Thurs 12 Nov
Last night we went to bed to the sound of rain on the roof, this morning we woke up to sunshine. A Kate hire boat came passed towards the Watford flight and back again before we had set off at 9 30 am. It was some time before we saw another boat on the move. Back to Norton Junction and sharp right towards Braunston. As we approached the tunnel there was another Kingfisher, quite content to sit there as we passed by. I don't know if its the time of year or weather, but I have never known Kingfishers to sit around like this as boats pass before, they normally zoom off down the cut ahead of you.
We didn't meet anything in the tunnel but the light at the far end looked very dim, this turned out to be the hire boat we had seen earlier and as we approached Braunston Top Lock they had just left, but kindly agreed to wait for us at the next, this doesn't save any water but it does save a bit of time and effort, the water went with us using the top lock. We didn't meet any boats in the flight and it wasn't until we got to Butchers Bridge we saw a boat coming towards us. Chatting to the lady from the hire boat she said she was most upset by the attitude of some private boaters to her as a hirer, some down right rude. As a private boater I could only apologise to her. They were not beginners but are trying different boats and cruising at different times of year before maybe buying their own boat when they retire. As we came through Braunston we met Brian and Jill who were bringing their new to them, boat home and were moored in Braunston. It turned out it was them I met in the tunnel yesterday.
At Napton Junction we turned left up the South Oxford/Grand Union, Braunston was a lot busier today than yesterday with nowhere near so many vacant moorings, but there was still lots of room right in the centre. A few boats were moored along the Puddle Banks and also a bit further out of Braunston, but we met very little. We stopped just before Wigrams Turn to pick some sloes, lowering the branches with a boat hook to get the best of the crop, then it was right at Wigrams and down to Calcutt Locks. A pair of Ownership boats were just leaving the locks, going down as we arrived, but the crew from one hung about and drew a paddle for us, she said that they moored their boat at Calcutt and were stopping just below the lock. The other Ownerships boat was on his way back to Stockton so they waited in the next lock for us and we did the last two together.
It was quite busy at Stockton Marina with Ownership returning ready to hand over in the morning and many of the Kate fleet moored in the cut, some three abreast almost opposite the long term moorings. We carried on past the marina and winded just above Stockton Top Lock, I can get Harnser round here with about nine inches to spare if I get in exactly the right spot and then headed back passed the marina to moor in the first vacant piece of towing path we came to almost opposite The Boat pub. By now it had started to rain and we tied up to a pair of very conveniently spaced mooring rings just on 4 pm.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Watford to Stockton
Thurs 12 Nov