It was very sunny this morning, and it was shining straight into my eyes when we set off at about 8am. It was a job to see where we were going, but it did make some nice reflections.
We made our way through Rugby. Clifton Cruisers seems to be having a lot of work done. When we got close to Hillmorton Locks a boat which had just come down told us the left hand of the pair would be empty. However, there were two boats going up, so the middle one had to be turned. At the top lock a boat was coming down the right hand lock, so we could go straight in.
At the top of the locks we were soon behind the two boats which had come up ahead of us. We made a brief stop at the Canal Shop, as we planned to by a kilo of cocoa shells; the reason the stop was brief was that the shop isn't open on Fridays.
As we set off again, the second boat in our three was overtaking the first one. We were then stuck behind him for some considerable time. He was going at tickover, and made steering look like very hard work -- darting from one side of his cruiser stern deck to the other, and weaving back and forth across the canal. He let us past at Barby Marina.
A little further on we spotted Muleless coming the other way. Unfortunately we met on one of the sharp turns, and the combination of that and trying to slow down for a few words meant that we failed to get round the corner, and ended up embarrassingly in the bushes on the far side!
Dunchurch Pools Marina looks to be progressing with its construction. Through the hedge we spotted the uprights of mooring jetties in one hole in the ground. There's not much to see, though, apart from a sign on the tow path.
As we approached Braunston, there was a field of geese -- but not Canada geese, but Greylags. Many of them were sitting down and looked at bit startled.
As always when approaching Braunston, the first thing you see is the church spire.
Braunston was really busy. We inched our way past full moorings, and eventually stopped just beyond the first entrance to the marina, where there's something sticking out into the water so the stern was a couple of feet away from the bank. We went for lunch of toasted sandwiches at the Gonzoozlers Rest floating cafe, which has had new tables and chairs since we were last there. After lunch, while I was still in the cafe paying, Adrian watched a boat coming out of the marina, thought the people on board looked familiar, and then thought they called my name when they saw Briar Rose. It turned out to the Amy and James of Willow, who were moving a friend's boat towards Cambridge.
We walked up to the first lock chatting to them, then diverted into the village where we made a fruitful visit to the butcher. Back at the boat we set off for the locks, sharing them with a single-hander on a small boat. Even though we had a boat going up ahead of us, we met a couple coming down, and made good time.
Braunston tunnel seemed shorter than usual, and it was also very dry in there, with almost no drips at all. We'd planned to moor just before Norton Junction, but the whole length of moorings (which are in pretty poor repair) is covered in Defra rash (that's orange netting, for the uninitiated). So we went through the junction -- in the process completing the Leicester Ring -- and found plenty of space before Buckby top lock, where we've moored for the night.
16 miles, 9 locks. (377 miles, 167 locks)