Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Back home


Entering nafter exiting the bottom lock

We left the mooring at 8:40 and descended the 6 Braunston Locks with no delays in 1.5 hours and continued through Braunston arriving at our marina 2 miles further on at 11:30.  A quick uneventful journey.  

After lunch on board we packed the car getting home mid afternoon.

Cruising: 4.39 miles, 6 locks, 2 hours 50 mins

Total for whole trip: 50.61 miles, 26 locks, 6 tunnels, 29.33 hours travelling over 9 days

Monday, 26 April 2021

Watford Locks and Braunston Tunnel


Passing beneath the M1 at the top of Watford Locks

View down Watford Locks

Large family of mallards

Continuing our journey back home on the Grand Union Canal.  We set off at 9:40 and soon reached Crick Tunnel and then down to Watford Locks where the M1 and the West Coast main railway line both cross the canal as they all make use of the route through the hills provided by Watford Gap.  We had to wait at the locks for about 45 mins as 3 boats came up through the staircase but once we started down everything went smoothly.

At Norton Junction we turned right onto the Birmingham-bound main line of the GU.  Travelling through Braunston Tunnel we only had a slight run against the side at one of the kinks in the waterway and a minor bump from a boat coming the other way.  Once we were out we moored for the night at the top of Braunston Locks.

Cruising: 8.23 miles,  2 tunnels, 7 locks 4 hours 50 mins

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Moored at Crick

Like yesterday we started off after lunch.  The weather was cold so we were well wrapped up with 4 layer and gloves.  But there was no cause to stop until we reached Crick at 15:30.  A typical journey on the Leicester section of the Grand Union.  No new pictures and nothing to report apart from yet more chiffchaffs.

Cruising: 7.15miles, 3 hours 5 minutes.

Saturday, 24 April 2021

On our way back - Husbands Bosworth tunnel and Welford Junction again

Approaching Husbands Bosworth Tunnel

We had a quiet morning at our mooring leaving after lunch.  There followed a pleasant gentle cruise with the engine barely above tick-over travelling south passing through Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and Welford Junction arriving at Bridge 33  at 1600.  Here we moored surrouned by low rolling hills near nowhere in particular. 

Cruising: 7.75 miles, 3 hours 35 mins

Friday, 23 April 2021

A morning walk

View over Welford Reservoir from the dam

Yet another cloudless sunny day.  As a change from cruising, this morning we walked the 2.2 miles from our mooring along the Welford Arm to visit the Welford Reservoir.  The reservoir is also a nature reserve and we were hoping to see some interesting birds.  Sadly there were few to be seen as the winter visitors have left and the summer ones are still arriving.

After walking back to the boat we had lunch on board and then set off further north on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union.  We were hoping to buy some smokeless fuel and kindling for our stove when we passed a marina but there were no indications of any services, so we carried on. The canal continues to be fairly quiet and isolated and the scenery very attractive. And the chiffchaffs continue to sing.

Moored by the Laughton Hills

The journey took us through the 1166 yard Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and 3 miles further on we turned the boat around at the first available winding hole (section of canal where there is room for boats to turn) beyond Welford Junction.   Half a mile back we moored for the night below the Laughton Hills.  

Walking: 4.4 miles, 2 hours

Cruising: 5.4 miles, 2 hours 25 mins

Thursday, 22 April 2021

No locks, no tunnels


Typical Leicester Section scenery - near the A14

A glorious day's boating.  No clouds in the sky, a little cold and breezy but that did not matter, and attractive, very isolated countryside.  Lots of bird song, particularly the chiff chiff chiff of chiff-chaffs.  What more could one want?

We set off at 9:30 and crossed to the other side of the canal where there was a water point.  Having filled our tank we headed further north on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal.  After Crick there is little sight of the outside world except for one large bridge where the busy A14 crosses the canal.  There are only 2 villages in the area but they are at least half a mile from the canal.

We stopped for lunch as cornish parties are a little difficult to manage whilst steering the boat and travelled for a further two hours in the afternoon mooring at Welford Junction where a minor branch of the canal goes off to the small village of Welford.  The purpose of this arm has little to do with the merits of Welford.  It was built to supply water to the Grand Union from a large reservoir located in the area.

Cruising details: 10.45 miles 0 locks 4 hours 45 mins travelling.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

A staircase lock and a tunnel

 When we set off this morning at 9:20 the skies were cloudy and there was a cold breeze.  The canal took us right next to Watford Gap Services, under the West Coast main railway line and the M1  and to the bottom of Watford Locks, the first narrow locks of our journey.

These and the better known Foxton Locks prevent wide boats travelling through Leicester and onwards to the north of England.  There are 7 locks in total, 4 of which form a staircase where the top gate of one lock is also the bottom gate of the next lock up.  There are 2 normal locks at the bottom of the flight and one at the top.

Waiting to enter Watford Staircase

Densie in the staircase

As boats cannot pass on the staircase, movement is controlled by a lock-keeper with whom one must register before entering the flight.  As there were 3 boats descending we were told not to start until the first had completed their passage. We could then pass the other two boats above each of the bottom 2 normal locks.

Approaching Crick Tunnel

The whole flight was completed quickly and 1.5 miles later we reached Crick Tunnel.  At 1500 yards it is 3/4 the length of Braunston Tunnel and is completely straight - you can clearly see one end from the other. 

mmediately after leaving the tunnel we moored up just before lunchtime at the large village of Crick.  After lunch onboard we walked to the local Coop for a few groceries.  As the weather continued to be cold and breezy we decided to spend the night here.

Cruising details: 4.1 miles, 7 locks, 2 hours 50 minutes travelling