We left Norton Junction for Braunston. The stacked straw bales stirred mixed emotions in me as they are a sign of a successful harvest and also a signal that the Summer is nearing an end and the need for my fleece jacket was another sign today.
We met three boats in Braunston tunnel and we were also followed! This meant we would have a lock buddy for the six locks ahead.
We were met at the top lock by a cheery smile from the volunteer lock-keeper who was glad to see us – she was concerned about her water levels as there had been too many boats coming up the flight rather than down.
The family on the hire boat sharing the locks with us had enjoyed their first week on the canals and were about to hand their boat back so there were some glum faces on board.
The moorings in Braunston were already pretty busy by lunch-time and we took the last space. The rain arrived at 1pm as forecast and we waited in until early evening for it to stop before venturing out. We walked through some of Braunston’s ‘open access’ pastures and followed a circular route that brought us back to the North Oxford canal and back into the village – a walk that took about an hour.
Late arriving hire boat crews, looking somewhat bedraggled after the rain, were venting disappointment that all the moorings were full, and were having to travel further to find somewhere to moor up for the night.
We returned Max to the boat and we headed back to the Admiral Nelson pub. For years Storm has worked in a building on the side of the Lord Nelson pub, Hamilton House, and so we just had to see what promotion had meant! This was a cosy pub, with an unusual collection of many chairs, sofas, stools, and a pleasant change from the gastro-style, child friendly Boat House. We sat in the far room and coincidentally met our lock buddies from both yesterday and today.