Day 44 – Familiar Territory

I woke up early this morning but couldn’t leave until the Braunston Locks opened at 9.00. So I did some cleaning, swept the carpet, cleaned out the cockpit which gets messy with me climbing in and out all the time. Even cleaned the shower and handbasin. And the cooker. At about 8.50 I started the engine ready for the off and – it started raining.

Back inside to get all togged in waterproofs and boots that have been out of site for a couple of weeks. By the time I’m ready the lock is open and there’s another boat come up behind me, so we do the six locks together. (They’re wide locks on the GU).

Funny the effect accents have. Most don’t bother me at all as long as I can understand them but ‘Eshturee En’lish’ used by the guys on that boat got to me.

I asked one where they were going. He looked pained. Frowned, then called to his mate on the other lock gate, ‘Ere John wha’s tha’ place where we got the bo’ from? Lu’erwerf was i’?

‘S’righ.’

‘Oh so after these locks you’ll be going up the Leicester Line then while I go straight on through the Buckby flight.’

‘Dunno.’

We didn’t talk much through the rest of the flight.

Just as we got to the top the rain stopped. Of course the cockpit was soaked by then and I’d carried in grass and mud climbing in and out so it looks like it did fist thing this morning before I cleaned it. Since then it’s been alternating hot, cool, windy, still and humid. I’ve had on every combination of shirt, tee shirt, fleece, waterproofs, shorts, jeans, sun cream, sun hat on/off, sun glasses or normal glasses. Several times.

Shortly after the locks there’s the Braunston Tunnel. Like the Harecastle that marks the watershed between Trent and Mersey, Braunston is where you cross from the Trent catchment area into the Nene Valley. It’s down hill all the way to Peterborough from here. In fact beyond, the low point is in the middle of the Middle Level between Ashline and Marmont Priory locks. Then it’s uphill again to Tempsford.

At Buckby there were a couple of boats preparing to leave the lock and one waiting to go in, so I tagged along with them. The boat was called ‘Waterway Routes’ and the woman doing the largest share of lock work was wearing a ‘Waterway Routes’ logo on her sweatshirt. It turns out it’s her husband’s hobby/business. They publish waterway maps as downloads or GPS format for phones. They update them by cruising around checking what’s changed. They are on their way to London and plan then to go up the Lee & Stort making a video. See http://www.waterwayroutes.co.uk for more.

After Buckby it’s a long lock-free trip to Gayton Junction where I stopped for the night. I should have filled the water tank today but thought I’d get away with it until tomorrow. Mistake, it ran out making my after-dinner cuppa. I discovered there’s a CRT Service station about 200m away but I’m too idle to move the boat. I filled a 2l bottle, that’ll do for tonight and for a breakfast cuppa, then I’ll move.

17 locks down to Northampton tomorrow,

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