Sunday, 15 August 2010

Rugby to Napton top Lock

Rugby to Napton top lock
28th July 2010

19 miles - 10 locks - 9 hours

No sooner had we started off than we passed nb Piston Broke, still quiet and slumbering so we didn't disturb them, and then it was nb Gipsy Rover but of course the New Zealand flag no longer flies from her stern.

For us Rugby means only one thing - Tescos. Their store lies a few hundred yards back from the canal with convenient mooring opposite the common. This was the first supermarket we had encountered since setting off and supplies were running low. The problem with these supermarkets is that you always buy stuff you want but didn't plan on buying. On impulse I bought a case of beer which seemed a good idea in the shop, but became less attractive with every heavy step along that narrow path back to the canal.

Hillmorton locks

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?".

Braunston junction

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.

1 comment:

Alf said...

At Tesco's in Rugby, if you go to the customer service desk, & ask nicely, they will contact the trolly collector in the car park, who will meet you at the Security point on the path & he will unlock the wheel on the trolley so that you can wheel you shopping right to the boat, as long as you promise to return the trolley back to the store !