Welcome along everyone to the first part of our journey to our home mooring! Initially, not having the experience of moving a narrowboat other than our test run, we were both in a complete emotional mess. The first problem was to ensure we had enough water and that it was drinkable. We were googling what was best to use and there was quite a few different things we could use. First was milton which is something people use for sterilisation. There are also sterilisation tablets and other solutions which are available to buy off the internet and chandler’s. We used a liquid that we bought from midland chandler’s as we were there getting all our other supplies such as, life jackets, life ring, chemicals for the toilet cassette, sea magnets, oil, grease and loads more! We spent a slight fortune to ensure we had everything possible we could need.
Firstly, we filled up the water tank with the sterilisation liquid in and left for 24 hours as instructed. The next day we were to come back, empty the tank, refill and flush out again to make sure it was clear. As we use the water daily there is no need to sterilise again as we have a stainless steel tank, we may do on occasion for good measure. So, filled the tank one last time and now we needed to make sure we had enough fuel for the journey. This is where the videos come in 🙂
Refuel was done, we were organising the narrowboat ready for departure to new pastures! The plan was to have the car waiting for us at our home mooring, kindly our friends Pat and Jim offered to bring us to the Braunston marina the night before. Pat cooked us a delicious dinner involving chillies which I ate one by mistake…. my mouth was on fire and it was only 1 green chilly which I thought was a green bean… I will never make that mistake again! The food was beautiful though, after I drank a tonne of milk and cooled down.
Dinner done, Jim drove us to Braunston marina where Pat stayed overnight with us as she would be with us for our 4 day journey. Pat knows how the locks worked so was chief in charge of telling us what to do. Jim had given us some pointers on manoeuvring our giant (to us) narrowboat so the pressure was on! Jim works nights so he would join us during the day when he could and also if he had a night off! These guys rock seriously. Without them…. disaster would have struck more than it did i’m sure! We hunkered down for the night, we had no TV yet or much in the way of data for internet which was quite nice as it makes you chat and engage with each other more.
The next day we set off around 9am being very keen to get going and make a good start. Adam started us off moving the narrowboat out of the marina and we had to take a sharp right turn. Not far down the canal did we have our first lock! Adam was being stubborn and wanted to do the lock himself… Pat gave direction and really wanted to help him to get the exercise! He kept telling her no thank you, he wanted to do it himself so he could understand how the locks all work. After a good few locks, I think he was getting tired and made the process quite slow on his own, so Pat was allowed to help, they really are hard work! During the lock process, I was in charge of narrowboat manoeuvring! Terrified doesn’t even come close to how I was feeling. My job was to get us to the lock landing, wait for the lock to be set ready, move the narrowboat into the lock, move out of the lock and collect passengers without killing them… I would say for at least 2 days, I was absolutely crap at it. I bumped, rubbed, hit a lot of things with her, against walls, lock doors and plenty more! I did get the hang of it after a while when Jim joined us for the daytime and gave us a good bit of coaching. I started to gain confidence and really understood how she worked.
Any who, on day 1 we had a lock first then we had Braunston tunnel! This was something I had heard about and was completely fascinated by. We would go through a stretch of tunnel roughly a mile long. When your going around 2mph this can take a while, I think in total it was around 20/25 mins to get through. We were rained on from the holes above, the engine was made noisier so I couldn’t really understand what the guys were saying at the back. It…was…awesome though! I had the biggest smile on my face the whole way through.
For the night we would stay over at Weedon, near the bridge and have a little walk to the local Tescos in the dark, via the towpath. It was a Friday night so a fair amount of people around but the towpath was lovely and quiet. I cooked us all dinner and we flopped for the evening and crashed hard! We were pooped after roughly 13 locks that day. The 2nd day we would be heading to moore at Northampton and take the flight down on to the river Nene!
I will continue on soon! This will include a breakdown and a lot more struggle!
Until then, take it easy all! 😀