The trip to Braunston was pretty uneventful and has been remarked on before (see blogs passim), although Audrone managed to snap a much better picture of the northern approach to Braunston than we have managed previously. Also we had the big drama with the stern gland. . .
This is an ongoing problem that we seem to encounter quite a lot. What in effect happens is that a horrid whining noise (like a Qantas jet at Heathrow airport), sets up and apart from the grating on the nerves, is very worrying - giving rise to dire thoughts of the engine or gear box seizing up or even the stern gland disintegrating and water flooding into the engine!! So Audrone rang Aunt Agatha (AKA Pip) to see if she could locate John Cook, Brinklow's resident engine genius.
Martin (Pip's partner) was sent racing around the marina looking for John, thinking that we had completely broken down - I think we owe Martin a beer or two! John was eventually found and rang us to see what the problem was. He seems to think that the noise is a harmonic sound set up by the type of prop that we have, and that if the bearings or the stern gland weren't hot to touch there was little
to worry about. In fact the problem seems to be that we need to wind the grease screw more tightly and more frequently than we have been doing. Anyway, we are living with it at present, it has become just a minor irritation.
Have a look at this bridge - it looks more like a bridge that has gone to seed, or worse. . . . or is it the result of shelling that we haven't heard about??
After making the right hand turn into the part of the cut that is called either the Oxford Canal, the Grand Union, or both; we headed past Napton Junction, stopping to let another boat come through the turn. The chap steering said there was another boat about to enter. Well it wasn't, and stupidly we waited for them to nose their way into the main canal. They then showed us how slow people can really be. But as luck would have it they pulled over to moor before we faced a bad road following behind them.
Napton is beautifully situated on a hill (hence the full name of the village). We have moored up here before, and I have climbed to hill over to the other side, it is indeed a very pretty village. The canal of course, winds all around the hill, before you arrive at the Locks. Now that I've seen it from the top of the hill and all compass points from the cut, I must say that all the pictures that you see in the guides and magazines can't really make it as real as it is seen from the steerer's position.
The locks themselves are also remarkably picaresque and not overly difficult (saw good reason to take in the fenders though, only width for the boat in some). We were awfully pleased to have made Marston Doles in the one day, as well as finding a good mooring at the top lock. All ready for the morning then.. . . . . . .Pictures to follow, have to move boat.