Tag Archives: Leicester Branch

Day 118 – Homeward Bound

In the morning we met up with Nick from Weltonfield Narrowboats, where Oliver was born back in 2004. He still remembered a remarkable amount about how Oliver was built; we’re hoping they can help restore the window frames to their original glory, after some damage from damp over the years.

We were amused to hear a couple of stories about the original owners. In their first week out on the boat, the water stopped working although the pump was still going OK. They phoned up the marina…who eventually realised they’d never refilled the water tank so it had just run dry! The next week, the inverter “broke down”. Turned out that running a hairdryer, washing machine and dishwasher simultaneously along with goodness knows what else had blown the 12V 500A fuse!

After meeting with Nick and having a good look at the window frames, we set off, well togged up in winter gear as the wind was decidedly chilly and the sun wasn’t coming out to play either.

What a cool name for a boat!

We met up with Mickey at the top of the Buckby flight. He’s doing a boat delivery with his partner, and clearly knew what he was doing steering the boat and doing the locks. We stormed through them in double-quick time, despite having to fill every lock following a boat in front of us. When he’s not delivering narrowboats, he’s the main man in his rock band Sonic Gypsy.

Sarah steered like a pro; not often she’ll do double locks with another boat, but I think the thought of pushing open those Buckby lock gates was enough to decide her.

We moored up after the locks to have a mosey around the Heart of the Shires shopping village. We were both appalled to walk into one store and hear Christmas carols playing, and a large selection of Christmas goodies on sale already. Outrageous!

We walked back to Oliver for some bread and soup for lunch, and then moored up a little further up the cut, away from the M1. Sarah was feeling a bit chilly so we put the stove on for the first time since springtime, and now the boat is lovely and toasty! Please ignore the dust circle, Oliver will get a deep clean back at the marina.

Tomorrow Oliver will have to settle down at the marina, and it will be the end of us moving on each day. It brings to mind one of Sarah’s childhood memories of watching The Littlest Hobo.

Day 117 – Light At The End Of The Tunnel

It feels like Autumn is just around the corner, I’m back to my winter PJs and a night time hot water bottle (I know, I’m a softy southerner!). Only an hour’s cruising this morning, as we wanted to moor at Braunston, it was a lovely morning although always a bit sad to see some unloved boats.

Braunston is only a small village, but quite big in the canal world with a lovely junction and bridges. A right turn for us and then our first fat boat (widebeam) on the move, luckily there was space to pull in among the moored boats.

We walked up the hill to the shops, and an excellent butchers. Meal plans went out the window with Toby having a pork pie for lunch and a beef and onion pie for tea.

We walked around Braunston marina and had a good look in tradline fenders, we purchased four clam cleats for the side fat fenders, as we often need to change the length of the rope, depending on the height of the bank.

Lunch on board and we cast off for the five locks ahead. We were lucky enough to share the locks with another boat who had four people on board, so all I had to do was open the already empty lock gates ahead. Sadly there aren’t many photos as Toby didn’t take many, I asked him at the top lock if he’d taken any photos, and out came the camera for a hasty shot!

Soon after was Braunston tunnel, and I offered to steer, I’m not sure was more scared, me or Toby. We met one boat coming the other way, and typically on a bendy bit so we both rubbed the sides.

The brickwork and changing heights is quite impressive. The small dot of light at the other end gradually gets bigger. Is it just me, or is there a face looking back in the light?

At Norton junction we would usually turn right and back to base, we turned left on to the Leicester arm of the Grand Union Canal.

We moored up as agreed at Weltonfield marina, where Oliver was built back in 2004. The internal window frames have got some water damage, and despite our best efforts, they require a professional to repair them, and probably the windows being removed. The carpenter who originally fitted out Oliver still works here, so we’re hopeful of matching the wood (American Maple) and design.