The stretch of the canal between Braunston Junction and Wigrams Turn is shared by the Grand Union Canal and the Oxford Canal. This stretch of water is new to our boat, but we have passed this way before. A few years ago, we hired a Willow Wren boat for a week during the winter, before making the decision to live onboard full time. On this trip we were accompanied by our chestnut coloured labradoodle Dylan, who is sadly no longer with us.
We carried on to Wigrams Turn where the Grand Union Canal separates from the Oxford and heads off towards Birmingham. We popped into the marina for services before rejoining the canal heading towards Napton on the Hill. At the second winding hole just prior to the start of the locks, we winded and retraced our route back to Bridge 110, before mooring up. We were then within striking distance of Calcutt Boats for our Tuesday appointment. On Sunday we had a roast dinner at the Bridge Inn. This was closed when we came here in the hire boat so it was good to see that it has reopened and it will definitely get a return visit as the roast was excellent.
Monday 31/8 another year passes. I was 52. My present, although I am yet to receive it is a hand operated brass klaxon. I was also treated to a homemade chocolate birthday cake. We did not have any candles so a long stove lighting match had to suffice.
Tuesday 1/9 we set off the short distance to Calcutt Boats. This required turning onto the Grand Union Canal at Wigrams Turn. We had agreed to moor just above the locks whilst they conducted their inspection of our diesel heater. We want it repositioned in the engine room to make servicing easier. The engineer had a look and then it was into the office for the quote. Despite it only being a bit of plumbing work the job was estimated at up to 3 days and the fee was eye watering. The biggest problem however was that the boat would need to go into the workshop, and therefore we could not remain onboard whilst the work is carried out. This means the job will not happen this year. The heater requires a service every 1000 hours of use. In a year we have used it for 115 hours, so I may just leave it for the eight years until its first service is due!!! Departing Calcutt we returned to Wigrams Turn and set off back towards Braunston.
Oxford to the right, London to the left.
We moored in a nice rural spot near the village of Flecknoe with good views across the countryside. On Wednesday we stayed put, going for a circular walk during the day around Flecknoe. We were logged by the CRT in the morning, not sure where we were last logged but possibly not since Fradley. On Thursday 3/9 our day involved shopping. We took the boat into Braunston about a mile and a half, and winded by the marina. The smells coming from the cafe boat, the 'gongoozerlers rest' were as appetising as ever. We moored up close to the pub and next to another boat named 'Milly M'. This is Maffi's boat, and it was good to finally meet him having read his blog for a couple of years. Once secured, we went in search of some wrap round fenders at Tradlines in the marina. After much measuring to ensure a good fit, these have now been ordered and will be ready on our way back in a couple of weeks. We had lunch in the pub, then popped up into Braunston village for some supplies in the grocery. We also nipped into the butchers. Back at the boat we set off again, intending to return to the area of Flecknoe. Both the two legged, and the four legged crew decided to walk whilst I navigated the boat back to our spot.
Having allowed some time for the work at Calcutts to be done, now that it is not being, we find ourselves a couple of weeks ahead of where we need to be. So, we have reviewed our travels, and have decided to go and explore Cropredy on the Oxford Canal, and a few other villages on the way. So today we set off after breakfast, for Napton on the Hill. As we got close to the locks we passed by the windmill sitting on top of the hill.
We climbed four of the locks in the flight, before calling it a day. Now in a good spot with great views and close to 'The Folly' for refreshments. We will stay put till Monday and as usual Sunday lunch is already booked.
Friday 28/8 totals 8 Miles
Tuesday 1/9 totals 6 Miles
Thursday 3/9 totals 3 Miles
Friday 4/9 totals 5 Miles 4 Locks
Running totals 548 Miles 253 Locks 19 Tunnels