Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Captain's Log - Monday 19th October

Last Day - We had a leisurely breakfast of bacon sandwiches, no mushrooms left, and set off on the 10 minute journey to the Braunston Tunnel, the second longest of the 4 tunnels on the trip at 2,000m. Glyn took us through with a boat behind and one in front, you don't really have a clue as to how near or far they are. All went well and we then had to negotiate the 6 locks at Braunston, finishing at Lock Number 1, bridges and locks on the Grand Union are all numbered from Braunston.

Shortly afterwards we made our way onto the Oxford Canal at the Norton Junction.We stopped an hour or so late for a final lunch of corned beef, potatoes and Branston and fed the last of the bread and cake to the swans, it was a lovely rural setting in the middle of nowhere, the sun was out and the sky blue. We then set off for the final hour or so of the journey into Calcutt, we negotiated the last lock and that was it - the end of the voyage.

House at Buckby Wharf

House near Norton Junction

Braunston Tunnel entrance

Into the Tunnel

Following another boat

Lock number 1

Shop at Lock number 1

Lock Number 1

Final lunch setting near Napton

Near Napton - shows how Oxford Canal twists

Swans eating last of the bread
It was a great trip !!, the weather was brilliant sunshine over 80% of the days and only a day and a bit of rain. Lots of work, with very little leisure time, just read half a book, no TV, radio or even music the whole trip, the blog took 2 hours a day, connections on a mobile always being irregular, but I feel pleased with the whole trip and feel we have accomplished something worth doing, the Oxford Canal is the prettiest most serene and relaxing part, the lower Thames the most dramatic and challenging, and really enjoyed St Katherine's. If I did again I would probably do the other way round !!!!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Captain's Log - Sunday 17th October

Last but one day, we had full boatman's breakfast before we set out as no rush today. It was a nice special day as we would be passing through our home villages of Bugbrooke, where I live and Nether Heyford, 1,5 miles away, where we both grew up, also lots of visitors from the families.

Before all that we had to negotiate the 2,850m Blisworth Tunnel, that however was fine, we passed one boat on the 30 minute journey through, with no problems. We came out the other side in Blisworth, I was looking out for Marilyn's cousins boat Tanglefoot, which we came across moored in a nice wooded secluded spot, We said hello, I had a tour of Tanglefoot and we filled up with water, then continued on the journey.

By now a lovely blue sky, so great weather again, just one full day's rain, and a bit another day, on the whole trip, we could not have had got better in October, even have a tan.

We headed in to Bugbrooke Wharf and moored up. Sarah, Glyn's daughters Sophie and Trudi, and his mum then joined the boat, for the two mile trip to the Narrow Boat pub in Heyford, Much frivolity and fun was had by all, it is wierd seeing your own village from the canal, it's almost like you have never seen it before, there were also some of the best views of the trip, so an excellent two miles.

Everyone departed at the Narrow Boat except for Glyn and I, with taxiing services provided by Marilyn's brother Geoff (thanks Geoff) We then travelled on towards our evening destination at Bucky Wharf and dinner at the New Inn. As we passed through Weedon, we met Marilyn's sister Ruth and Jim walking to meet us, Jim came on board, to travel with us for the remainder of the day to Buckby Wharf.

We met up with another boat and went through the seven locks together, thus greatly speeding up the transit, with three people working the locks. We were able to moor up a hundred metres or so from the pub. Ruth then arrived and we had a great meal, with great service in the pub. Steak, ale and mushroom pie for me, steak and kidney pudding for Jim and Glyn, Scampi for Ruth, we all drank Old Hooky. the most popular beer on the cruise. With that Jim and Ruth departed and that was our lot for the day.


Water coming over Stoke second top lock

The Navigation Inn - Stoke Bruene
Stoke Bruene
Canal Shop - Stoke Bruene
Emerging from Blisworth Tunnel
Me emerging from Blisworth Tunnel
Tanglefoot - Lisa's boat
Coming into Bugbrooke
Canal Path walkers
Cows drinking from the canal
Bugbrooke bridge sign
Virgin train near canal
Fishing competition near the wharf at Bugbrooke
Fishing and smoking
Speaks for itself
Houses at the wharf
Moored in Bugbrooke
The Wharf
Glyn and his Mum
Sarah, Trudi and Sophie
The new Heyford Marina
The "white" bridge where I used to fish for bream
Me at work
Glyn, his Mum and Marilyn
Me again
Me with Trudi and Soph
Furnace Lane Wharf, Heyford 300 yards from where we lived
Glyn, his Mum and Marilyn again

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Captain's Log - Saturday 16th October

We start the day needing to make up three hours if we want to be at Stoke Bruene for the evening, This means a start at first light, 7am and a 6.30pm finish, going straight through lunch.

We set off to a clear blue sky, the early sunlight is fantastic on the countryside.

Early morning fisherman

Early sunlight on bridge

We make good progress quickly passing through the Soulbury flight of three locks and one or two more, in between I make breakfast, smoked salmon, caviar and toast with some fresh berries from the hedgerows bacon and mushroom sandwiches. I then bake a loaf of bread, this was somewhat compromised by going through the lock during the process, but all ok.

We reach the outskirts of Milton Keynes by 11am the weather by now very cloudy and looking like rain.

Swing bridge in middle of lock at Fenny Stratford
We pick up Marilyn and Janet late morning near Central Milton Keynes, and eat lunch on the run. I by now had a very swollen wrist after a rachet on a lock slipped and the winding handle smacked my wrist. We had lunch on the run, I had some of my bread which was fine.

Yet another heron

The Moose Drool  - A nice boat

Autumn leaves and light in Milton Keynes
The Black Horse - Great Linford

A Robot Sculpture

Old Stratford Junction

Cosgrove Aqueduct - Very wet and windy

As we came to the Cosgrove Aqueduct the wind was very gusty the man on the rights umbrella has blown inside out

View from Aqueduct

Cosgrove bridge

Another nice weir

Another Duck

Another Heron
Glyn and Marilyn
Me with glass of savignon blanc

Winter Service

Marilyn drinking tea

Another pretty weir

House by canal in evening sunlight

Stoke Bruene Lock 13 - our mooring for evening

After the pub.
 After passing through Milton Keynes we steadily made our way to Stoke Bruene arriving at the first lock at 4.45pm, we intended to pass through all 7, but in the end we moored at a nice spot 2 locks down about 80 metres  from the Navigator pub where we were going to spend the evening.

We met up with Glyn's family, Jamie, Sophie, Angie and Marcia, also our friends Sue and Gill came along too, the meal was nice, then we went back to the boat for a drink with Sue and Gill.

A satisfying day as we had caught back up with our itinerary, we now have two relaxing 6 hour days ahead. Through our home villages of Bugbrooke and Heyford tomorrow, with lunch at the wharf about 12.30.