Tag Archives: North Oxford

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.

Day 116 – Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Sarah promised a lie in this morning, and so we had a nice leisurely start to the day with tea and coffee in bed. It was a lovely sunny day, but a little chilly in the wind.

Sarah helmed us all the way through the Stockton flight, she’s got it down to a fine art now. I only opened one paddle, so the water flow keeps Oliver nicely tucked into the side – and it makes my life a lot easier!

Sarah liked that you can see the paddle behind the grill; normally they’re below the water line and out of sight.

I took over helming duties for the last three locks at Calcutt, glad of a rest after working the locks for the previous 10. Sarah was glad we switched over when we had 4 boats in the pound waiting to go down as we came up. The second pair should have left the lock for us to come up first, but were clearly too impatient, so I had fun manoeuvring in the strong winds.

The wind was making it feel decidedly chilly in the afternoon, especially when the sun went behind the clouds; Sarah had to resort to both hoodie and bodywarmer to keep warm.

We moored up a bit before bridge 100, opposite a farmer’s field where he was busy collecting the hay.

Sarah cooked dinner, and I fixed a broken fastener on the cratch cover. I retreated to the roof as the swans were surrounding the bow looking for food!