradually - ideally the paddle opposite the boat first, if there is only a single boat in the lock. You then reassess the situation before completely opening the ground paddles. Don't use the gate paddles until the boat is above their level. This should avoid water in your bow. Here's a gate paddle when the water was very low at Braunston.

Unfortunately The Admiral is not currently serving cooked food on Monday or Tuesday so apart from a few drinks we couldn't give them our custom; otherwise we found ourselves in a good spot.
Lock Keepers' cabin, Watford flight top lock

Next day was a bit more like hard work, with the remaining three locks and the tunnel at Braunston, then turning at Norton junction, the usual queue at Watford locks followed by the staircase, and finally Crick tunnel to moor at Crick itself. A full day.
An evening meal at the Red Lion (excellent fish crumble) finished off a good day.

On our third day we headed straight up the Leicester line and down the arm to Welford, finally driving back to Napton taking both cars back home.
We all enjoyed a relaxed three day trip in very good weather (no rain) and I think we converted Peter to narrow boating. He'll certainly be invited again!

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