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Back to Braunston again

Another blue sky greeted us when we got out of bed on the last day of our journey. We wanted to get up and through the Stockton locks before the traffic built up on what we thought would be a busy, sunny Sunday. By quarter past seven we were on our way to the bottom lock with me steering and Sue on foot. Another early starter in a Calcutt hire boat was in the process of coming down the lock so we waited until he had vacated the chamber before taking our place and beginning our ascent. The steerer told us that they were attempting the Warwickshire ring in a week, an ambitious target but as we are approaching the longest day of the year and with the weather settled for the week, they should manage it but it will be hard work. It soon became clear that they had been tied up at the Blue Lias because after we reached the locks above the pub, the chamber walls were dry and most were either empty or very close to being empty. We met a couple of boats near the top of the flight and that speeded our progress even more, so much so that we managed to leave the tenth lock just ninety minutes after we had started.

Despite the fact that it was still not quite nine o’clock, the temperature was rising nicely as we passed our regular mooring above the bridge next to the Boat Inn. We had a steady run up to the three Calcutt locks where we caught up with a lone locker just below the bottom lock. Between the three of us we soon transcended the flight and with the exception of a slight delay leaving the top lock where we waited while a boat attempted awkwardly to wind above the lock, we were soon out and heading for Wigram’s turn. Our lock buddy was taking his boat to Brinklow for blacking the following day so we settled in behind him at a decent distance and chugged our way back to Braunston turn where, with a cheery wave, we parted company. The journey back was peaceful enough in the sunshine and despite the large number of boats travelling in the opposite direction, it all passed without incident. We did see a pen full of sheep being sheared at the farm by bridge 104, the novelty of which entertained us for a few minutes as we passed by.

Typically, a boat pulled away from the water point near the A45 road bridge, no problem there as they would not have known that we were coming through behind them. We followed them to the marina entrance and then had to wait while they winded their boat. We were hoping that there might be enough empty berths to allow us easy passage on to our pontoon but we were out of luck. We made it in past Havoc II with a little help from another boater who fended us off the bow of the aforementioned narrowboat. Just before we started our manoeuvre, Sue had discovered nb Phyllis May II, pride and joy of Terry Darlington and his wife Monica tied up on the pontoon directly opposite from our own. The adventuring authors are taking a stall at the Braunston historic boat show, no doubt hoping to sell a few signed copies of their books over that weekend.

We spent a little while doing the usual stuff and taking showers before clearing some bits and pieces into the car ready to drive home. Of course we will be back on Thursday evening to make ready for a Friday afternoon departure to start our two week cruise to ….., well we’re still undecided on that one so watch this space.