We arrived at Braunston on Friday afternoon knowing that the weather would prevent us leaving the marina until Saturday morning. We weren’t wrong and so we spent a relaxing evening on board while the wind and rain lashed the outside of the boat.
Saturday morning brought the promise of a beautiful day and so we got out of bed just after eight and did our chores before we set off an hour later. We chugged out of the marina and made our way slowly towards Braunston turn in the morning sunshine. Once we had rounded the bend at the junction, Sue toasted some crumpets and we had breakfast on the go. We pootled along until we reached Wigram’s turn where veered to the right and headed for the three locks at Calcutt. We thought that we would be travelling with a hire boat moored at the top lock but they were taking on water and so we entered the first lock alone. Our lone locking carried on but with a number of boats climbing up the flight our passage down was swift and easy. We enjoyed a glass of wine at midday as we made our way from Calcutt locks to those at Stockton. We did the first lock on our own but then caught up with another narrowboat whose crew had waited for us in the second lock. We benefitted from the kindness of their friends who were in front and had set some of the locks in our favour with the result that we were very quickly down and through the eight locks above the Blue Lias pub. We decided to make a stop there for lunch and while we were chatting about our stop I hit the bridge! There is no excuse, I just wasn’t paying attention and although this is a particularly low bridge, it was my fault completely. Fortunately the fairlead on the port side bore the brunt of the collision so at least the paintwork escaped damage. Of course these sort of things only happen when there is an audience and today was no exception, the garden of the Blue Lias was full of customers and as a result I got a round of applause and one or two comments from the pub patrons. It didn’t put us off and within a few minutes we were tied up and sitting in the garden with a drink and a sandwich as we enjoyed a break in the afternoon sun.
Refreshed and re-energised we set off and dropped through the two locks to Long Itchington. As we passed a line of moored boats, we were advised by someone who had been tied up at the pub to “watch out for bridges”, there’s always a smartarse somewhere!
We partnered up with a lone locker through the remaining locks down to the Fosse lock but we were entertained along the way by a Canal club hire boat whose crew wanted to turn before the Bascote staircase lock. Unfortunately the canal is not wide enough at that point to turn a 55’ boat so they had to drop through the staircase before turning around with some difficulty and a great deal of help from our lock partner. Leaving the hire boat behind, we made our way gently to our mooring just above Fosse lock, our lock partner moors below the lock so as I tied Phoenix III to the bank, Sue assisted him through his final lock.
So after 19 locks and umpteen miles in just over eight hours we were moored up for the evening. We had an hour out on the back deck with a drink before retreating to the cabin where we had our evening meal. All that was left to do was to flop into our chairs and contemplate the rest of our journey down to Warwick and hopefully a mooring in the Saltisford arm.