Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The Grand Union, Braunston to Leicester

We have been short of data and wifi coverage just recently so it is another delayed post.

Heavy rain and a delivery from Amazon delayed our departure from Rugby by an additional day. However the retail parks are nice and close, around five minutes walk, so it was only a case of grabbing our umbrellas and making the short trip when the rain eased a little. Just after 4pm we received a text telling us the parcel had been delivered to the Amazon mailbox in the retail park so we picked up our parcel and headed back to the boat.

On Wednesday we headed off to Braunston, the sun beaming down once again after all the heavy rain the day before. The new marina just out of Braunston has progressed to the point where there are quite a few boats moored there.

Coming into Braunston, just near the 14 day moorings, was a reminder to keep our boat safety checks up to date.

We managed to grab one of the few remaining moorings in Braunston, once again just across from the Boat House Inn. It was just after lunch when we moored so there was plenty of time to visit Midland Chandlers to pick up a few bits and pieces. It was just an overnight stay heading off up the Braunston locks on Thursday morning. A rather busy day as we negotiated the Braunston (2042 yds) and Crick (1528 yds) tunnels, both two-way, I got a decent whack from an on coming, canal hogging boat in the Braunston Tunnel.

In between the two tunnels was Watford Locks, notorious for long waits due to the 4 rise staircase in the middle of the seven locks. Last year we waited four hours to go down! We arrived at the bottom lock, reported to the lock keeper at the second bottom lock who said go straight in. It's all in the timing! We finished the day at Crick, moored across from ABNB Boats where I see Waiouru, Tom and Jan's boat, waiting for a new owner.

Friday was another long cruising day in perfect weather. We passed another new marina being built in North Kilworth where it's always difficult to get passed the moored boats at the wharf, the build was well advanced with jetties already erected.

We finished a longish cruising day mooring at the top of Foxton Locks with plenty of time to have a look around. Across from our mooring was the fork in the canal, heading to the right once took you to the Inclined Plane built 1900 to speed the passage up and down the hill.

The canal arm to the inclined plane.

The top of the inclined plane.

Looking down the hill.

Picture of the working inclined plain with one of the two caissons moving down the hill, a 12 minute journey for two boats as opposed to the 1¼ hours.

We had a visitor while we were exploring the inclined plane, Foxton is a great place to have a drone!

It was important to get away reasonably early on Saturday as the Foxton Locks area attracts lots of visitors, many wanting to be right in the thick of the action (getting in the way) but the weather was patchy so we delayed for an hour to get past the misty rain before setting off. The light rain slowed but didn't stop the visitors.

It took us around 1½ hours to complete the locks after stopping in the middle to wait for three boats coming up to pass. After passing through Saddington Tunnel (881 yds) and completing five more double locks we finished the day on a rural mooring. It wasn't a particularly early finish to the day but it did give me a chance to delve down into the weed hatch and remove a ladies blouse and some chord from the propeller that we picked up at the last bridge.

Sunday was another beautiful summer's day and we were up early for our journey to Kilby Bridge, a good stop for our run into Leicester on Monday. Passed this extravagant teepee arrangement on our way to Kilby Bridge, while we were doing the lock we found out it was a wedding venue.

The water levels in some of the pounds were well down and so it was rather slow progress at times. We arrived at Kilby Bridge just before one o'clock and headed straight for the Navigation Inn for lunch and a cold pint of cider. We received a call over lunch that we were going to have a visitor on Tuesday afternoon for a few days so we decided to stay put for extra day. It gave us a chance to remove a couple of rust spots on the roof of Serafina and treat them with a rust remover where we couldn't completely get the rust out. I also managed to put several coats of clear gloss on the wood work in the engine room. Another beautiful day so, with the work done for now we sat outside until just after 9pm waiting for our visitor to arrive.

It turned out to be very fortuitous having an extra set of hands to work the twelve locks as we headed down to Leicester on another beautiful day. Once again several of the pounds were very low. A discussion with a CRT employee along the way mentioned the possibility of closing the navigation if there wasn't decent rain soon. However, once on to the River Soar the water level increased and so did our speed, Serafina enjoying the increase in water depth.We picked up the last mooring at the Castle Gardens moorings in Leicester, right in town and nice and secure too.

Having toured Leicester late in the season last year we were able to show our visitor around the key sights. I haven't posted any pics here as there were plenty posted in the blog last year.

The soccerball count has now moved to 29.

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