Having departed Glascote Basin, we put on a bit of a spurt to get back to Yelvertoft before the arrival of some bad weather. We ended up doing in four days what we would normally do in fourteen. On Wednesday 12/10, we set off early to fill with water at the foot of the Atherstone flight. The flight consists of eleven single locks, and today luck was on our side. At each of the first five locks we met a boat coming down so the lock was set for us. The next three locks, we had a little assistance from the volunteers, and then again at the top lock. Soon we were passing through Nuneaton. This town has a bad reputation for rubbish in the canal. We passed through earlier in the year and we were pleasantly surprised, it seemed as if the town had cleaned up its act. Not so, it was once again squalid. We passed the junction with the Ashby Canal, we are planning on doing this next year, following the Hudson boat owners gathering at Glascote in July. We turned left at Hawkesbury Junction in front of the Greyhound P.H. and picked up a mooring just beyond the stop lock. We were now on the Oxford Canal. Following our epic day, it was justifiable to reward ourselves with an evening meal in the pub.
Thursday 13/10, we travelled 18 miles to the outskirts of Braunston. The weather was a bit warmer, the wind coming from the south rather than the east. This change whilst welcome, was also the reason why we wanted to get home before Sunday, when some heavy rain was due. We saw very few boats moving today, and just after navigating the relatively short Newbold Tunnel we stopped for lunch. The afternoon session took us through the three locks at Hillmorton, then passed the new Marina under construction at Dunchurch. By the time we arrived on the outskirts of Braunston we were both ready for a rest. No pub this time as we had stopped in the middle of the countryside.
Friday 14/10, we made our way towards Braunston. At the junction we joined the Grand Union Canal heading towards six wide locks. Just as we were entering the bottom lock another boat arrived, which would make the ascent of the flight much easier. We navigated Braunston Tunnel without meeting any oncoming boats, and then it was a short cruise to Norton Junction. Here we turned left onto the Leicester section of the Grand Union. We moored in our usual spot, and after securing the boat walked the short distance to the New Inn for lunch. We also booked in for our Sunday roast.
Saturday 15/10, the final leg of our journey. On arrival the foot of Watford staircase locks we were second in the queue. Shortly after our arrival, the single boat descending emerged from the bottom lock, and we were on our way. Once on the summit level of the Leicester line we navigated through Crick Tunnel, receiving a good drenching on the way through. As Cracks Hill came into view, the crew took four legs off the boat and walked him over the top, whilst I took the boat the long way round. They were waiting a good ten minutes for me to arrive at the other side of the hill. Back on the boat, we turned into the Marina and onto the service dock for a pump out and diesel. Now safely secured on our berth we have a few trips home over the next few weeks. Any further cruising will be restricted to the summit level and subject to the weather.
- Totals Wednesday 12/10. 14 Miles 12 Locks
- Thursday 13/10. 18 Miles 1 Tunnel
- Friday 14/10. 7 Miles 6 Locks 1 Tunnel
- Saturday. 15/10. 7 Miles 7 Locks 1 Tunnel
- Running total 424 Miles 241 Locks 17 Tunnels