Another sunny day with a cool breeze. The breeze caught me out at the start of the day by blowing the boat away from the bank while I was picking the chain up. Shane had the rope at the front and I was able to get on there and get back to the controls. We are not used to starting that way round and so don’t have a routine that feels right.

It was beautiful in the sunshine but not always warm enough. I kept my extra layer on top most of the morning because of the breeze. We had a nice walk up to Braunston and did some shopping. There are some nice little paths from the canal to Braunston. On the way there was a brightly coloured hand knitted scarf on a post. I imagine the owner will be very forlorn to have lost it.

Lost shawl

We went to look at the junction and had a lovely garden lunch from the Gongoozlers Rest Cafe. They did seem to lose our order as we saw other people being served who had arrived after us but they were also very busy. I began to hanker after the pasties I had bought in the village but when it came it was very tasty and they were apologetic. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them for lunch or cake. After lunch we were going to approach the junction.

Braunston Junction

We walked back to the boat and saw our middle rope was tied to the side. On closer inspection the front spike was moved and looked muddy and we can only imagine that a boat passed so quickly it pulled a spike out and someone else managed to rescue it from the water and pull the boat back in and secured it further by replacing the spike and tying an extra rope. The spike and its protector were pretty wet and muddy. Thank you to the person or persons who did the good deed. It’s the second time today we nearly lost the boat and it didn’t seem like a stormy day. Far from it!

Summer driving today

We even saw a grass snake swimming energetically at the edge the canal and I think any time reptiles are active it must be warm. People were sitting outside having drinks and Shane suggested it might be Pimm’s o’clock. It was feeling a very leisurely day though lots of boats were moving, and the canal had a lots of sharp bends, where of course we often met another boat, but it was nice and wide. The locks yesterday were single width but we saw some double width boats today and all the bridges had been wide but we noticed the bridges became narrower again.

As we were finishing our Pimm’s, Shane was thinking of mooring. We gave up on one place as the path was very narrow and we didn’t want to use spikes there, in case it made it hard for people walking, especially with our muddy spike marker being less visible. Around the corner we saw a group using spikes and a gankplank and the edge was quite uneven. It didn’t get any easier. We had a fine view of a windmill on a hill and we snaked round it then it disappeared without us finding a suitable place to stop. In the end we have had to moor on a bend near the locks. 

We had a walk into the village and up the hill. The surrounding countryside is very flat. It all looked quite typically English with a thatched cottage, flat fields and an old church on a hill.


Except that one of the thatched cottages had a Welsh dragon and in the path we found these signs, with the Welsh first. When did we stray over the border? I didn’t think we were that far west.

We wandered past the church, over fields and stiles, but there was still no sign of the windmill that Shane was hoping to find. We kept thinking it would be around the next corner. There seemed nowhere higher around. And it was getting late and we hadn’t had our tea yet.


Handsome chaps on the hill

He didn’t have his phone so eventually we consulted mine and it took some time to find it on our map but we did get there in the end. There were friendly signs by the farm warning motorists that you could drive to the windmill but not turn round so would have a long reverse unless you turned round at the farm. We didn’t meet any cars, or people, up there. Just the sheep. Until at last we got there.

Napton Windmill

We found our way back and Bartimaeus had stayed put this time so the wonky angle didn’t seem to be a problem. There was a noisy party by the towpath but once inside we didn’t hear them but later we did hear tapping on the boat…drunk revellers? No – swans on a nocturnal explore, examining the side of the boat with their beaks.