We came back to our home mooring today, setting out to a cloudy but dry day. Around Norton junction, in to the Braunston tunnel, we arrived at the top lock to be ushered in beside two tiny boats, nose to tail. Storm, the first boat, was a deep draught large engine tug, first used to pull horse drawn boats through tunnels in the years of transition from horse to engine. Laura was a BCN Tug 10, once one of a small fleet of day boats to give day trips around the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN). A lovely bunch of boaters and much hilarity made the descent of these six familiar locks quite a fun trip.
We made our way out of the bottom lock to a teeming canal, packed with hire boats, experienced crews and novices alike and it seemed everyone and their cousin who had a boat. It looked just as busy as a festival weekend! We pulled alongside Wells Fargo for a chat just before the Oxford cut north from the Grand, then pulled into this much loved home stretch.
What a hoot. We just passed Bridge 80 (undergoing serious and welcome repair) and slowed our way in at the tail end of quite a traffic jam! A southbound hire boat managed to get itself across the canal and with all the traffic both ways, the boats kept piling in. No crashes, but a few friendly nudges, a crew member on the bank with the centre line and some helpful hand pushes meant that the heap soon unjammed. But then the boat behind us ran aground and the jam built up again!
We were welcomed back to our mooring by some delightful Moorhen chicks squeaking hello and we now have a very happy Josie.