Worst in 30 years…

Worst in 30 years…

So the forecasters are saying.

It’s certainly colder on average than it was 12 months ago.

Dodford

I’ve moved down to Weedon area.

Through the two sets of locks at Buckby and Welton which I did at the weekend.

My bike got a puncture whilst I was at Longdown Lane.

Expensive journey

This must have been my fifth puncture whilst in the Braunston area, and this particular time, it meant I had to catch a bus and a taxi to retrieve my car which I normally do on my bike.

Bus was £2.20. The taxi was £16.20. For a 4 mile journey. The meter was going faster than I’ve ever seen in a cab.

Jumped out about 1/2 a mile away, simply because the taxi driver didn’t understand where I wanted dropping and I wasn’t about to pay him £4 per mile for the privilege of me explaining.

Cycling to Weedon

It may seem like a small thing, but the towpath is a lot less wild.

You don’t get brambles in your face to the same extent as you do in Warwickshire.

It seems better maintained, which probably explains why Northamptonshire C.C. has no money.

I’ll be here for a little while as there are a few stops which are within the Weedon area.

Onley Prison

Onley Prison

Used to be youth offenders, or YO. Now housing offenders from London.

Onley Prison

I’m located just off Onley Lane, not far from a village called Barby.

It’s about 1/2 a mile from the prison and equestrian center, who I can often hear with their events for dogs and some such going off on a Sunday. Lots of shouts and encouragement.

As I get closer to Rugby, the things they’re pulling out of the canal, become more suspicious; such as this broken safe and stolen mobility scooter.

Looks like someone has taken the mobility scooter for the batteries.

The safe was cracked open with a hammer, then thrown into the canal from Onley Lane road bridge.

Parking

Is alright. Fairly close to the boat. Unlike Longdown Lane, the place isn’t full of boaters and there’s plenty of space to park.

Longdown Road

Longdown Road

I’ve decided to come down this way, as last year I went up through the Watford Gap, past the UK’s oldest motorway service station down to Crick.

The mobile signal ain’t that great down there and there’s the constant moan of the motorway when the wind is blowing in the right direction.

Longdown Bridge

In the name of change and a new exciting experience, I’m heading up to Rugby, as far as Hillmorden Locks to see how the land, or more the canal lies down in this direction.

North to Rugby

Walking

Along the towpath, Olney Prison and young offenders unit is about 1 mile north, close to the new marina Hillmorton Pools…

I rang them the other day. They’re designed by the same group that run the Eden Project in Devon, or so it says on their website.

Kept on getting hit in the face by brambles as I went on my night walk.

I won’t be going up there again.

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Kinver Canopies Cratch Cover

Kinver Canopies Cratch Cover

A Cratch Cover is like a pram cover for the front of a boat.

It covers the whole of the sunken bow area.

Cratch cover
A cratch cover

The reasons for fitting a cratch cover may be:-

  • Increased living area: Having a warmer area protected from the elements means the living space of the boat has increased. It may be more pleasant and convenient to eat drink and relax in this space as opposed to other areas of the boat.
  • Better insulation: The fire pumps out heat which duly disappears through the front doors and windows into the wilds of Northamptonshire. Now it will be escaping into the covered cratch area and staying there, at least for some time.
  • More space: Very useful for stowing all those bits and pieces and more you’re trying to cram onto your boat.

Crick Boat Show

I took advantage of the fact that Crick was only 6 miles down the road when the show was on in May to get an idea of the prices and companies that were offering these devises. £13.60 to get in.

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Mooring in Flecknoe

Mooring in Flecknoe

Now in Rugby district of Warwickshire.

Initially tried staying in a previous location close to the Flecknoe station road. There were so many boaters there, and the mobile signal wasn’t that great.

I decided to re-trace my steps a little, which involved turning the boat around.

Oxford Canal like the M1

Turning the boat around turned out to be no joke.

The traffic on the Oxford canal is like the M1. Just so many boats, in either direction.

Usually, I can just nip the boat around, no problems, as long as the canal is wide enough.

Unfortunately, it was slightly windy, and that, added to the sheer number of boats moving made it difficult to do anything that wouldn’t involve blocking the canal for the moving traffic.

In the end, I had to go right the way down to Lower Shuckborough, which is about 2 miles away. Then come back.

The mobile signal is better here. It doesn’t drop out.

There are fewer other boaters. It’s closer walk to the car.

A bit more out in the wilds. Which suits me better.

Locking restrictions

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Old Braunston Town

Old Braunston Town

Where East meets West…. Midlands.

I can walk to Warwickshire and back again in about 8 minutes. The county-line is a stream that runs down the hill behind Braunston playing fields into the canal.

Braunston

Has a history as a boating town. It was once served by two railway lines. One station close to the marina in Wolfhamcote, and the other about a mile up the road in Willoughby.

Braunston Pump House
Braunston Pump House

It’s somewhere I’ve moored a few times over the years.

Facilities include:-

  • 4 pubs. The Nelson, The Wheatsheef, The Plough, The Boat
  • 3 Chandlers of sorts. Midlands Chandlers, Braunston Marina Chandlers, Tradline (rope and fender).
  • Butcher.
  • Post Office & Convenience store.
  • Hairdresser.
  • Fish and chip shop.
  • Knick & knack and icecream shop.
  • Broadband that works. At different speeds depending on where you moor up.
  • and other numerous other small business concerns around the local environs.

Due to this, and it’s location on the convergence of the Oxford and the Grand Union main line make it a favorite stopover for boaters, even if it is just for one or two nights.

The Stop House Braunston
The Stop House Braunston

The stop house is the toll house for the canal in the area. It now houses a small canal museum.

Also, it’s home to the CRT East Midlands enforcement crew.

Last year I dropped in here and picked up a Cruising Record, a log of all the locations that the CRT had logged for my vessel.

Oxford Branch

Like on the underground Oxford Circus.

Not really though…

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