Saturday, 25 May 2013

Napton to Crick

Napton junction

When the Oxford canal reaches Napton junction it becomes the Grand Union canal until it reaches Braunston Turn when it then heads north again towards Coventry.

The rest of our trip to Crick took in the Grand Union from Napton, through Braunston to Norton junction where we turned north up the Leicester Line - 16 miles and 13 locks.

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Here is a view of the hill and windmill of Napton-on-the-Hill.

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We moored just before Braunston turn and had our first barbeque of the year!

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Braunston turn

All junctions seem to become famous or infamous, usually because they are where two different canals meet.  Each canal would be run by different companies both vying for the tolls of the passing freight traffic so toll houses are often still seen. 

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Braunston

We spent a few days in Braunston; a pretty Northamptonshire village. One day we caught a couple of buses back to Banbury to pick up the car.  We love the country buses; the only people who use them are those with bus passes and everyone knows each other and the bus driver.

Braunston church has a separate graveyard for boatmen’s families.  Braunston used to be one of the busiest places on the canal network for freight traffic.  Indeed, it is still very busy today but with leisure boats.

We see many pubs next to the canal and mainly at locks but the Admiral Nelson at Braunston must be one of the closest to a lock we have seen.

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The Braunston flight

The only locks on the section between Napton and Norton junctions are the six on the Braunston flight (although I don’t have a picture of the top lock).  These are double width locks as we are back on the main Grand Union.  The reason Karen operates the locks is because of my bad back, not because I am lazy or anything like that.

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Braunston tunnel

After ascending the Braunston flight the summit is reached and then the mile long Braunston tunnel.  The tunnel has airshafts and we both tried to take pictures as we went underneath.  You can guess who got the best picture and who had their camera the wrong way round.

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Norton junction

This is the toll house at Norton junction.  Braunston is down on the left and we had to turn sharp left to go up the Leicester line on the right.  My sister Judith and her partner Nigel joined us for the weekend here to take the trip up to Crick.

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Staircases

A few miles after Norton junction we passed the lorry park at Watford Gap services on the M1.  Lorry drivers were eating their sandwiches on the side of the canal - watching a change of pace I suspect.  Soon after that was the Watford staircase; this is a series of four locks where the top gates of one lock are the bottom gates of the next.  This means that traffic has to be one way only.  You go through the whole flight before someone can travel in the opposite direction.  I still can’t quite get my head round these locks but Karen seems OK with them.

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Yellow wagtails had built a nest in one of the lock gates and eggs had been laid.

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Just before we got to Crick we had to go through Crick tunnel.  Here you will see Nigel in one of his more usual poses.

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