Wednesday 11 November 2009

Braunston at Watford Locks

Last night dinner and a couple of pints were taken at The Old Plough and very enjoyable there were, the size of the pud was something else.
Braunston was very quiet with lots of moorings and very few passing boats. We set off a few minutes past 11 this morning and had to wait at the bottom lock for a boat coming down, this was the first of several Ownership boats we were to meet today, as well as a couple of ex Challenger ones as well. We entered the bottom lock and spotted a boat coming through Butchers Bridge so we waited for them. It was Water Jester, also a shared ownership boat, we use to have a share in Water Witch that were originally run by Southshore Narrowboats. They invited us to leave the lock first and carry on alone as they had some shopping to do, in the end they caught us up at the next lock as the only stopped for a couple of minuets to get milk, and the boat coming down turned the lock without looking, I saw him just walk to the top gate and draw the paddles, however he got his own back as just as he left the lock some one turned the bottom lock on him. We continued up the flight with Water Jester meeting boats at several of the locks. At the Nelson Lock an ex Challenger boat was coming down breasted to another narrow boat with engine problems.
There was an awful lot of water running down at the tunnel mouth where the land slip was, the bank must have been quite fluid in the past. BW really need to cut the vegetation on the land slip as it badly obscures the visibility entering and leaving the tunnel. We only met one boat in the tunnel and they were having problems seeing where they were going, their tunnel light shot straight ahead along the water not illuminating the walls at all and sir was standing on the bow with a hand lamp aimed at the near side wall so madam could see where she was.
At Norton Junction we turned left up the Leicester Arm and continued as far as the winding hole at the bottom of the flight. We moored on the water point and took a walk up the flight. BW have the bottom lock scaffolded out and were working on the top gate, they are also working on the paddle gear of the second lock. We walked to the top of the flight and then back down the other side of the side pounds, It looks as these may have been dredged recently as there is a lot of spoil just below the bottom side pound with a fence round it saying "Deep Mud" The lock cottage at the top of the flight is up for auction on the 6 December, it looks out over the side pounds so has some very nice views but it is very close to the M1 A5 and railway. The bottom lock cottage was also empty.
We returned to Harnser and retraced our steps towards Norton Junction mooring for the night just outside Welton Hythe Marina at about 3-30 pm. So far I have seen 5 Kingfishers on this short stretch of canal, two of them remained sitting there as we went passed them and on the second one I stopped the boat and reversed back to photograph it.

1 comment:

Keith Lodge said...

We love the Old Plough for their Ham, Egg and Chips, they are always yummy.
It seems that it is busy, busy, busy at the moment on the Leicester Section, with bridge work, and lock working going on at the moment. Foxton Locks shut on the 23rd Nov till the 18th Dec. We are seeing alot of Kingfishers at the moment, and like with you they are just sitting on a branch watching us pass. I really must remember to have my camera handy. Happy Cruising...... Oh and Happy Christmas LOL.