We started bang on 0800 as the Lock Keeper opened up the gates. The noise from the motorway hadn't been enough to keep us a wake. The wind wasn't at full strength so it was quite okay going through the seven locks (four in a staircase). Mind you Helen is feeling a bit stiff this evening. A staircase is when one lock's bottom/top gate is the top/bottom gate of the next one with no gap between).
Going down the staircase at Watford.
We were not long before we got to Norton Junction and turned right. Unfortunately we hadn't got the camera out! There is a lovely toll house cottage at the junction and a pretty cottage but you wont get to see them this time.
The route was quite picturesque but would have been better if there had been leaves on the trees and the sun shining. We were soon at Braunston Tunnel which is 2042 yds. There is a slight kink in the middle and of course that is where we met the boat coming the other way. No damage done to either boat.
Braunston Tunnel Eastern portal.
Just after the other end of the tunnel is the first of six locks to take you down to Braunston. This is now on the Grand Union canal between London and Birmingham that was widened in 1930's and was made to be broad beam ie locks twice as wide as the other 14 ft instead of 7 ft. This means the gates are extremely heavy and added to Helen's aches. We did the first two on our own and then caught up with a single hander and so that made it easier for both of us. We were to stop at Braunston to post some letters and by a pork pie from the butcher as they are lovely. We also wanted to visit the chandler to buy some stuff. We left again at 1500 after listening to the Archers and the afternoon play. By now the wind was really strong and gusting to make life interesting.
Braunston church and a lovely house.
The triangular round about and bridges at Braunston Junction. To the left to Coventry and Birmingham and to the right the way we had come to London and Nottingham.
The cut from now is quite exposed and mainly from the beam or right ahead so making it quite difficult going round the very many bends on this run. We were heading for Napton Junction which would be a a difficult turn and then the route to our objective would be beam on and exposed over a reservoir and very few place to moor so we decided to stop before the junction and do the rest in the morning. We are pinned by the wind onto this berth and the boat is rocking about in the gusts. I had thought that early in the morning the wind is usually a lot less so it would be easy to get off the berth, it took two of us to push the boat to get enough room to get the fenders in! I have checked the forecast for the morning and unfortunately it is for very much as now! Maybe time for plan B!!
Our resting place this evening.