Tuesday, 2 October 2018

1-2 October: Along the North Oxford Canal to Braunston

Monday 1 October: on our way to Hawkesbury Junction, and on to the North Oxford Canal to bridge 35, past Stretton Stop (12 miles, 1 lock)
A cold, overcast morning in Coventry Basin saw us up, lighting the fire, taking our picture with Brindley, chatting with our neighbour and setting out. Diggers and builders were back working on large housing developments which have succeeded the old factories nearer to the city centre. Out towards bridge 4a there is a basin full of moored boats, and the west canal side is still industrial. At bridge 6, we stopped for Liana to visit Tesco again. We emptied rubbish and loo holding tanks at the Sutton Stop services, then passed under the famous junction bridge for Liana to see Annie through the stop lock, the only one today. Past numerous moored boats, electricity sub-station and huge pylons, we headed into the country, stopping at Ansty for soup and sandwiches. This is very close to the M69-M6 junction. We continued through Stretton Stop, where the swing bridge seems to be left open now, because the adjacent railway was very busy with Virgin trains. Once through a beautiful cutting in All Oaks Wood, edged with mature Oak trees, we moored away from the railway near bridge 35, with a number of like-minded boaters. John cleaned brasses while Liana cooked. The headlamp is getting there!

2 October: past Rugby, through Hillmorton Locks to Braunston (12 miles, 3 locks)
Dull, overcast, but dry, we passed Brinklow and Lime Tree Marinas before passing through Newbold Tunnel (we often visit the churchyard and view the old one, too) and skirting Rugby. The three paired locks at Hillmorton gave Liana something to do! She has missed lockwheeling.
We waited a minute to go through the short 205 yard Newbold Tunnel alone, as the headlamp is disconnected. We sometimes moor here, visit the old boaters pubs and walk to the churchyard to view the old tunnel entrance. Onwards, under the M45, past the Hungry Horse Royal Oak pub and through gently hilly Northamptonshire country to Barby Marina, where Annie spent her first winter. These hill spurs explain the long twists and turns of the original canal,  before the straightening which occurred in the 1840s.  A mile further, a large, swish, new marina is now open, with a new entrance bridge designed like one of the Braunston old turn cast iron bridges.
Reaching Braunston, John visited Midland Chandlers, who are selling Pearsons Guides for £11.95, although they were printed with the £9.95 price. Odd, and not a brilliant advert for them. The shop is well organised, however.
We moored just past The Old Turn, and used the Marstons Wifi from The Boathouse :)

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