A narrowboat to be more exact. Her name is Adam’s Apple but we just call her Apple and will likely change her name soon. She is 65 ft long and we bought her at Braunston Marina. After months of waiting and surveys and repairs we were finally able to set off for Milton Keynes this morning.
Our first cruise has been a baptism by fire. Within 100 metres Of leaving our mooring at the marina we had a near miss with another boat when Alan couldn’t get the boat into reverse. No harm done and now Alan knows how to manage our gears. Moments after that we were at our first flight of locks to manuever.
So we started off our first unsupervised lock work with Alan at the helm and me on the lock. I immediately panicked as I couldn’t remember what to do. There was a man and a dog watching which made it 20x worse. After a bit of panic and stopping to just think I was able to sort myself out and get to work. The lock went smoothly and e went on the the next one which had both gates open requiring me to walk back and forth across the tops of the gates to get everything sorted. As I have terrible balance this was a bit scary.
After the first two locks of the six, I decided that I would rather helm the boat and let Alan do the heavy work. Three of his locks went well but one was so slow in filling and the gate didn’t want to move. Turned out the pound (where the water comes from to fill a lock) was low on water and the gate was pretty much grounded. We were luckily ok and able to get off to the next lock without further problems. Following the locks we stopped for a breather and lunch.
Settled down for a few minutes to eat lunch at about 1:30pm which meant not that much time left before it would be dark at 4pm. As we had a tunnel to navigate next before finding a mooring for the night we had to get going again quickly. Within moments of pushing off again we were at the mouth of Braunston Tunnel. It is about 2km long and pitch black. We got all our lights on and plunged into the darkness.
Alan helmed Apple for the tunnel and got wonderfully lucky that no one came through the tunnel while we were in there for about 30 minutes. He kind of bounced off the walls of the tunnel a bit but only slightly. I sat at the dinette and watched out the front doors but all I could see was a bit of the wall to our right just barely in front of us.
As we broke back out of the tunnel and into the light we found ourselves in a tranquil area of trees lining the canal. We didn’t go too much farther after the tunnel. Maybe about 3 bridges along before Alan was feeling a bit too still and sort to keep going. As I had been studying the map I knew Norton Junction was just around the corner and the beginning of another flight of locks. The time was getting close to 4pm and the sun was going down. We decided the best thing to do was moor up for the night.
I was about the sign off this post about of first day on our boat but just now our lights went out. Alan has tried the other lights and turned off the fuses and all with no luck so our first evening shall be in the dark. Luckily the electric outlets seem to be working fine so still able to charge up and have WiFi….just no lights. We have a few push lights and lanterns so we will be ok. Tune back in for more on our adventures.