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A long and sunny day

When we looked at the weather on Thursday morning and saw that we were to expect rain and high winds on Friday and Saturday, we decided to make the best of the weather and head for home.

Nasty looking weather forecast

Nasty looking weather forecast

It was nine o’clock when we got underway, later than we would have been had we been planning to travel but still early enough to get some distance behind us. We weren’t alone, it seemed like fifty percent of the boats in Braunston had decided to leave the area at the same time so there was the usual chaos at bridges, water points and of course at the junction. The traffic soon settled down as we got out into the open countryside and although there were plenty of boats on the move, we encountered no problems and reached the locks at Hillmorton just two hours later. A sufficient number of boats and lock keepers meant that we cleared the three locks in forty minutes before pulling on to the water point. The great progress that we had made thus far was wiped out by the slow running water tap, taking almost an hour to fill Caxton’s tank. By the time we set off again, the sun was beating down and the temperature was soaring with just a light breeze blowing to keep things bearable. No mooring space at Rugby and nothing really suitable at Newbold although we did tie up temporarily before the tunnel for a shopping stop at the local Co-op. We were on our way again just after three and had decided to aim for somewhere between Ansty and Hawkesbury. Sue took the helm for a few hours to give me a break and we had a great afternoon. The miles and hours flew by as we listened to music in the afternoon sunshine. We passed through Ansty and sort of forgot that we should have been looking for a mooring spot, suddenly we were at Hawkesbury and had to stop for the shallow lock there. Safely and smoothly around the 180 degree turn in front of the Greyhound pub where the outdoor customers always take an interest in boats in the hope that there will be a mistake made. Their heads automatically turn towards the water but soon turn back again when they realise that there is no entertainment for them. Clouds were starting to build and the sun was getting lower in the sky by the time we turned at Marston junction on to the Ashby canal. Finally, we stopped and tied up just before bridge three, had something to eat and then flopped in our chairs for the evening. Our twenty six mile trip with its six locks had taken us ten hours, an average of three lock miles per hour – not bad going at all.

The rain came overnight, the heaviest being just before five o’clock but it had slowed to no more than a steady drizzle by the time we awoke on Friday morning. I got up and dressed at half past seven, Caxton’s engine burst into life fifteen minutes later and we were off. The cabin door opened a few minutes later and a coffee appeared, a short while later the door opened again and this time a bacon sandwich was thrust into my hand with the promise of another when I was ready. As expected, the trip back to Hinckley was quiet enough with only a handful of boats on the move, partly due to the time of day and partly down to the rain. We were back on our berth in the marina before ten o’clock and back home a short time later. Two hours of rain in two weeks is a pretty good result and we were glad that we made the long trip on Thursday because it has rained all day today.