Dashing down the Grand Union Canal to London – first three days

Our aim at the moment is to get down to Limehouse in London for the evening of September 19th. We’ve got a spot booked to take the boat on a guided trip around the Olympic Park. The opportunities to do this are few and far between and we really don’t want to miss out.

To car drivers this might not seem like a very tight schedule – after all it’s only a couple of hours down the M1 and we have 11 days!  On the canals it’s approximately a 124 mile trip with 107 locks to work. We would normally travel a very relaxed 6 to 8 miles a day and would include occasional rest days just in case we’d over-stressed ourselves. Obviously we’re going to have to work quite a bit harder!

From Hawkesbury Junction we headed back down the North Oxford Canal towards Braunston. Our first night was spent in the middle of nowhere just past Brinklow Marina. It was a bit of a shorter journey than we’d planned but a lovely lunch with Bob, Diane, Pat and Tony was worth a little bit of a change in schedule!

The next day we went up the three Hillmorton Locks…..


….we stopped off in Braunston for a bit of shopping and I spotted this beauty…

MorganBraunston2….before we headed off on the Grand Union Canal, up the 6 Braunston locks and through the Braunston Tunnel. At just over a mile long, it’s nowhere near the longest tunnel in the system but it’s still quite claustrophobic as the kink at the end means you can’t see any daylight in front of you for quite some time when you’re heading south.

BraunstonTunnelWhen you come out of the tunnel the cutting on the other side is so enclosed that the diesel fumes collect and make it look like you’re coming into a mist! We had originally planned to stop here but the fumes changed our minds!

ExitingBraunstonTunnelInstead, we carried on and moored up in a lovely spot just before Norton Junction where you can choose to carry on south towards London or to head up to Leicester. We were heading south.

MooringNortonJunctionThe view from the poop deck was lovely that night….

SunsetNortonJunction….and just as lovely but very different the next morning when we set out early to get to Gayton Junction in decent time for Gordon to do an oil change.

moonsetNortonJunctionIt is a beautiful time of day to be out and about by the canal.


PrettyWillowsEven CaRT work boats look pretty with the sun coming up and the mist on the water.

DawnNortonJunction2By the end of the third day we had arrived at Gayton Junction where there is a branch that heads off up to Northampton and the River Nene.

Not for us on this occasion – we’re still heading south!

At this point we’d travelled about 35 miles and done just 13 of the 107 locks. Just 89 miles, 94 locks and 8 days to go – ish!






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