The unavailability of an Internet connection on large parts of Britain’s waterways has turned me to drink. It is only from pubs and restaurants that I can get access to a usable wifi connection (O2’s rural 3G coverage is hopeless).  The exception was Braunston where we were moored opposite The Boathouse and we didn’t need to leave the comfort of the boat 🙂

Braunston is a Northamptonshire village which thrived on its position at the junction of the Oxford and Grand Union canals for over 150 years.  It continues to do well from the waterways even if the traffic is now pleasure based rather than commercial. The village sits on a hill above the canals as does its iconic church, the Cathedral of the Canals.

These are some ‘postcards’ from the early part of the journey, a trip which will take us from Crick back to Overwater.  The last of the images was our mooring at Hungerfield last Friday. Some 79 locks will eventually deliver us to Audlem.

(currently moored at Penkridge on the Staffs and Worcester)

... the Oxford and Grand Union junction, Braunston
... the Oxford and Grand Union canals meeting at Braunston
Oakmere ...Oakmere ...
Hungerfield ...

Travel theme: Pathways

It is almost always true to say that where ever there are canals, there are pathways.  The canals are a form of pathway themselves but in a more literal sense there are the waterside paths – the towpaths, originally built for the horses that provided the one horsepower required to pull the boats and their butties.  As any traveller on the English narrow canals will know, there is still evidence of this means of propulsion.  Many of the bridges have iron strips attached to the bottom of the arch on the towpath side; designed to protect the masonry, every example has multiple grooves worn into the metal by the ropes that once pulled the boats through the bridge holes.

This first picture was taken on the Canal du Midi at Colombiers one hot memorable summer when the shade of the tree lined waterway provided relief from a high bright summer sun; the second is a less warm, foggy morning on the Grand Union at Braunston:

Canal du MidiGrand Union

(click on the images to enlarge)