Up at Dawn
I really dislike Braunston tunnel, almost every time that we have passed through it we have managed to meet another boat on the kink nearest to the southern portal. In addition to the obvious kink the rest of the tunnel isn’t that straight but it’s hard to complain about the hard work done by the hands of men long dead, given the circumstances in which they had to work and the low level of technology at their disposal.
We had a very simple plan, get up early and get through the tunnel before anyone else made it up through the Braunston locks on the other side. We were awake just after six underway at half past, just as the sun was rising. The air was cool but still as we travelled the two mile stretch to the tunnel and with only a handful of moored boats to slow down for, we reached the tunnel mouth forty minutes later. The contrast between the light levels inside and outside the tunnel was less than usual because the weak September sun was still low in the sky. Unsurprisingly, we met nothing in the tunnel and before too long we were back into the daylight and heading for the top lock of the Braunston flight.
Two cyclists and a dog walker provided us with the only signs of life as we descended on our own. Normally we try to time our journeys so that we arrive late morning in the hope that we improve our chances of finding a space where we want to be, the idea being that more boats are on the move during that period. Our hope had been to moor below the lock at The Admiral Nelson but accepted that our chances would be slim at half past eight in the morning. Well, the good luck that has followed us when it comes to mooring on this trip didn’t desert us and after leaving the aforementioned lock, we saw a Caxton sized space waiting for us. It started to rain shortly after we tied up but we didn’t care, we had completed our mission and moored exactly where we had hoped to be.