Monday 10th July 2017
From Hilmorton it was an uneventful 2 ½ hour journey including the Barby Straight (Much of this section of the canal was straightened out in the 1820s, and remains of the original less direct route, which hugged the chosen contour, can still be seen in places. ¹) until we reached the outskirts of Braunston.
Braunston is often regarded as the ‘Heart of the canal system’ and Braunston church, which we moored in sight of, was the place for working boat families to meet and celebrate christenings, weddings and funerals. There’s much more information on the Village Website and on the Church Website we learn:
With Braunston at the “heart of the Canals” there was a tendency for passing boatmen to meet and marry local girls and set up homes in the village…… Other immigrant boatmen also came to the village and set up homes. All Saints Church, the “Cathedral of the Canals” was very central to the boatmen’s lives for performing Wedding, Baptism and Funeral Services, indeed many well known boating families have ancestors buried in the churchyard. It was the most central of locations for families afloat to meet up.
So this was the view from our idyllic mooring for the past few days, a footpath from the nearby bridge took us up the left side of this field to access the village from the church in order to buy supplies from both the butcher and village shop. It’s a walk of about ¾ mile each way trying to dodge the ‘deposits’ which the sheep had left for us.
The sheep kept us amused as they had the choice of three fields to choose from and would follow from one to the other, er, like sheep!
The church obviously has a fine team of bell-ringers as they could be heard practising at times no services were advertised.
We spent 5 nights here and Jade enjoyed the freedom to roam the hedgerows here and we got to chat to several boaters including Lorraine aka The Mad Hatter (a travelling canal trader on the way to Cropredy for the festival) from whom Joy bought a hat.
Just near the next bridge was the sad sight of this burnt out Sea Otter (a aluminium narrowboat) such was the intensity of the fire it had melted parts of the hull. We understand no-one was aboard at the time.
Friday 14th July
Today we were delighted to have visitors, our friends Jill, John & Tricky (the lurcher) from our old mooring in Banbury. We had lunch together and spent the afternoon catching up with each others news.
In case you were wondering Catty occupied the bedroom and Tricky was in with us and seemed un-bothered with each other.
Saturday 15th July
This morning we have moved up to The Stop House moorings filled up with water and visited Braunston Marina to use their launderette and plan to set off again tomorrow.
Oh the bell-ringers are off again, a wedding I suspect, hence the practising!