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Braunston to Norton Junction (4.5 miles, 6 locks)

We stayed in Braunston for nearly a week, whilst the weather was a bit wet, so was the towpath!

Mooring on the 14 day mooring in Braunston

The evening before we set off again, we decided to ask Ann and Keith, our friends off narrowboat Oakfield, if they would like to go to the pub for tea.  They jumped at it and a very nice evening was passed in good company.

Renfrew on it's private mooring in Braunston

Opposite our mooring, was narrowboat Renfrew, Renfrew and Lucy, looking in good order despite it's 1936 birthday!

Passing the entrance to Braunston Marina

Again Ann and Keith decided to sacrifice a leisurely morning by coming and helping us up through the 6 double locks to the tunnel.  Our grateful thanks go to them and for some of the photos below as well!

Approaching the first lock 

- flicking the butty down the side as they are double locks

Richard heads for the next lock whilst Ann and I close the gates on the first lock

I take over on the tiller as Richard and Keith open the gates

Leaving the top lock - mooring for a quick cup of tea with Ann and Keith

A rest before the tunnel and chance to say goodbye and thank you to our friends

Setting off again, we discovered that the tunnel light on the bow of the 'big boat' wasn't working, so we stopped again and found the switch inside it had turned off!! Durr....

Approaching the 2042 yard long Braunston Tunnel with a bend in the middle!

The tunnel was drier than we had anticipated.  We would moor the other side and then cycle into Daventry to sent off my 2 parcels of Canal Art to Sawley Marina, following another order.  The we needed to do some food shopping.

Quiet moorings further along the canal the other side of the tunnel

Richard pedals like mad with all the shopping in the trailer

Parcels despatched and shopping done, we made our way back to the boat.  Gently bouncing up the kerb, the trailer suddenly flipped right over and all the shopping fell out from under the cover as we tried to right it.  At this point, it looked like the tray of eggs and everything else had survived...

Lister and Scooby peep out of the bow of the 'big boat'

The next morning, we set off for Norton Junction.  Here we wanted to spend a couple of days getting our jobs done and the boat cleaned after all the muddy ins and outs recently.

Views to die for - before the junction and lots of lovely places to walk the dog (Lister only as Scoob is too disabled nowadays)

As we moored up, we realised our friend Matti was also moored there on his boat 'Old Friends'.  Later his partner Kathy would be joining him, so of course, we had to visit the pub and celebrate seeing them both again!

Beautiful sunset over the fields and Welton village

On closer inspection, the tray of eggs had suffered several casualties.  At least there were enough for 2 omelettes.....

Hillmorton to Braunston (nearly 7 miles!)

  If I could give any recommendation, I would suggest a stop at the Canalchef Cafe on the edge of the canal at Hillmorton.  We went in the other day and had a smashing breakfast after perusing all the canal memorabilis on display.  Really nice people and atmosphere, so I gave them a nice review on Trip Advisor.

Just look at that sky!

Leaving Hillmorton and our friends Ann and Keith (nb Oakfield), we decided to moor next at Braunston Junction.

Beautiful scenery

It was quite busy on the canal, as we passed lots of boaters, usually on bends.

Our first sighting of ducklings this year!

The rolling fields with still very evident 'ridge and furrow' cultivation, which sculptured the landscape for all to see today

Very unusual vessel approaching after the blue narrowboat.  What an ambitious project!

We planned to moor in Braunston, before the junction, meaning we could stay for up to 14 days if we wished.

Beautiful cherry tree outside the shop in Braunston Marina

I moored the butty on the towpath side, whilst Richard took the 'big boat' a little further to the waterpoint.  As soon as he had reversed back to the butty, I noticed Terence on the opposite bank, a fellow Canal Art Artist.  We keep bumping into everyone this year, it's great!

Gongoozler's Rest - floating cafe at the marina entrance in Braunston

Sunday, we decided to go to Gongoozler's Rest for breakfast, because it would be rude not to!  

We seem to have done a lot of spending lately as well, today a set of new batteries for the boat and a solar panel for the butty.   So we can't wait until the first festival Foxton Locks Boat Gathering on the weekend of 19th April, to open our new Gift Shop!

Hawkesbury Junction to Hillmorton (15 miles, 3 locks)

The nice weather permitted us once again to move the boats with ease.

Look at the blossom on this tree!  Beautiful.

Old shepherd's hut - hope you're reading this New Dave cos we thought of you!

It wasn't long before we reached the village of Ansty and for the first time, there were no moored boats lining the canal as traditionally has been the case, with oncoming boats, on the bend....

The M69 looms above the canal

We arrived before Stretton Stop (a swing footbridge across the canal) to be faced with to Rose Narrowboat new hirers just setting off on their holidays coming straight for us in between the off side moored boats and towpath moorers.  So we were 4 abreast as we passed each other and I'm afraid the butty 'glanced' it's stern against a loosely tethered boat , but no harm done.

Stopping for a brief drink and breakfast, Scooby makes friends with a boater's puppy 

Spring lambs everywhere!

Hebe with a patrol notice - how could someone abandon this lovely little boat?

Passing one of the marinas along the North Oxford Canal, boats moored in the entrance, we slowed down.  The crane in the yard was moving an entire workshop, good job it wasn't windy!

Approaching the 250yard Newbold Tunnel - first tunnel this year, just a little one

With a folk music event called Flooded In (in aid of the victims of the recent flooding) being held at the Barley Mow pub in Newbold, we moored further down the towpath in  to do our bit.  It would be rude not to.

No need for the tunnel light in this one!  However, someone we had already passed, had left his light on, we reminded him of course

We met up with a couple called Lindsay and Pete from their narrowboat Happy Daze and had a quick drink in the pub listening to some of the music before we called it a night.  The following morning we discovered, thanks to another boater, that our wooden tub from off the front of the butty had gone for a swim complete with geraniums!  This happened the following night (Lister had barked but we couldn't see anyone) but this time the geraniums in the other tub went for a swim as well.  We moved that morning, not surprisingly!  A drunken prank the first time, pure vicious vandalism the next!

Lister deciding whether to jump off the butty whilst we moored for water before Hillmorton locks

Friends of ours, Ann and Keith from narrowboat Oakfield, met us at the waterpoint before Hillmorton locks with the generous offer of helping us through the 3 pairs of single locks.

Flicking off the cross straps and loosely holding the line, Richard lets me steer the butty onto the other lock

Ann is responsible for all these great photos, so our thanks to her.

Scoob takes it all in whilst we 'lock up' the butty

Luckily all the way, the locks were empty, ie all in our favour, so Ann and Keith opened the gates and helped with paddles, making them so easy for us!

Approaching the second pair of locks, easy peasy with the gates already open!

Me on the butty, lining up for the last pair of locks

Coming out of the top lock ready to moor up

We enjoyed doing locks with a crew, it was so slick, it was untrue!  I offered Ann and Keith a job, unpaid with lots of antisocial hours but lots of drinks, but they declined, hey ho......

Hawkesbury Junction to Coventry and straight back again! (10 miles)

We've had a quick trip into Coventry and back again, just because we should have done it years ago.

Comfortably Numb and Echoes - piccy courtesy of narrowboat Islonian (Jim and Sheila) Thanks 

Yesterday morning, we set off to Coventry once the thick fog had subsided a little, on a mission to complete the rest of the Coventry canal.

Proper foggy as we approach and pass the junction

The bridge over the junction entrance with the Greyhound Inn presiding over it

Decorative ironwork over the footbridge

Random settee with decorative cr*p all over it.... 

Tiny marina through the bridge

We were astounded by the lack of pride in this canal, as every inch of beautiful historic and modern structure has some form of graffiti over it.

At least the road bridge lights still worked!

We passed under the busy M6 and followed the largely straight canal towards Coventry.

Beautiful mural adorning this building

The 'Cash Hundreds' - 3 storey workers' cottages providing housing for Joseph Cash's workforce with their individual weaving rooms on the third floor.  Originally 100 were intended, but only 48 ever built.

The new footbridge over the canal

Moored along the terminus of the basin

Lady Godiva statue in the square in Coventry

The picture above proves that we did venture into the town and leave our beloved boats in the basin. Everything was fine when we got back, but we just didn't get a good feeling about the place, especially seeing the doors of a nightclub leading out opposite our boat mooring!

Brindley statue in the basin - the basin is in the shape of a Y

Impossibly small bridge hole leading into the basin. So chimneys off again, as we tried to line the boats and get through without touching the sides!

So we set off again, once the dogs had had stretched their legs, knowing it would only take around 2 hours to get back to the junction.

View back at the Y shaped basin, with shops down one side and offices the other.  A very nice basin.

We passed and spoke to Maffi on his boat The Milly M, another fellow blogger

The Ricoh Stadium - home of Coventry City Football Club

As we had ambled along the canal, a chap approached Richard on the towpath shouting at him to sell our boats to him.  It could have been a bit intimidating because the guy didn't know what 'I'm not interested' meant for a while.  He offered Richard £15 grand cash today!  Downright cheek!  Obviously he'd not had his medication, but he was a big chap and so we knew going back to the junction was the right call!

Electric Wharf - One of the buildings on the site of the old power station with lettering on them.  This one says CABLE if read from the side

Richard taking an arty perspective picture under the M6

We got back and refilled the water tank etc, then slowly drifted around under the iron bridge to be greeted by another fellow blogger  narrowboat Yarwood, before passing through the  shallow 'stop' lock called Sutton Stop at Hawkesbury Junction marking the start of our journey onto the Oxford Canal......