I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday 10 May 2023

May 2023 - Dunchurch Pools, Braunston to (almost) Crick Tunnel

Dunchurch Pools Marina (Oxford Canal) – Sunday 7th May

After the wonderful Coronation yesterday, it was time to head to Mary H for our summer cruise.  We had stayed at home to watch the Coronation as we have a better TV than on the boat and I’m so glad we did!

It was a good day to travel as the only lorries on the road were ones carrying fresh produce and, oh yes, Home Bargains lorries!

We are late starting our cruise as we have both had bad backs.  Richard’s is better but mine is still playing me up.  I just hope it holds out, not like last year when we had to go home early.

Richard had already been up to Mary H to get her ready for the summer and she looks super shiny! 

As I opened the side hatch, I got such a surprise!  This is our first spring on our new berth which is on an end.  I believe the swans return each year to this spot.  Sadly, we are leaving tomorrow so won’t see the cygnets hatch.  I’m hoping that someone on the marina Facebook group will post some photos. 

We had front row seats for the Coronation concert.  I played the sound through the Bose speaker so that was brilliant but, of course, the TV isn’t nearly as big, or the picture as good as the one at home.  I hadn’t thought it would matter but the colour and the drones would have looked amazing at home   However the whole spectacle was wonderful and free!

Roys Bridge – Number 87 (Oxford Canal) – Monday 8th May

No cygnets – I had hoped that maybe one would have hatched overnight.

I didn’t sleep well, the ducks were making a racket nearly all night, I don’t know how the people who live in the marina sleep through the hullabaloo!

We were expecting a Sainsburys order between 9.30am and 10.30am.  Richard suddenly realised that as it was a Bank Holiday the goods entrance of the marina would be locked.  We had to wait until the driver phoned to tell us he couldn’t get in and tell him to come to the main entrance but, as he had been here before, he knew that there is a height restriction on that entrance!  We had to jump in the car and drive down to the road and transfer the groceries from his van to the car.  Back at the boat I managed to find a trolley, so we loaded everything into that and took it to the boat.  As usual, at the beginning of a season, there is always a large amount of “stuff”, but I managed to find a home for everything except for tonight’s dinner, but as it is a bit chilly today it won’t hurt.

We set off after lunch as there was a break in the weather, it was cold and damp though.  As we left the marina there was a boat coming in, that has never happened to us before and then, believe it or not, there was a second one coming in too! 

We got as far as Roys Bridge, number 87, which was always the plan, ready to go up the Braunston flight tomorrow.

1.8 miles
0 locks

Home Farm Footbridge - Number 9 (Leicester Line) -Tuesday 9th May

No ducks!!  So, a nice quiet night.

We were away by 9.30am as there was a break in the rain in the morning.  Nothing worse than having to do a flight of locks in the rain.

As we approached Braunston bottom lock there was a boat already in there waiting for us to join them.  It was a Clifton Cruisers boat who had two people on the ground so it should have been easy peasy but there were boats coming down all the time and we got held up by two hire boat crews who turned a lock when they weren’t even in the one above.  That so annoys me!!!!  The crew of the boat sharing with us were really lovely people and we nattered away each time we went into a lock, it made the ascent very enjoyable for me! 

At the lock that was turned on us, I pulled over behind a moored boat to wait.  The chap on the boat said to me, indicating to Muffin, is he the dog with anxiety?!  I had no idea what he meant!  It turns out that he was Eric Moss who is leading the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations) cruise that we are booked on at the end of June.  He recognised our boat name and also the fact that I had said that we have a dog with anxiety problems!  It was lovely to meet him, and we are really looking forward to seeing the Birmingham canals.

The Braunston Top Lock Cottage is for sale.  It looks amazing inside and, I think, reasonably priced at £750,000.  

After Braunston Tunnel we turned off the Grand Union onto the Leicester Line and up to Watford Locks.  There was one boat in front of us and one coming down.  It didn’t take long to make our ascent of 16 metres.  Watford Locks are a flight of 7 locks.  3 singles and a staircase of 4.  As it is imperative to operate the paddles correctly (red before white and you are alright, white before red and you are dead!) there are volunteer lockies helping. 

We had intended on going through Crick Tunnel and away from the M1, but Richard could see black clouds approaching, so he pulled over and moored up just before the rain and thunder came in!

9.37 miles
13 locks

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