Not making waves!

Oxford to Braunston on the Oxford Canal, 2015

June 30 – July 5, 2015.

July 5: Braunston

July 4: The Folly Bridge, Napton

July 3: Cropredy

Grant's Lock in the early morning mist

Grant’s Lock in the early morning mist

July 2: Twyford Bridge

Twyford Bridge

Twyford Bridge

June 30: Thrupp

Moored at Thrupp with Aubreys Lift Bridge (221) in the distance

Moored at Thrupp with Aubreys Lift Bridge (221) in the distance

Moored at Thrupp

Moored at Thrupp

 

Taking on water in Oxford

Taking on water in Oxford

 

Braunston to Limehouse

May 26 – June 19, 2015.

Limehouse Basin Visitor Mooring 2

Limehouse Basin Visitor Mooring

Limehouse Basin Visitor Mooring 1

Limehouse Basin Visitor Mooring

Progress temporary halted! The drained pound between Hawley Lock and Kentish Town Lock

Progress temporary halted! The drained pound between Hawley Lock and Kentish Town Lock (another view)

drained-pound-between-hawley-lock-kentish-town-lock-1

Progress temporary halted! The drained pound between Hawley Lock and Kentish Town Lock

 

Denham Deep Lock. Where's my centre rope?

Denham Deep Lock. Where’s my centre rope?

Car parking at Stocker's Lock

Car parking at Stocker’s Lock

Batchworth Lock Rickmansworth lift bridge over River Chess

Batchworth Lock Rickmansworth lift bridge over River Chess

little-blue-batchworth-swan-family

Family of swans at Batchworth

Locking up

Locking up

little-blue-stoke-bruerne-2015

Moored at Stoke Bruerne

 

 

 

Braunston to Cropredy on the Oxford Canal

September 02-06, 2014.

Just a short journey to take advantage of the fine early September weather.

Although I’ve made the trip twice before, travelling north from Oxford to Braunston, this is the first time I’ve travelled south on the South Oxford Canal.

Napton Junction for the Grand Union Canal North

Napton Junction for the Grand Union Canal North

Windmill on Napton Hill the Oxford Canal

Windmill on Napton Hill the Oxford Canal (you have to look very closely to spot it! 😉 )

The Folly Public House at Napton Bottom Lock. Very fine it is too!

The Folly Public House at Napton Bottom Lock. Very fine it is too!

Napton Bottom Lock on the Oxford Canal

Napton Bottom Lock on the Oxford Canal

Boundary Lift Bridge on the Oxford Canal

Boundary Lift Bridge on the Oxford Canal

The Brasenose Arms Cropredy

The Brasenose Arms Cropredy

Oxford Canal Lock 10. Napton Locks 3.

Oxford Canal Lock 10. Napton Locks 3 with pillbox.

 

 

 

Braunston to Llangollen

July 16 – August 02, 2014.

Having only 2 weeks until I meet a friend and his daughter, Peter and Myah, at Ellesmere on the Llangollen Canal, I thought I’d better make a start.  I made it to Newbold-on-Avon which is on the fringe of Rugby and 11.25 miles and 3 locks (Hillmorton Locks) from Braunston. It’s also, more-or-less, halfway to Hawkesbury Junction the end of the Oxford Canal where it joins the Coventry Canal.

Hillmorton Locks 4 & 5 on the Oxford Canal

Hillmorton Locks 4 & 5 on the Oxford Canal

Hillmorton Locks 2 & 3 on The Oxford Canal

Hillmorton Locks 2 & 3 on The Oxford Canal

Pillbox on the North Xford Canal

Pillbox on the North Oxford Canal

My second day out and my aim was to make it at least onto the Coventry Canal, approximately 11.5 miles and just 1 lock – the stop lock a Hawkesbury Junction. Setting off from Newbold the canal took me through Newbold Tunnel which at only 250 yards in length is a relaxing cruise underground compared with the Braunston Tunnel for example. Passing by Brinklow and Ansty Villages and under the M6 and M69 motorways it took me approximately 4.5 hours to reach Hawkesbury junction and pass through the stop lock to join the Coventry Canal.

Newbold Tunnel 250 yards in length

Newbold Tunnel 250 yards in length

The Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. The Engine House used to pump water from a well into the canal.

The Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction. The Engine House used to pump water from a well into the canal.

After a short break for lunch I continued up the Coventry Canal travelling a further 7.5 miles passing by Bedworth, Marston Junction- the entry to the Ashby Canal and through Nuneaton to finally tie up for the day just beyond Wood Bridge (27) about 3 miles from Atherstone.

Marston Junction

Marston Junction

An interesting mooring on the Coventry Canal

An interesting mooring on the Coventry Canal

This is my first time on the Coventry Canal, and it’ll my first time on the canals I’ll now travel on to Llangollen. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Coventry Canal, both by the countryside and condition of the canal and the locks which is good. So far, apart from the 3 Hillmorton locks and the Hawkesbury stop lock, my journey has been lock free. Today, my third, is to be different. Through Hartshill the canal winds through the countryside and past what were once quarries and slag heaps but you’d hardly guess as they’ve all been landscaped and blend into the landscape. Continuing on, approaching Atherstone where the Atherstone locks have to be negotiated – 11 in total spread over approximately 2 miles. Once through the Atherstone locks it’s a lock free cruise for approximately 8 miles before the 2 locks at Glascote are reached just before Fazeley Junction. Continuing on from Fazeley Junction the canal becomes the Birmingham & Fazeley with bridges having names rather than numbers. There are no locks on this section between Fazeley Junction and Fradley Junction. Once the canal reaches Whittington Brook it becomes the Coventry Canal, and the bridges are again numbered until it reaches it’s terminus at Fradley Junction. I didn’t make it that far and moored for the night at a village called Hopwas about 2.5 miles from Fazeley Junction on the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

Surprising how attractive the Coventry Canal is.

Surprising how attractive the Coventry Canal is.

Atherstone Top Lock. The first lock of thirteen on the Coventry Canal

Atherstone Top Lock. The first lock of thirteen on the Coventry Canal

The only pillbox I've spotted on the Coventry Canal. It guards the Tame Aqueduct.

The only pillbox I’ve spotted on the Coventry Canal. It guards the Tame Aqueduct.

Fazeley Junction where the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

Fazeley Junction where the Coventry Canal meets the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal.

Setting off the next morning from Hopwas, it was Saturday and raining, however, the rain was forecast to stop for several hours approximately an hour after I set off so that was okay as I would dry off in the sun. The rain did stop but for only a short period from when it alternated between heavy and torrential. It was a wet day. Soaked through I made it onto the Trent & Mersey Canal at Fradley Junction and my first locks for the day.

The swing bridge at the terminus of the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction

The swing bridge at the terminus of the Coventry Canal at Fradley Junction

Fradley Junction

Fradley Junction

Trent & Mersey Shadehouse Lock (19)

Trent & Mersey Canal Shadehouse Lock (19)

Another view of Shadehouse Lock (19)

Another view of Shadehouse Lock (19)

Rugeley Coal Fired Power Station from the Trent & Mersey

Rugeley Coal Fired Power Station from the Trent & Mersey Canal

Aqueduct over the River Trent on the Staffordshire & Worcester Canal

Aqueduct over the River Trent on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Tixall Lock on the Staffs & Worcs. Canal

Tixall Lock on the Staffs & Worcs. Canal

Going up in Tixall Lock

Going up in Tixall Lock

View from Deptmore Lock On the Stass. & Worcs. Canal

View from Deptmore Lock on the Staffs. & Worcs. Canal

Taking water on at Penkridge Lock on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

Taking water on at Penkridge Lock on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

The M6 motorway running parallel to The Staffordshite & Worcestershire Canal between Otherton Lock and Rodbaston Lock

The M6 motorway running parallel to The Staffordshite & Worcestershire Canal between Otherton Lock and Rodbaston Lock

Autherley Junction on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal for the Shropshire Union Canal

Autherley Junction on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal for the Shropshire Union Canal

Autherley Stop Lock on the Shropshire Union Canal

Autherley Stop Lock on the Shropshire Union Canal

Moored at Brewood on he Shropshire Union Canal

Moored at Brewood on the Shropshire Union Canal

High Bridge 39 Grub Street Cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal

High Bridge 39 Grub Street Cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal

Narrow cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal

Narrow cutting on the Shropshire Union Canal

High Bridge 57 Woodseaves Cutting the Shropshire Union Canal

High Bridge 57 Woodseaves Cutting the Shropshire Union Canal

No stopping between Tyrley Locks 4 & 5 on the Shropshire Union Canal!

No stopping between Tyrley Locks 4 & 5 on the Shropshire Union Canal!

Happy fishermen on the Shropshire Union Canal

Happy fishermen near Tyrley on the Shropshire Union Canal

Happy Fishermen at Tyrley on the Shropshire Union Canal

Gongoozlers on the Shropshire Union Canal

Butty Saturn moored at Audlem Wharf for the Historic Narrow Boats Gathering July 26-27

Shropie Fly Boat Saturn moored at Audlem Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal for the Historic Narrow Boats Gathering July 26-27

Hurleston Junction on the Sropshire Union Canal - Welcome to the Llangollen Canal

Hurleston Junction on the Shropshire Union Canal – Welcome to the Llangollen Canal

Lift Bridge on the Llangollen Canal

Wrenbury Church Lift Bridge 19 on the Llangollen Canal

Moored on the Whitchurch Arm of the Llangollen Canal

Moored on the Whitchurch Arm of the Llangollen Canal

Hassell's No.1 Lift Bridge 33 on the Llangollen Canal

Hassell’s No.1 Lift Bridge 33 on the Llangollen Canal

Llangollen Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company Warehouse at Ellesmere Wharf

Llangollen Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company Warehouse at Ellesmere Wharf

Ellesmere CRT Yard

Beech House and Ellesmere CRT Yard

Llangollen Canal Chirk Aqueduct leading into Chirk Tunnel

Llangollen Canal Chirk Aqueduct leading into Chirk Tunnel

Llangollen Canal view from Chirk Aqueduct

Llangollen Canal a view from Chirk Aqueduct

Llangollen Canal moored at Chirk

Llangollen Canal Chirk Tunnel

Llangollen Canal moored at Chirk

Llangollen Canal moored at Chirk

Llangollen Canal Vale of Llangollen Plas Isaf Bridge 37W

Llangollen Canal Vale of Llangollen Plas Isaf Bridge 37W

A view of the River Dee from the bridge over the Dee in Llangollen Town

A view of the River Dee from the bridge in Llangollen town

Llangollen Canal Ty Craig Bridge on the canal between Llangollen and Horseshoe Falls

Llangollen Canal Ty Craig Bridge on the canal between Llangollen and Horseshoe Falls

Llangollen Canal view of River Dee

Llangollen Canal view of River Dee

Llangollen Canal view of River Dee

Llangollen Canal Horseshoe Falls

The return journey: August 04 – 15, 2014

Llangollen Canal Historic Shropie Fly Boat Saturn moored below Grindley Brook Locks

Llangollen Canal Historic Shropie Fly Boat Saturn moored below Grindley Brook Locks

Spotted on the Shropshire Union Historic Fellows, Clayton & Morton Narrowboat Viceroy

Spotted on the Shropshire Union Historic Fellows, Morton & Clayton Narrowboat Viceroy

Coventry Canal Landscape Scene

Coventry Canal Landscape Scene

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Hopwas

Birmingham & Fazeley Canal Hopwas

CRT's Hartshill Yard on the Coventry Canal

CRT’s Hartshill Yard on the Coventry Canal

Another Coventry Canal Landscape Scene

Another Coventry Canal Landscape Scene

 

Braunston to Llangollen – Planned Route

This is the planned route for my next journey from Braunston to Llangollen:

Oxford Canal from Braunston to Hawkesbury Junction

  • 22.75 miles
  • 4 locks
  • 22.75 miles
  • 4 locks

Places on route:

  • Rugby
  • Hawkesbury Junction

Coventry Canal from Hawkesbury Junction to Fradley Junction

  • 32.5 miles
  • 13 locks
  • 55.25 miles
  • 17 locks
  • Bedworth
  • Nuneaton
  • Atherstone
  • Tamworth
  • Glascote
  • Fazeley Junction
  • Fradley Junction

Trent & Mersey Canal from Fradley Junction to Great Haywood Junction

  • 12.75 miles
  • 5 locks
  • 68 miles
  • 22 locks
  • Rugeley
  • Great Haywood Junction

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal from Great Haywood Junction to Autherley Junction

  • 21 miles
  • 12 locks
  • 89 miles
  • 34 locks
  • Autherley Junction

Shropshire Union Canal from Autherley Junction to Hurleston Junction

  • 40.75 miles
  • 29 locks
  • 129.75 miles
  • 63 locks
  • Market Drayton
  • Nantwich
  • Hurleston Junction

Llangollen Canal from Hurleston Junction to Ellesmere

  • 25.75 miles
  • 19 locks
  • 155.5 miles
  • 82 locks
  • Whitchurch
  • Ellesmere

Llangollen Canal from Ellesmere to Llangollen

  • 19 miles
  • 2 locks
  • 174.5 miles
  • 84 locks
  • Llangollen

Braunston Historic Boat Rally 2014

The Braunston Historic Boat Rally for 2014 was held over the weekend June 28-29.

 

Some of the tugs attending the rally

Some of the tugs attending the rally

Raymond and Nutfield

Raymond and Nutfield

Nutfield and Raymond executing a manoeuvre to reverse into the marina

Nutfield and Raymond executing a manoeuvre to reverse into the marina

FMC boat Vulcan with guest Timothy West

FMC boat Vulcan with guest Timothy West

FMC boat Monarch formerly a steamer

FMC boat Monarch formerly a steamer

Tug White Heather

Tug White Heather

White Heather and friends

White Heather and friends

White Heather was built in 1932 for the Borough of St Marylebone as a refuse tug.

White Heather was built in 1932 for the Borough of St Marylebone as a refuse tug.

Steam Canal Tunnel Tug Adamant

Steam Canal Tunnel Tug Adamant

Tunnel Tug Sharpness

Tunnel Tug Sharpness

Steam Tunnel Tug Hasty a remake of the original that possibly operated in Braunston Tunnel towards the end of the 19th century

Steam Tunnel Tug Hasty a remake of the original that possibly operated in Braunston Tunnel towards the end of the 19th century

 

Braunston to London on The Grand Union

May 2, 2014 – May 11, 2014.

Braunston Bottom Lock

Braunston Bottom Lock

Braunston Bottom Lock. The first of 89 locks to Paddington Basin. If you include the 12 Regents Canal locks to Limehouse Basin, the final destination, that makes 101 locks over a distance of approximately 107 miles. Easy 😉

Braunston Pump House at Bottom Lock

Braunston Pump House at Bottom Lock

Braunston Lock No. 2

Braunston Lock No. 2

Lock No. 3 with The Admiral Nelson Pub

Lock No. 3 with The Admiral Nelson Pub

Braunston Tunnel

Braunston Tunnel (West entrance)

Braunston Tunnel, the first of two on the journey south to London, is 2042 yards long and 16 feet 6 inches wide enabling two boats travelling in opposite directions to pass (just!).

Braunston Tunnel (East entrance)

Braunston Tunnel (East entrance)

On my first day I travelled as far as Bugbrooke, a peaceful Northamptonshire village. On route I passed through Norton Junction, where the Grand Union main line meets the Grand Union Leicester branch, Long Buckby Wharf, Weedon Bec and Nether Heyford. All places worth visiting in their own right if you have time.

Moored at Bugbrooke

Moored at Bugbrooke

Bugbrooke

Bugbrooke Village

Bugbrooke Wharf (now a pub)

Bugbrooke Wharf (now a pub)

Creating some smoke in Stoke Bruerne

Creating some smoke in Stoke Bruerne

Stoke Bruerne, 20 miles from Braunston by the Grand Union, I reached on my second day out, having passed through Braunston Tunnel, Blisworth Tunnel and 15 locks.

Blisworth Tunnel (Stoke Bruerne entrance)

Blisworth Tunnel (Stoke Bruerne entrance)

Blisworth tunnel is 3057 yards long – approximately 1.7 miles. Like Braunston, it’s wide enough for two boats travelling in opposite directions to pass. I was lucky not to meet any boats in both tunnels. Despite the frequent cascades of water falling through the tunnel ceiling, that can give you and your boat an unwanted wash, I find navigating Blisworth tunnel is easier than Braunston as it’s straight, whereas Braunston has a few kinks that can result in a scrape or two if your concentration wanders for second.

Stoke Bruerne

Stoke Bruerne

Stoke Bruerne is noted for being possibly the best example of a canal village in England.

The famous Boat Inn Stoke Bruerne

The famous Boat Inn Stoke Bruerne

Leaving Stoke Bruerne my aim was to reach Fenny Stratford, approximately 17 miles away, which I did quite comfortably in the end. This involved passing through Stoke Bruerne Locks 16-20, Cosgrove Lock 21, Wolverton and twisting through Milton Keynes, for what felt like forever, to eventually arrive at Fenny Stratford.

Fenny Stratford Lock and the Red LIon pub

Fenny Stratford Lock and the Red Lion pub

Soulbury Three Locks

Soulbury Three Locks (Well 2 of them!)

My fourth day out was leisurely. It was Bank Holiday Monday, and my sister Alison joined me, providing welcome company and help, to travel from Fenny Stratford to Leighton Buzzard, passing through Fenny Stratford Lock, Stoke Hammond Lock and the Soulbury Three Locks, mooring just above Leighton Lock, 46 miles from Braunston, for the night. Alison got the train home to Hemel Hempstead. It would take me a further 3 days to reach Hemel.

Swingbridge 112 which is fixed open. Just before Leighton Lock, Leighton Buzzard

Swingbridge 112 which is fixed open. Just before Leighton Lock, Leighton Buzzard

From Leighton Buzzard I travelled to towards Marsworth through peaceful countryside, negotiating locks with great names: Church Lock (there’s a church), Ivinghoe (2 locks), Seabrook (3 locks). I moored on the towpath in what felt like the middle of nowhere (near Pitstone) – apart from the railway line and the constant passing of trains!

Ivinghoe Lock 33 (Cheddington)

Ivinghoe Lock 33 (Cheddington)

Day six has been a lock day, 16 all told from Pitstone to Berkhamsted. This included Marsworth Locks 37-45. I had help on the last 4 of the Marsworth Locks from CRT (Canal & Rivers Trust) volunteers which I welcomed and appreciated. Dudsworth Lock 48 below came later. I took the photo because I think the lock keepers house, if that’s what it is, or was, looks more interesting than the standard.

Dudswell Lock 48

Dudswell Lock 48

Heron in Berkhamsted. My first opportunity to get a photo!

Heron in Berkhamsted. My first opportunity to get a photo of a Heron!

Berkhamsted is 61 miles and 52 locks from Braunston and a great place to moor up for a couple of days if you have the time. I stayed one night only choosing to press on to Hemel Hempstead, just 3.5 miles away, negotiating Winkwell Swing Bridge, which is key operated and automatic, but it does involve holding up any passing traffic and pedestrians in the process, mooring just above Fishery Lock 63.

Berkhamsted. The Grand Union was originally called the Grand Junction canal.

Berkhamsted. The Grand Union was originally called the Grand Junction canal.

Berkhamsted. The Boat Inn

Berkhamsted. The Boat Inn

The Boat, probably the most popular name for a pub on the canal, along with The Navigation.

Moored above Fishery Lock, Hemel Hempstead

Moored above Fishery Lock, Hemel Hempstead

From Berkhamstead Lock 53 through to Batchworth Lock 81, 28 locks over approximately 12 miles, is the greatest concentration of locks on the journey and takes some effort. From Hemel Hempstead Fishery Lock a friend joined me for the day to Batchworth that involved 19 locks. On route we passed through Apsley, Kings Langley, Abbots Langley, some picturesque countryside around Hunton Bridge Locks (72,73) and Lady Capel’s Lock (74).

Hunton Bridge Lock 73

Hunton Bridge Lock 73

Moored at Batchworth

Moored at Batchworth

getting water at Batchworth Lock

getting water at Batchworth Lock

From Batchworth to my next planned stop Uxbridge I was solo again passing through the interestingly named Black Jack’s Lock 85, I wonder what the story is behind that name? , and the deepest lock on the journey at 11 feet 1 inch Denham Deep Lock 87 – looking down into the lock can give you a feeling of high anxiety!

Local wild life at Black Jacks Lock 85

Local wild life at Black Jacks Lock 85

Moored at Uxbridge

Moored at Uxbridge

Tenth day of the journey and I travelled from Uxbridge to Paddington Basin via Bull’s Bridge and the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union. I had the company of two friends on this leg of the journey through West London, however, apart from Cowley Lock 89, it’s lock free so my crew had an easy time!

Little Blue in Paddington

Little Blue in Paddington