Saturday 28 August 2021

New territory

We reached the Hillmorton flight by 9.30 this morning, to avoid the traffic. These locks are not deep, but there are three pairs, side by side, so you can choose which side you want to go.

At the middle set there were two volunteer lockies. These locks have the reputation of being some of the busiest on the network, so they want to keep boats moving through.

Then it was on to the top pair – all very seamless. I practised letting Erin Mae drift into the lock while I stepped off at the entrance with a handling line, to go up the steps and operate the gate on this side.

You have to be especially careful about the water flow when you're not on board, but it's something that single boaters do all the time.

Then it was on towards Braunston, a long winding stretch with lots of traffic, including a boat to add to my list of Tolkien-themed boat names. I only saw the name as he passed, so you'll have to take my word for it, but this is NB The Naughty Hobbit. From the rear, it looks like a Sea Otter (for Roger and Mirjana, who know what that is).

Now I can't think of any particular reference to an especially naughty hobbit in either The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings. Perhaps one of the hobbit children had a reputation that I've forgotten. Anyway, I think I'll append the updated list to the end of this post.

I'd always thought of the view of Brewood church as you travel north on the Shroppie as likely being one of the most photographed, but I expect it's run close by the sight of Braunston church as you approach from the north. And it has an adjacent windmill for added value!

Some call Braunston the heart of the network. It must be almost totally unknown by anyone who isn't a boater. We've only been through here, in the reverse direction, once before, in 2015. 

Today we turned right at the junction, to move into new territory., and tied up about a mile beyond Braunston, on the first stretch of armco we found.

It's a decent mooring, but there is still lots of traffic. Hardly surprising for a Saturday on a bank holiday weekend towards the end of the summer.

Now, as promised, and to make a long post exceedingly long, here is my updated list of Tolkien-themed boat names.

Arwen Evenstar
Bilbo Baggins
Earls of Rohan
Frodo’s Dream
Lord of the Rings
Many Meetings
Riddles in the Dark
The Arkenstone
The Naughty Hobbit
There and Back Again
Tom Bombadil

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