Weedon, Braunston and on to Wormleighton

We are on our way to Henley for an autumn cruise. Because of commitments we moved Albert to Weedon on Tuesday but then returned home. The weather was bright and we had a good start to our trip. We were greeted at the bottom lock of Stoke Bruerne flight by a CRT volunteer who helped us with the first lock and provided intelligence about movements up and down the locks. Going up alone we were caught up by the wide-beam hotel boat  Tranquil Rose. One of their crew came ahead and helped us. The hotel boat stopped at Stoke but we pressed on through Blisworth Tunnel. We passed three boats coming the other way in the tunnel but all were well controlled, making passing easy. We eventually stopped near Stowe Hill and got a lift home.
Autumn on the Grand Union
Jules Fuels (NB Towcester) delivering coal near Gayton

On Thursday we moved Albert on to Braunston passing NB Harnser near Brockhall. A crew ahead, NB Emotional Rescue, waited for us at Whilton (Buckby) locks and we shared locks up the flight. The weather was bright and sunny which made the trip all the more enjoyable.

At the top lock of the Buckby flight we found that one of our favourite watering holes, the New Inn has closed down. We have enjoyed many visits to the New Inn on our way through. Although not a smart pub it always produced good food at good prices. It also had a good selection of real ales and ciders. We hope it doesn’t close permanently they are few enough “real” canal-side inns. Evidently it closed in June. It was certainly open when we passed through in May.

The passage through Braunston tunnel was straightforward with only one boat coming the other way. At Braunston top lock we met up with a single-handed boat going down the flight and shared locks. We moored up for the night in the centre of Braunston where there were plenty of moorings, unlike during the summer. We visited The Boat House for an evening two-for-one meal. I treated myself to a pint of Sneck Lifter.

It rained overnight but today was dry but dull and chilly. We picked coal from NB Bletchley in Braunston and had uneventful trip through to Napton where again there was a CRT volunteer tending to the locks. There were quite a few boats coming down the flight which meant most locks were set for us. We eventually cleared the flight about 2 o’clock and moored up for the night by the radio aerial at Wormleighton. Maggie cooked some delicious chicken with butternut squash.