Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Braunston By Bike

At the weekend, we made our annual trip to the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Gathering. In previous years, we've taken the bus from Rugby and got a lift back on Sunday to the station since th buses inly run on Sundays. But this year we decided to be a bit more adventurous and independent.

We took our bikes on the X5 bus to Milton Keynes, where we got a train to Long Buckby. From there we cycled the 6 or so miles to Braunston, arriving halfway through the afternoon's parade. We located Chertsey and hopped aboard just as Simon (Moomin) was very competently negotiating the turn.

It was a nice, if quieter, festival than normal, with far fewer boats than last year. I think most had adjusted their cruising schedules to go to other festival since they were worried about water levels on the Grand Union. Willow (or to use his more dignified name Willoughby), the Chertseys' cat, stole the show and spent the weekend posing for everyone's photographs. The other star was the beautiful tug White Heather, which everyone coveted!

We decided to spend Saturday evening in the Boathouse pub rather than endure the ridiculously loud music in the Beer Tent, and enjoyed a nice meal there, having hitched a ride over there on Alan and Cath's Sickle

. Over the course of the weekend we caught up with various bloggers and CanalWorld forum members, including the Herbies, Halfie and Adam from Briar Rose. We were very comfortable accomodated in the hold of Chertsey, without needing to bring a tent or even an airbed - instead using some cushions that Sarah and Jim had acquired from Richard and Sue on Tawny Owl. This meant that we could travel very light - enabling us to cycle there.

On Sunday we cycled back to Rugby rather than Long Buckby because there were only rail replacement buses from Long Buckby. We arrived in Rugby with plenty of time to spare and had dinner in Milton Keynes while waiting for our X5 bus back. However, the bus was full of bikes already, so we had to hope that the next one would take them, spending a worrying hour waiting and formulating plans for how to get back if the last bus had no room for the bikes! Luckily the hold was empty so there was no problem and we arrived back, bikes and all, without a problem.

p.s sorry for the lack of photos, I only had my phone and was saving it to use as a GPS to get us back to Rugby! There are however, loads of beautiful photos of the weekend elsewhere, both by Tim and Peter.

And here are a couple of lovely ones of Willow taken by cheiftiff on CWDF

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  1. Ha ha,that bloody cat is still haunting me when I come to read the blogs!

  2. It was good to see both of you there. You feature in some of my photos on my blog.

  3. I’ve cycled from Long Buckby station to the canal twice recently as I collected data for our Cruising Maps. Once I cycled through Braunston to Rugby and once through Braunston to Leamington Spa. Each done in one day. It’s a shame the road drops into the valley between Long Buckby Station and the canal, making it a slog up the other side.

    We’re about to drop down Rothersthorpe Locks on Saturday or Sunday to collect the mapping data for the Nene / Middle Levels / Great Ouse, including all the arms, branches and tributaries, over the next 6-8 weeks. There aren’t many towpaths to cycle that way so it has to be by boat. I’m hoping we might get to meet you when we reach Cambridge.