Friday, 5 August 2011

Early August Weekend - Day 1

We came up to the boat last night.  Adrian drove to London and picked me up from work at 11pm.  The M1 has an infuriatingly long section with a 50mph limit, and there were overnight works in a few places making the motorway just one lane.  Even so, we arrived at the boat at quarter to one.

This morning, we unpacked the rest of the things from the car, and filled the water tank while we had breakfast.  The idea of the weekend was to go to Braunston for a few things, including fenders from Tradline.  We left at 9, and all was going well, with only a few boats on the move, until we got to Hillmorton Locks.  We knew that BW had closed one lock in each pair, in order to save water, and were expecting the flight to take longer than usual.  But we found ourselves ninth in the queue -- it seems the problem had been that there was one-up-one-down in operation, to avoid turning locks, and there hadn't been enough people coming down.  I walked up to the top of the locks, and found there were four boats on their way or waiting at the top.  We'd been there 45 mins, and had moved up to sixth in the queue, so decided to turn round and go the other way instead.

It was turning into a lovely day as we made our way back through Rugby, passing plenty of boats.  We decided to have lunch on the move, and passed Brinklow Marina at about 2pm.  We wondered whether Briar Rose had even been straight past the marina entrance without turning in.

At the All Oaks Wood mooring, we did our good deed for the day.  A boat coming the other way had warned us that one of those moored ahead was on a long line.  As we went past, it was clear that it wasn't attached to the bank at all.  Adrian reversed to a position where we could push the boat towards the towpath, then I crossed onto its gunwales, and pulled it into the bank.  It had fore, aft, and centre ropes all dangling in the water, and all with mooring stakes attached.  I got the lump hammer and banged them back in.

The demolished bridge at Ansty has had some more work done on it since we were last here, with new brickwork.  It's not clear what they're doing, unless they're planning to put a wooden span on the brick supports.

As this wasn't our planned trip, we didn't have a destination in mind.  Ansty was full, so we carried on and got to Hawkesbury Junction at 5.15.  It was lovely and sunny and warm, so we didn't mind at all.  To our surprise, there was a Briar Rose sized gap, with a straight edge, on the approach to the junction, so we slotted in.  There are occasional motorbikes up and down the towpath, and the permanent moorer opposite is playing music quite loudly -- reinforcing my view that Hawkesbury Junction is never as nice as it could and should be.

17 miles, 0 locks

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