Rugby to Napton top lock
28th July 2010
19 miles - 10 locks - 9 hours
Transmitters at Hillmorton
Then it was Hillmorton Locks and the scene of Jeff's sandbag building efforts with BW earlier this year. It was also the scene some bizarre bickering between husband and wife teams, in one case with a patronising husband explaining, in great detail and at high volume, exactly what his wife was doing wrong. Rising in front of us was another bossy so and so - telling us what we should and shouldn't be doing at locks - all drawn from the depths of her inexperience. Maybe she gave herself away when she asked "how far to the next services?".
The canal then runs alongside a golf course and, for the first time we were hit by an errant golf ball. I heard the projectile rattle through the hedge, dropping fast and hitting the hull low down near the waterline with a resounding doing.
Braunston bottom lock
We made a pledge to make more of an effort to get off the boat and explore our surroundings on this trip. We therefore stopped for lunch at Braunston and spent a couple of hours walking into town via the bottom lock. We found a little path over the fields which led to the high street and its pretty collection of buildings, including an abandoned bakery complete with a very ancient Hovis sign. It had us bursting out with a blast of Jupiter from Holst's Planet Suite, best remembered as the soundtrack of the Hovis adverts in the 1970's.
Braunston church and pumping station
We continued our travels at 3.00pm narrowly missing the sunken wooden boat at Wolfhampcote, shepherded by a mud hopper and wrapped in high viz tape. With the holding tank getting heavy and smelly we pulled into Wigrams Turn Marina, securing some relief just before closing time assisted by an employee who owns a boat almost exactly the same as WB. An internal inspection of WB was mandatory and some of the carpentry ideas were noted for future use.
Sunken working boat
We hit Napton bottom lock at 6.00pm with hoards of stragglers lined up trying to descend the last few locks.One Viking Afloat crew was getting getting very weary and did the rudder on the back sill trick, pitching the boat forward and necessitating much opening and closing of the sluices to avert disaster. Next lock up, just as we were approaching a Mr Jobsworth decided to close the gates in our face. Lovely.
No one was going up and we soon found ourselves at Marston Doles at 7.30pm, mooring just below the penultimate lock, one of the few deep water moorings in the area. A night of silence save the tinkling of the by wash - perfect.