Oliver arrives home at last

Hooray! Oliver has made it back home from his adventures. Wow he’s had quite a time of it, and he’s very proud of his shiny new engine and clean engine bay.

Our morning started with Braunston Tunnel almost immediately, so it was on with the lights and into the gloom. We had a clear run without any other boats, and being fit for 2-way traffic navigating it was a lot easier than Harecastle.

It's dark, cold and wet!
It’s dark, cold and wet!

The next big challenge were the infamous Buckby Locks with their monstrously heavy gates. Luck was on our side once again though; as we turned the corner of Norton Junction we could see another boat just going into the top lock, so we quickly nipped in with them and we went down the flight together. Phew!

We were in need of refreshment after that, so stopped off at the Heart of the Shires for lunch, and my first proper latte for a long time. I had the cheese ploughman’s and Sarah went for a very tasty looking pork, stuffing and apple baguette

Finally a proper Latte!

Feeling reinvigorated it was then a short trip to Stowe Hill for refuelling, and then back to the marina for a pump out. It was lovely to be back and meet up with friends at the marina, but sad that our adventures have come to an end (for now!)

To Braunston

Our aim for today was to get to Braunston Top Lock No 6, settings ourselves up for one last hop back to base. We woke up to mist and sunshine, and temperatures of 6.5C

Another lovely morning!
Another lovely morning!

By lunchtime we’d reached the lovely Hilmorton Locks  where Sarah did a grand job on the locks and we whizzed through nice and quickly

Sarah at Hillmorton
Sarah at Hillmorton

We were really lucky going up the Braunston flight, as there was a steady stream of other boats coming down so we had just about every lock set ready for us and many helping hands – expecially when Sculptor came down with it’s crew of Canal and River Trust volunteers, on their way to the boatyard for blacking.

We then tied up on the visitor moorings at the top – a bit of a phone blackspot hence the delayed blog updates. A quick bit of fishing for old rope in the weed hatch and then we had a restful last night on the cut.

The water's getting too chilly to spend much time clearing the weed hatch
The water’s getting too chilly to spend much time clearing the weed hatch

Misty Moisty Morning

It was a misty moisty morning, and sunny was the weather.

A misty moisty morning
A misty moisty morning

Everything was soaked when we got up from all the rain the previous evening, and it was a chilly 7C, but the sun was trying hard to shine through

Sun shining through the mist
Sun shining through the mist

By lunchtime it was a lovely sunny day, and in the sun it was quite warm.


We made the most of it and cracked on through the Atherstone flight of locks in the morning, with the welcome assistance of some volunteer lock keepers and others from the queue of 5 boats all going up, and a fair few coming down too. It was a marked contrast to the small number of boats we’d seen on the move on Friday and Saturday.

We then turned off the Coventry canal and on to the Oxford at Hawkesbury junction – probably my favourite turn on the waterways. Naturally, I executed it with aplomb – good job too given all the punters enjoying the beer and sunshine at the pub whilst gongoozling.

This evening we’ve moored up outside Ansty for the night, which should set us up to get back to the marina for Tuesday evening if all goes well, or Wednesday if not!

Rain Runners and Sugar Munchers

A chilly night with temperatures down to 7 degrees, Toby didn’t want to get up this morning, and the thought of having to wear his thermals didn’t offer much encouragement. We knew heavy rain was forecast for today, what we didn’t know was could we out run it. A misty morning and only two locks  which were set against us.

A misty morning on the canals
A misty morning on the canals

Only 20 mins of cruising and it started to spit, and by the time we had the wet gear on, it was proper raining.

 wet selfie - note we had five layers of clothing on by this time!
wet selfie – note we had five layers of clothing on by this time!

We finally moored up at abut 11.15, the heating was on and an afternoon of reading the papers and eating – a late brunch and then afternoon cake and custard

cake and custard for afternoon break. I'm sure you can guess which bowl belongs to me!
cake with a moat of custard for afternoon break. I’m sure you can guess which bowl belongs to me!