Category Archives: Oxford Canal

The Long Journey Home – Part 15

The Long Journey Home – Part 15

Tuesday 19 June 2018

Next Stop, The Thames

We awoke early. The sound of trains was close and loud. Railways were often sighted near the canals they were looking to usurp. Porridge set us up for the day and we were soon onto the pre-checks for narrowboating. Our mooring had been very stable due to the shallow nature of the bank so a little rocking was called for to free us up to move off. We eased off and down the canal, under bridges we had walked under, past boats we had commented upon yesterday and pulled up at Jericho.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - Jericho

Mooring up, we went to watch and discuss the intricacies of Isis Lock with a boater who was going through it. We obtained a better understanding of how we would take the sharp turn and which channel to take. Forewarned and thus forearmed, we decided to walk on into Oxford and have a Vegetarian breakfast at Cafe from Crisis – excellent food and all the money goes to funding homelessness and in training people who want to go into the food industry.

We walked back to MIRRLESS, cast off and set to entering The Thames. I’d nipped in front of another narrowboat coming down the canal (as much as you can ‘nip’ in front of anyone at 1-2 miles per hour) and mu jumped off and started the lock. The guy who had provided the information earlier was moored at the pontoon (there’s an intricate manoeuvre that involves turning the boat on lines but we agreed that was for when the river was in full flood, with a strong current). The boat following helped with the lock so mu could get straight back on board. So, with a couple of reverses, we swung straight onto The Thames.

Under the railway bridge, ‘umming’ and ‘aarhing’ about which way to turn (there were no signs) but to port had us heading South on The Thames.

Osney Lock

The Thames was calm and fairly soon we came to Osney Lock. A little too soon! We weren’t expecting it. It was around a slight bend, out of plain sight and flanked by two weirs! Luckily the weir flow was minimal but it was a hair-raising experience to pull over and get moored up temporarily, on pontoons, just before the lock. The lock was ‘our way’ and the lock keeper (most Thames locks under the Environment Agency’s control have lock keepers) told us what to do and how to do it – one person on the front and rear ropes, wrap around a bollard in the lock and feed the rope as you lower, turn your engine off. He also relieved us of over £41 for a two day river licence. We were expecting this to be £12 and for three days. The heat was on.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - Big Lock!

We were aiming for Abingdon, we were on the river Thames or Isis and the width after the narrowness of the Oxford canal was vast! We could drive at full speed (ha ha) and manoeuvre with ease.

Iffley lock was next.

Sanford lock followed afterwards.

By the time we had reached Abingdon Lock we were confident and professional. Abingdon Lock protects boaters from a giant weir. We moved just after the lock against a steep bank with other boaters. The weir was to our starboard and it sounded like The Falls of Rauros. More Tokienesque literary references.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - MIRRLESS Moored at Abingdon

Abingdon

We walked into Abingdon which has some lovely old buildings. The Throwing Buns Coffee House created a fantastic latte, great guy running it who had created a great style and atmosphere. After sitting in the main centre enjoying a coffee and then visiting a garden, we walked back to MIRRLESS. We ate sausage and mash (Vegetarian of course) before walking back along side of The Thames to Abingdon, to The Nag’s Head.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - The Water's Edge

This was a beautiful pub in an idyllic location. A pint of Mosaic Pale Ale and Symond’s Founder’s Reserve Cider outside, in the Summer’s evening, watching the river.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - An End to the Day

Back at MIRRLESS we watched a flotilla of 27 Geese as counted by mu (a veritable gaggle). 28 upon recount. Followed by 7 Canadian Geese plus 2 stragglers, making 37 in total. The noise of the weir (or ‘Falls…’) was continuous but was pleasantly comforting. Everything faded into night, leaving only the weir.

The Long Journey Home - Part 15 - Next Stop, The Thames - Looking Across

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 15

The long Journey Home - Part 14
The long Journey Home - Part 13
The Long Journey Home - Part 12
The Long Journey Home - Part 11
The Long Journey Home - Part 10 
The Long Journey Home - Part 9
The Long Journey Home - Part 8
The Long Journey Home - Part 7
The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
The Long Journey Home - Part 1 

The Long Journey Home – Part 14

The Long Journey Home – Part 14

Monday 18 June 2018

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Narrowboat Artwork image
Narrowboat Artwork

Onto The Thames – Nearly

We awoke to the day we would enter onto The Thames. The sun was out, a boat had been past and we weren’t adrift – a good start to the day.

Tea, Best Drink of the Day

Tea clarified the task we had to undertake and as we thought more about it, we decided we needed more information (and probably tea). Rather than just setting off and hoping, we decided we would spend the day in Oxford. We wanted to walk to Isis Lock and see the entrance to The Thames before attempting it in a boat. The Thames river is under the auspices of the Environment Agency, not the Canal and River Trust and as such, required a separate licence to travel on. Luckily, a short pass can be purchased from the first (or subsequent) lock on The Thames proper (not Isis), for a small fee.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Artwork

The walk from our mooring, along the towpath took us from Wolvercote (The Wolvercote Tongue), through Woodcock (The Last Bus to Woodcock) and onto Jericho (The Walls of Jericho) and then on to the Bodleian Libray and Brasenose Lane where further episodes of Inspector Morse were represented. We were walking through the history of Colin Dexter’s creations, as represented by the TV Series.

Isis oh Isis

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Isis Lock Sign image

The Isis Lock was a less daunting prospect than we had thought it to be, the water levels were Green and as no rain was forecast, all looked well for the next day. The turn at Isis Lock is a sharp one with two options to travel on The Thames and one blocked off with buoys as non-navigable. There are complex instructions on mooring to a pontoon, pushing the back of the boat out, ‘walking’ it along the pontoon to turn it, then off. As the water looked today, I would have been tempted to power straight around but would check before we went.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Bridge 243 Isis Lock image

Walking over the lock bridge: a black and white iron one similar to the one at Braunston, we made friends with a beautiful little cat that would have made a great boat cat. It tip toed along the bridge hand rail, deftly jumping off and back up, craving affection. It lost interest after a while.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - River Thames Sign image

With the journey recce’d, we decided to walk into the centre of Oxford. I knew there was a newly opened exhibition of Tolkien’s work as a world builder and as we were here, was hoping to see it.

Worldbuilder

After coffee to kickstart the morning (the walk had been a sizeable one), we went in search of the Bodleian Library. Across the road from it, at The Weston Library we found the exhibition and the excellent thing was, it was free admission! We had to obtain tickets but admission was immediate.

It was an excellent exhibition! It put Tolkien’s work in perspective, in the place where he had created the masterpieces: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion and many others. There was a full body of his original artwork and manuscripts for each of the key books. Other works were represented, along with books in different languages and jacket covers but also; two interactive maps. There was so much more and it was a haven for anyone remotely interested in Fantasy (or even if you hate it! Which is blasphemy, of course) to see. I’m so glad I got to see it and mu found it really interesting and inspiring to see what Tolkien did and how he did it. I bought the mug!

The walk back was long, slow and hot. It seemed a lot longer than the walk into Oxford. Several stretches of the Oxford Canal here are designated Conservation areas, with no mooring. This meant that the urban aspect of the canal was very much muted back into the countryside.

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - Undergrowth image

All Hands to The Plough

Back at MIRRLESS we frosted the bathroom window and mu made a curry. Afterwards, although it would have been nice to find another pub, The Plough was so near and the beer and cider so nice that we decided to visit there again. After sitting outside for a while in the garden, we decided to retire inside so I could recharge my phone. No engine running means no inverter so no 240 Volt converted down to 5 volt access (or something like that). Thank heavens for pubs!

The Long Journey Home - Part 14 - Onto The Thames - Nearly - MIRRLESS Moored

Boat name of the day: Calcifer – from Howl’s Moving Castle I believe.

Footnote

Once we get MIRRLESS back, we want to get MiFi: a WiFi hotspot set up, a 12-volt fridge to replace the current 240-volt one. We have to keep running it whilst MIRRLESS’ engine is running, via the inverter, then turn it off when we stop. A marina hook-up would provide power but at a cost.

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 14

The Long Journey Home - Part 13
The Long Journey Home - Part 12
The Long Journey Home - Part 11
The Long Journey Home - Part 10 
The Long Journey Home - Part 9
The Long Journey Home - Part 8
The Long Journey Home - Part 7
The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
The Long Journey Home - Part 1 

The Long Journey Home – Part 13

The Long Journey Home – Part 13

Sunday 17 June 2018

Awakened to the Sound of Rain

The Long Journey Home – Part 13 - Awakened to the Sound of Rain
The View From Here…

We awoke to the sound of light rain announcing its arrival on the Pigeon Box, above our heads in the bedroom. No, I hadn’t taken up pigeon fancying, not that there’s anything wrong with it. It’s a traditional Northern pastime. A Pigeon Box is the name for the raised box ‘skylight’ on the roof of a narrowboat. They are normally hinged and can be brightly painted.

Cast Adrift

This was a new experience as up until now, the weather had been perfect with no rain at all. As it was Sunday and we only had a short journey this day, we lay hoping it would stop so we could at some point set off. As I got up to make a cup of tea , a boat passed that seemed to be moving a little fast. The next thing we knew, the stern of the boat was across the canal!

The mooring had come loose. I had to edge along the starboard gunnel to get to the centre line, walk halfway back and throw out the line for mu to pull us back in to land. On inspecting the mooring pin, the loop was found to have snapped off! The ring sat on the stern of the boat with the rope. The mooring spike was still behind the metal siding of the canal bank. It may have been that I looped the rope through the ring only and didn’t pass it around the spike itself. I would have to try that in future. It must have been a combination of no flex and loop only (and old mooring spike) that cast us adrift. We were just glad it happened while we were aboard.

Thrupp

The rain had stopped by now so we set about planning the day’s trip: Thrupp and beyond.

The journey to Thrupp saw us saying goodbye to The Rock of Gibraltar, winding our way slowly past liveaboard boaters, on through a lock and on to the River Cherwell; our first river. There was an outfall of water from a large pipe from a cement works, hidden behind greenery that pushed us over to the wrong side as we passed under a railway bridge. It always amazes me how a small flow of water can shift a 19 ton metal hull! My newly found skills didn’t fail me however and we passed unscathed. This time. The Cherwell itself was a millpond by comparison.

Pull Up, Fill Up and Splash Out

At the end of the short river section, we passed through the lock, back onto the Oxford canal. Boat after boat seemed to be coming out of Thrupp but after several stops, groundings and re-attempts at moving forward to let them pass, we got to the Thrupp service area – a motorway service station of the canal. We could fill up with water from the water tap and empty our toilet at the Elsan point, not getting them mixed up. We had to wait; backwards, forwards, turn the engine off, turn the engine on. It was like treading water in a 19 ton swimming costume! Finally we got to pull up, fill up and splash out!

After the basics were completed we passed under a lift bridge, our first electronically-operated by key but only after lots of manoeuvring did we make it through. Once again, for the final time, we went to Annie’s Tearoom for tea, coffee and toasted teacake (after washing our hands). It was as good as ever.

On From Thrupp

The stop at Thrupp had been a lot longer one than anticipated but refuelled, we set off. We were back on the long journey home. The slow drive past boat upon boat in this popular area continued after a short break with Kiddlington.

The Long Journey Home – Part 13 - Awakened to the Sound of Rain - In a Lock

More moored boats. Travelling at such a slow speed lets you appreciate the environment you are in. You feel an affinity with the places you pass through. It is so unlike driving a car or travelling by train. Kiddlington was our first real urban part of a canal. After all the countryside with: fields, Flag Iris, Lilly pads and flowers, reeds, woodland and Elizabeth Lace, the urban views were a change. However, the canalside, even through built up areas keeps a degree of the aforementioned. You can still pass by much of the flora and fauna of canal life.

Toward Oxford

The Long Journey Home – Part 13 - Awakened to the Sound of Rain - MIRRLESS Moored Before a Lock

Oxford has set aside residential moorings under Agenda 21 and it is here that some of the more eccentric narrowboats can be found. There’s a wealth of character compared to the sterile hire boats that pass up and down the canal at this time of year. The patina of age should be embraced as the Japanese embrace Wabi Sabi.

Time was now passing on and we were looking for a mooring space. At a locked lift bridge we had trouble unlocking it with the key (you get a key which unlocks all the bridges and avoids people casually leaving them up). I was drifting into a moored boat and it didn’t take long for the owner to jump out, help push me away and then run around and help mu open the obstinate bridge. It was a known issue. A little further beyond, 48 hour moorings were to be found. They were mostly full but after a couple of tries, I managed to get MIRRLESS near enough to the overgrown bank (greenery of every kind is rampant at this time of year), get the centre line thrown out and pulled in to halt for the evening.

We had moored at Wolvercote. Here started several Inspector Morse references. The Wolvercote Tongue is one of my favourite Inspector Morse episodes.

The Plough

Looking out of the galley window, across a bridge and a field The Plough could be seen, beckoning. After the now well-versed mantra of: turn the water pump off, check we’ve got the keys, lock the stern doors outside (as well as inside) and put a makeshift curtain in place in the front window, we walked over bridge 32b to The Plough.

Greene King East Coat IPA (a nice refreshing, modern pint) and Lilley’s Cider for mu. As it was Father’s Day mu treated us to actual food: vegetable curry and vegetable chillie. You would have found me that evening reading The One Tree – The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson.

We went to sleep dreaming of leaving Isis Lock and moving out onto the Thames with all the trepidation that brings…

Boat name of the day: Gallifrey – Doctor Who: the planet where the Doctors come from.

Here ends The Long Journey Home – Part 13

The Long Journey Home - Part 12
The Long Journey Home - Part 11
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The Long Journey Home - Part 9
The Long Journey Home - Part 8
The Long Journey Home - Part 7
The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
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The Long Journey Home – Part 7

The Long Journey Home – Part 7

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Grounded By the Blight

The Long Journey Home – Part 7 saw us driving Mirrless the short distance to  Anyho Wharf and filling up with water.

Long Journey Home - Part 7 - Water Point image
Water Point

I spoke with the couple running the marina chandlery. They both new the South West and Bristol, having connections there. They talked about their history and their boat. It’s always good to hear about other people’s boats, you can learn a lot from other people’s experiences both wittingly and unwittingly.

A smooth pull away left two boats from two different directions scrabbling for the services – “the early boater catches the water point”. From that point , the day’s journey went well. Another hot sunny day (so more washing done al fresco) and no overheating. We kept the first part of the journey deliberately short and moored by a vast open meadow on the towpath side and had lunch. An idyllic setting.

The Canal is a V-shaped Ditch

With the engine cooled and watered, we set off to pass under bridge 198. However, before we could reach it, we encountered, yet again on a bend ‘the blight of the canal’ – an oncoming boat. The normal line of narrowboating is down the centre of a canal (it’s where it’s deepest) but pulling over to the side from the centre of the canal is obviously necessary, to avoid collision. However, it is also fraught with danger, the danger of grounding. The canal is basically a v-shaped ditch. You travel down the centre as, mentioned above this is the deepest part but upon meeting another vessel, travelling in the opposite direction, you move to the right (or Starboard). Both sides are generally thick with silt, stones and if you’re particularly unlucky; old prams, trolleys, safes and even the occasional Windlass!

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Upon meeting a narrowboat coming in the opposite direction, at the bend, I duly pulled to starboard and got grounded. Not just a bit stuck but grounded. No amount of reverse engine thrust/forward engine propulsion helped. Mu wielded our bargepole like a knight of the realm but Mirrless wouldn’t budge. After several goes, two guys from a boat moored in a nearby spot to ourselves came over, with another bargepole. Pushing, grunting, rocking, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth ensued. It took a good 15 minutes but thanks to Matt and Anthony we freed. Just like that, as if nothing had happened. Thanks guys, wee’d still be there if it wasn’t for your help.

Lower Hayford Wharf

Long Journey Hone - Part 7 - View image
View

We travelled on, approaching Lower Hayford Wharf and moored just after our first encounter with an ‘electric’ lift bridge. Fortunately, it was being operated by a reluctant Texan narrowboater. This was good because all our previous encounters had been of the manual kind. It looked different, like a normal bridge and we could have just sailed straight under this one, thinking it was a normal bridge – smash!

Earlier in the day I had called Whilton Marina and River Canal Rescue (RCR) as we were still using a hell of a lot of water for cooling (the boat, not mu and myself). Although we hadn’t overheated, it seemed a distinct possibility and I needed the issue resolving, once and for all. All the water going into cooling our engine meant there was less for showering, washing up and all the other liveaboard chores. It was  a hot day, RCR were maxed out but would get someone to us. By 19:00, we felt they would be coming the next day so we went off in search of The Bell (our namesake pub). It was over the lift bridge we had passed under earlier. the Texan was no longer there.

The Bell(s)

The Bell was very old and had a large garden and served a beautiful pint of ‘Symphony’ from Salopian Brewery and ‘The Hogfather’ cider from The Orchard Pig. Settled into the garden with two other couples from narrowboats, the sun was still up but trees provided shade. Admiring the thatched and stone buildings of this Oxfordshire village, the evening was pleasant. Then, my phone rang. It was RCR, they would be with us in 30 minutes. They had been working in London and had been caught up in the traffic out. I had to down my pint, use the facilities, then route march back through the village. On the way, two RCR vans had just pulled up at the swing bridge. Well met. I regaled them with Tales; of the overheating variety but they were confident they could fix the problem.

“Probably just an air bubble in the skin tank”.

Bleeding Engine

The engine being installed in a Traditional style narrowboat means one thing, it’s a beggar to access. Two young marine engineers checked over every part of the cooling system and surmised it was indeed an airlock in the skin tank. They undid and did up union clips, thus bleeding the system. The engine was ran for a period of time with its pressure cap off and got to a point where water didn’t drain from the Bowman reservoir tank.

As they left, the sun was setting and I was advised to run the engine with the cap off for 30 minutes, then let it cool before closing the engine. The engineers still had two further calls to make!

Celebration

As the engine cooled, I felt we had got to the bottom of the overheating problem and it would be all ‘plain sailing’ from here onwards. Mu and I celebrated in time-honoured fashion with a cup of tea.

Here completes The Long Journey Home – Part 7.

The Long Journey Home - Part 6
The Long Journey Home - Part 5
The Long Journey Home - Part 4
The Long Journey Home - Part 3
The Long Journey Home - Part 2
The Long Journey Home - Part 1

The Long Journey Home – Part 2

The Long Journey Home – Part 2

Friday 1 June 2018

The Folly at Bottom Lock

The Long Journey Home – Part 2 saw us awake to a misty morning that cleared quickly then walk into Braunston, a mile hike to find a shop for vegetables and fruit (to fight off scurvy) and the lure of a bakery. A shiny golden Hovis sign proved a false prophet as the place had closed down ages ago and was now a house. A supermarket materialised (small, local) where we picked up supplies and then walked back, down to the canal.

Cast off, not castaway

We cast off, professionally. A kind of side launch and set off on our journey, after making basic checks (and ringing Whilton Marina to discuss the engine water holding tank – always willing to help. Can’t praise them highly enough).

No locks for this journey but a twisting and winding part of the canal. I thought canals were straight! Some are but many follow the contours of the land. This one certainly did – it was like a snake! The combination of contour-following canal, boats moored on bends, oncoming boats, a decidedly under-powered, small, outboard speedboat that owed more than a nod to Gerry Anderson, undergrowth and the concentration required not to crash, it was a challenging stretch. I only managed to bounce, buoy to buoy off one moored boat so I was pleased 🙂

The Snake

One thing of note was a grass snake swimming in the canal, just past a duck. I had no idea they could swim but apparently, they are very good swimmers (noted on a local information board). It’s the first time I have seen a grass snake in the wild.

The Bottom Lock

Long Journey Home - Part 2 - View of the Day 2 image

We continued on to just before Napton Bottom Lock. We were in two minds whether or not to push on through but there were 9 locks. In the end, we decided to just moor just around the corner from the bridge, before the lock. It was a beautiful afternoon and a beautiful location. I used my British Waterways Board key to access a water point to fill some bottles with water. We walked 5 of the locks before tea and then went to The Folly Inn, where there was local cider on draught and a beautifully refreshing bitter called Shagweaver from North Cotswold Brewery. It couldn’t have been better. We sat out in the garden watching sheep & lambs eat their supper before walking to the edge of the village, then back to Mirrless to watch the sun set.

Long Journey Home - Part 2 - The Folly at Napton image

Thanks once again to The Rock of Gibraltar pub for the Wifi for the upload (and phone charge).

Here completes The Long Journey Home – Part 2.

The Long Journey Home - Part 1
rp – peace and narrowboats

The Long Journey Home – Part 1

The Long Journey Home – Part 1

Thursday 31 May 2018

Baptism of Fire

It was always going to be a trek, so in The long journey home – Part 1 we set off. We left Whilton Marina at 12:40 with two members of the Whilton Marina sales team on board to help us manoeuvre backwards off the pontoon and turn in the marina, to exit under the marina bridge onto the Grand Union Canal. We chickened out on attempting this ourselves in honour of the other resident’s boats – we wanted to leave them intact.

Lock 13

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - Lock 13 - our first lock image
The First One!

We turned left under the marina bridge (well, the Whilton Marina sales team member did) straight up to Lock 13 of the Buckby Lock Flight (Whilton Lock). A mere 100 yards. I jumped off with one of the team to watch how the locks were operated (mu was already there), whilst the other member brought Mirrless into the lock.

“So, how do you operate a lock then? You don’t open the gate paddles first, do you?”.

“I don’t know. I haven’t actually operated a lock before”.

🙂

The boat was in the lock with another narrowboat (this conserves water in a double width lock). Their hand was doing all the work.

“We need the Windlass” (thats the lock handle you use to open the lock – no Windlass, no lock access).

“It’s on the boat!” Which was now sitting at the bottom of a deep lock, waiting to be filled.

Too Many Cooks

By now, we had now been joined by another Whilton Marina sales team member; Adrian so, the sight of 5 people on a boat, stood around while one person operated the lock must have looked bad. It was all taken in good jest once the lock buddy understood we were novices, we were being shown how to helm the boat, this was our maiden voyage, and we were 2 minutes in and out first lock, ever!

Once through, the Whilton Marina sales team left but not before taking a photo of us, off on our journey.

At this point, I had got back on the boat and was actually driving the boat. This was good as this would be my role for the foreseeable future. Mu seemed to have got the hang of the locks straight off. If only the same applied to my helming the craft…

We went up 6 locks with the couple in the other narrowboat and both learned a lot in a short time. This is where they left us and mu operated the 7th lock on her own. We carried on, past Norton Junction and on to the Braunston Tunnel.

The Bowels of the Canal

Pulling into the side (meaning the bushes and shallows) to prepare for the tunnel of doom (sorry Ben), another boat drove straight past and in. I was being overly cautious in case a boat was already coming through. It turns out that this pinhole of a tunnel was wide enough for two narrowboats to pass. The tunnel was wide enough for two narrowboats to pass? I turned on the headlight (it literally is a car headlight) and followed the boat that had slipped in.

Into the dark, dripping bowels of the canal system. It was a long bowel section. Neither was it straight. It looked like it had been resected several times (from the little you could see of it in the dark). It must have been at least 45 minutes to travel through the 2042 yard long tunnel and it wasn’t without incident. The dark, the dripping water, the cool aspect were fine, it was the clanging off the brickwork sides and bouncing off a boat half way through that came at speed.

“So sorry”.

“It’s OK, it’s a contact sport”

Eventually the green light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t hallucination, it was actually the way out. Made it!

Out, in the glorious sunshine we pushed on a little further to moor up, just outside the tunnel, at Top Lock No. 6. for a well-earned cup of tea.

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - View of the Day 1 image
Out of the Window

Refreshed, we decided to push on further and pass through another 6 locks; the last four mu had to fill and operate alone so by the end, she and I were exhausted.

The Boathouse

We moored up in Braunston, outside The Boathouse Marston’s pub, across the canal. We enjoyed well-earned pints, sitting outside looking across at Mirrless but then the rain started, so we decided to adjourn inside and listened to Northern Soul in an empty pub, with no-one but the cleaners.

The rain came to nothing but lightening and thunder behind the clouds carried on for a while, drifted into the far distance and then fizzled out. We put up the funnel on the chimney and covered it with a metal waste paper bin, making it look like a very strange wizard (we’d lost it’s natty little tin cap in one of several incidents with bushes.

The great thing was, the Wifi from The Boathouse extended across the canal to Mirrless 🙂

Long Journey Home - Part 1 - Mirrless outside The Boathouse image
Mirrless at Braunston

Thanks to all at Whilton Marina; Fred, Harvey, Adrian, John and Nigel to name a few, for their excellent support.

Thanks to The Rock of Gibraltar pub for the Wifi for the upload.

Here completes The Long Journey Home – Part 1.

rp – peace and narrowboats