Friday, June 29, 2012

Leicester Ring - Day 1 - really!

(Somehow, this post didn't get published when it should have - my apologies!)

So at last we set out this morning, the sky grey, but with no wind and no rain. And it got even better later, with the cloud breaking and the sun coming out. The canal was quiet. I'm amazed that we saw so few other boats cruising. The descent of Watford Locks was quick, and the five hours we did were very enjoyable.

Five hours is less that we used to do on holiday cruises, but on those we were committed to travelling a prescribed distance in the week, usually around a ring, so it was important to put on the hours then. Now, however, we have no tight schedule, so it's good to enjoy longer lunch breaks, and to moor up earlier for the overnight stay. Some of you will laugh when I tell you that, in those five hours, we covered just fifteen “lock miles”, locks and miles being measured together in that way because, on average, it will take the same amount of time to pass through a lock as it will take for the average mile. Three lock miles an hour, including our lunch break, is a good cruising speed.
Napton Junction

We had one little anxious moment when our dashboard suddenly told us that our alternator was not charging the batteries. The monitor in the electrics cupboard told us otherwise, however, and when a jiggling of the ignition keys made the warning stop, we decided there is a connection problem behind the dashboard which we will need to keep an eye on.

Meriting a mention is an Irish gentleman we passed, solo in a narrowboat, who was trying to get to grips with mooring his boat. He seemed to be in difficulties, so we asked if he could help. He cheerfully declined, laughing at his own “first-time boater” state, and pointed to an L plate he had fixed to the back of the boat. I've never seen one of those on the canals before – probably because most people aren't prepared to admit that they are beginners, for fear of looking foolish. He didn't mind – I love the attitude!

Another noteworthy is the mobile cheese shop we encountered!
Specialist in Welsh cheeses
We're moored now just short of Braunston Tunnel, and may well spend the day here tomorrow before going on to Braunston. It's a lovely spot, quiet and remote-feeling, and we ate supper on the foredeck under a warm, clear sky.

This is more like it!

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