I was up first on Monday morning and made the tea and started stripping down the pram hood as this was the day we tackled the Hatton flight of 21 locks. I managed to take a very atmospheric picture first thing of the view from our mooring (above). I had made a flask of coffee and had cake on standby incase of hunger along the way; but we had a hearty breakfast of porridge to set us up. Off we went and followed another boat to the locks, thinking we may be able to share with them, but a boat was already in the lock so they went with them. We filled up with water and whilst doing so a share boat came along (we have seen in to-ing and fro-ing all summer), so we shared the locks with them. As I said before the last time we did this section was on a hire boat, and both of us remarked we couldn’t always remember the route (it was 5 years ago). We had such a routine going through the Hatton locks that there was no time to take any pictures, but I am sure we have some from before somewhere in our collection. We did share the load with me doing the first half of the locks and Charlie doing the other half. It took 5 hours to get through (only 2 volunteer lock keepers that morning), from when we left, to mooring up, at a distance of 5 miles. We parted company from the share boat, and moored up just before Cape Locks. There is a pub there called The Cape Of Good Hope, and because we were both tired, and I couldn’t be bothered to cook, Charlie went to the pub and picked up a menu. One of the items on the menu caught our eye; a London style pie and mash. Well we had to try that didn’t we? So we did, but although tasty (we were very hungry), it was nothing like the pie and mash we know and love. We followed this with fruit crumble (with custard), Charlie having a couple of local beers, and me a glass of red. We decided not to visit Warwick this time as on a bit of a schedule. From here we left on Tuesday (2 locks) and headed for Leamington Spa and Lidl (which is right on canalside just outside Leamington).
We again decided to leave visiting Leamington for another time, but wanted to stop at Lidl to top up with milk and our favourite red wine, with some other bits of shopping thrown in. Wednesday morning before we departed I walked over and bought some fresh croissants! So tempting as so close. I had to take a picture of the towpath sign as there has been many a time we have nearly been knocked over by speeding cyclists. The sign was quite small, maybe needs enlarging so people can see it.
shame not all the cyclists take note
We moored up at Radford Semele by a country park and a popular mooring site as quite a few boats there. I have been walking Izzy along these short stretches with no locks, whilst Charlie steers the boat along, but just lately Izzy doesn’t want to walk and keeps a beady eye on the boat following us, and she ends up being dragged along! She likes her creature comforts. Thursday we did 10 locks ending up with Bascote Locks which includes a staircase pair. We started off sharing with another boat but we stopped for water and sanitary business so they went on. Although we were gradually catching them up we were doing the locks on our own; which we found easier once we got into the swing of things.
in the lock with leaky gates
looking back at what we have done
working the locks
at the top
Friday we were off again and another 10 locks to do in the Stockton flight. We met up with the same boat as before, but again only managed 2 locks with them as we needed coal supplies. We stopped in the lock as there was very little traffic, and bought 4 bags of smokeless fuel from the Warwickshire fly boat co. shop. A very good price as well I hasten to add. They also had an extensive book exchange so I handed in a book and picked up another. We came through the rest of the flight and meandered along past Willow Wren training and many moored boats, finally stopping at a rural spot surrounded by sheep fields. Friday off again and through 3 more locks at Calcutt, turning left at Napton junction onto the Oxford/Grand Union section, until finally stopping at Braunston Puddlebanks. And it’s a good job we did stop as the moorings nearer to Braunston town are full to the brim.
Braunston church with remains of a former windmill in view
Today (Sunday) we have awoken to rain, the first time in a while, although we do need it. A few jobs done onboard, we just wish passing boats would slow down a bit as many going too fast. Tomorrow should be better weather, and we have decided to stay a couple of days and visit the town and chandlery here, oh and partake of a Gongoozlers breakfast. The last one we had 5 years ago, and is on the narrowboat cafe outside the marina. The strangest spooky thing is that we pulled up here on the same date last year too. Not planned just coincidence!