The Cruise of the Dondevoy


The part of the canal I was on was familiar to me, as I had walked it in the opposite direction two years before. Apart from the tunnel, over which I had walked the previous time, I knew the scenery as far as Braunston. Just before the tunnel I took two young surveyors across the canal, saving them a long walk. We had quite a long chat, and they told me how to go about getting a job with a surveyor, if I should ever want to.

The tunnel was not nearly as bad as Blisworth, as the other end came in sight almost immediately, and there was not so much water leaking through the roof. Soon after came Braunston Locks, where there were a number of boats coming up the opposite way, so different from the last time I saw them, when the flight of six locks was closed off for repairs. At the boatyard below the locks there was a new narrow boat being launched, so I moored opposite and had my lunch. When finally the boat went in the water, it was rather an anticlimax; no ceremony or bottle of champagne, just a few shouted orders, huge grunts from those pushing, and the boat slid ungracefully sideways into the water, making a slow splash.

Just a little further, and the Northern Arm of the Oxford Canal leaves the Grand Union at Braunston Junction; I followed it, making good progress, with two stops to give small herds of young boys short lifts. The canal passes outside Rugby, and it was here that I went over my first road aqueduct.

After passing many derelict arms, I chose one to moor in just opposite a boat hire firm. Alas, at half past ten that night I was told to move as I was on a private mooring; they were as nice as could be expected about it, though.

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