To Braunston (25 March)

Listened to the Today programme as we got up and heard that the RSPB Top Ten Garden Birds was featuring long-tailed tits. And there, as if on cue, a pair of long-tailed tits appeared in the hedge beside our mooring.

It was another very windy day and it was difficult keeping a good line. We got to Whilton for lunch and then went up the locks with an Ownerships boat. By efficient locking we got to Norton Junction in good time and decided to go onto Braunston.

They are refurbishing the towpath between Norton Junction and the tunnel. It's about time. The only problem is the contractor, Morrisons, appear to think that passing boats are there to be ignored and they don't even need to consider them.

Just before the second bridge out of Norton I noticed a work boat under the bridge. It was heading away from us and so promptly disappeared. It was therefore a great surprise when as I approached the bridge it suddenly reappeared going in reverse. The steerer was very concerned with the dumb barge he was manoeuvring and was not looking behind at all. I pulled to a stop just at the bridge but the workboat still kept coming back, with the steerer still not looking behind! After I pulled back someway he moved forward and pulled into a temporary wharf the contractors had set up just behind the bridge. The steerer didn't even look around as we passed by. What about consideration for other canal users? What about a lookout, since their wharf was hidden from view? I was not impressed.

We went down the Braunston flight with a hire boat from Hillmorton who came through the tunnel just behind us. They had a very efficient crew so, with Maggie setting the locks, we were able to get to the bottom lock just before the Canal Shop closed its doors. We managed to find a good mooring just by the Stop House and had a meal in a very quiet Millhouse.