Saturday, October 13, 2012

Braunston, and on to Yelvertoft

On a day for which 24 hour rain had been forecast, we left our mooring in a fine drizzle which stopped after an hour, leaving grey cloud and a biting wind. I'd not been that cold on Kantara before. However, we arrived at Braunston by mid afternoon, and moored opposite Roy's workshop, at which point it started to rain heavily, and this continued on and off for some hours. We battened down the hatches and snuggled in, having arranged with Roy that he would do the jobs for us first thing in the morning.
On Friday morning, we took Kantara across the canal, to moor alongside one of the boats Roy was working on. He took a sliver off two of the foredeck seats/locker lids, and sealed around the basin he had fitted when he built our new shower room - we had left the option of sealant open at the time. I took a brisk walk up into Braunston village for some shopping, then we set off again, now under blue skies and a warm sun.

We passed the strange craft we've seen once before moored up in Braunston, a boat we dubbed The Stealth Boat, for reasons which will be obvious to those of you who know anything of stealth aircraft.

Our ascent of the Braunston Flight was done in accompaniment with NB Little Grebe, an Alvechurch boat, and the six locks were navigated in good time. Locking was now a hot task, the weather being as mild as it was.

Braunston Tunnel presented us with an unpleasant experience. An oncoming boat had its headlamp mounted to the port side of the bow, giving the wrong impression of its alignment in the dark tunnel. Furthermore, the light was far too bright, and neither Grace, steering Kantara, nor I could get a clear picture of how far away the boat was until it was almost on top of us, nor of how far over to her side of the tunnel she was. This is the worst case of over-brightness we have experienced, but it has happened often. I wish boaters would realise that their lamp is most important as an indicator to oncoming craft of their presence, and does not need to beam several hundred yards along the tunnel to show them the way.
Headlamp mounted centrally (as it should be!)
Out of the tunnel, we turned left at Norton Junction, north up the Leicester Line of the Grand Union. It had started to rain, and was threatening to be very heavy, so we stopped and moored just above the junction. It rained and hailed heavily on us as we tied the boat up, and we were glad to get inside and dry off.
After the rain and hail!

Saturday morning was dry again, after some downpours during the night, and we ascended Watford Locks under blue skies. We only had a short wait at the bottom lock, then went up the staircase with no delays. Crick Tunnel was next, empty of other craft. The remaining couple of miles back to the marina were done without the wind which is characteristic of this stretch of the GU, and entering the marina and moving into our berth was far easier than is usual.

Our cruise is ended. Four very enjoyable weeks, 131 miles and 102 locks, with interesting diversions along the way. Now we have a list of jobs to do returning the rather grubby Kantara to her former state, getting repairs done, painting and so on. The hail which came down hard just after we moored reminds us that winter is on the way.

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