Summer Cruise 2013 – Day 16

Rural view approaching Braunston Tunnel

Today it was up and away by 9am out onto the Grand Union mainline bound for Braunston via the tunnel. You may remember, dear reader, that we have encountered three tunnels so far on our travels and as we are retracing our steps, each of them twice and thus far we have not met one oncoming boat in any of them.

That all changed this morning when we met no fewer than six in Braunston Tunnel, but they all passed with not so much as a touch.

Glad we didn't meet this Fat Boy in the tunnel
Glad we didn’t meet this Fat Boy in the tunnel

Joy’s arm had been giving her some pain after doing Watford locks yesterday and she wasn’t looking forward to the six wide locks at Braunston today, however we were able to share with a hire-boat with two strong lads aboard who seemed pleased to do most of the work, although I couldn’t say for certain as they didn’t speak much English, and we met oncoming boats at most locks obviating the need to shut the bottom gates!

The locks successfully negotiated we decided to revisit The Boathouse for a bite to eat but were surprised to find it closed when we moored up at quarter to twelve. There were hoards of people waiting in the sunshine but the staff soon arrived and were ready to serve us at noon. We opted just to have a starter and share a side combo of potato wedges, breaded mushrooms and onion rings … but when it arrived it included garlic bread and chicken (urgh! I don’t eat chicken). The waitress was most apologetic and we were only charged for what we had ordered, and Catty was well pleased with her ‘doggy bag’ of chicken!

We hung a left at the junction and pootled onwards towards Napton. Pootled was the word, there were boats moored at every conceivable place ( and some inconceivable ones too) picnic tables and chairs out enjoying the unaccustomed good weather. It wasn’t until about Bridge 103 where they piled edging gave way to reedy borders where it wasn’t possible to moor that we were able to travel above tickover.

Swedish Blacks or Manky Mallards?
Swedish Blacks or Manky Mallards?

By that time we were well on  the way to our target destination of Napton and again found a mooring near to The Bridge Inn. Catty was pleased of another opportunity to go wandering the towpath and amused herself, and us, no end by leaping up to catch a long piece of grass that Joy was teasing her with, if only we could have got a photo… she must have jumped about 2 or 3 feet in the air!

Not many photos today but Joy snapped a family of unusual ducks by the boat, are they Swedish Blacks, anybody know?


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