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Month: August 2018

Braunston -> Yelvertoft

Braunston -> Yelvertoft

Step 1: Braunston to Watford Locks

Two flights of locks. One of them staircase locks at Watford.The other Braunston Locks. One that I’ve done a few times now.

Braunston Locks are very tiring. And I was kind of happy when I found that due to water shortages, the Watford flight closed at night when the volunteers went home.

Being staircase locks, only one boat can go through at a time. And the CRT like you to book ahead, (which I didn’t).

During the day, the CRT prefer to keep it manned. Previously, at night, they let the public traverse the locks as they wished. Due to water shortages, this practice stopped, and passing through the flight is only possible with the aid of the lock-keeper.

I woke up around eight, and got going just before nine. Entering the first lock at 8.50am. Luckily, they are good and fast and I made it through the whole flight in around an hour. Apart from my button getting stuck under the gates at the top lock, all went without event, and I set off on my way again.

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Flecknoe -> Braunston

Flecknoe -> Braunston

People do moor in-between, but there’s no road access, so it’s useless to me.

Fairly picturesque and popular.

Old Braunston

At the moment, I’m at Braunston, ancient Bargee village.

All things barge are here, chandlers x 3. Marina x 1. Canalside pubs x2. And some other shops and services connected to the trade.

I was moored here for the winter on the Rugby arm.

This time I’m on Oxford arm.

There’s no piling and I’m moored up on pins but it’s a much better mooring for a number of reasons.

Not least because:

  • The towpath isn’t overgrow. On the Rugby arm, the trees hang down and you have to crouch to pass them. This is for about 20-25 yards.
  • The trees don’t overhang. They stand up straight, not grow up over my solar and cast shade over the boat.
  • Parking is better. Not on the A45 which you have to cross daily.
  • Quicker into town. Not by much, but a shorter walk into Braunston.
Mooring in Braunston
Mooring in Braunston

Views are better.

Got a better all over ambiance certainly compared to mooring on the Rugby arm, but also in toward the village. It’s nicer here because you’re out in the country.

Will have to turn Bonnie round in due course, as she’s pointing in the wrong direction.

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Fitting flexible solar panels to a narrowboat

Fitting flexible solar panels to a narrowboat

This is a short guide to installing flexible solar panels to a narrowboat.

Background

I’ve lived on my boat for 2 years. When I first started, I was located in a Marina. Everything was laid on, showers, water, electrical hook-up.

It reminded me of a high-rise flat for boats. After my boat was painted, I took it up on a journey to the most Northern and Southern reaches of the UK canal system.

It was called Bonnie Journey, in the name of the boat. You can read about it here.

It included some cycling, which I had to postpone due to injury. Whilst I was waiting for my injuries to recover, I stationed myself on the Kennet and Avon.

Kennet and Avon

Burbage wharf
Near Burbage

As visitors to this waterway will know. Kennet and Avon Marinas are few and far between.

I decided to try continuous cruising. When you’re continuous cruising, all your energy has to be self generated.

You’re entirely ‘off grid’. In winter, generating power was a case of starting the engine.

As the sun began to shine, in the run up to spring, I began to think of the advantages of solar.

After my boat was fully painted, I decided that the next job to be done, was to fit some solar panels, and take advantage of the free energy!

I’m now in a position to do that.

Researching

Most people are going to find that this is the most lengthy part of the process.

Before you shell out large sums of money, you want to ensure you’re getting something which is fully compatible with your needs.

The first question you need to ask yourself before fitting solar is –

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