The forecast was for strong winds and rain from about 10.00am so we decided to make a move at 7.00am and get as far as we could before the bad weather arrived. There were not many boats moored on the way to Braunston which is unusual as this area is a popular spot as it over looks the lovely Warwickshire countryside so we made good progress. On route we passed this small boat being used as an advertising hoarding for E-canalmapp.
Braunston Church and windmill soon came into view and then we were approaching the junction, turning left for the Hillmorton locks or right for Norton Junction.
As we made the left turn a family of Swans with 6 signets decided to negotiate the narrow turn under the bridge and in an attempt to give them room to squeeze by I nearly got blown into the wall opposite as it is a tight turn and a strong wind was now blowing across the channel. Judicious use of the bowthruster and reverse gear enabled us to successfully negotiate the turn without incident to the boat or swans.
We battled on against an ever strengthening cold wind sharing the steering so that we could take it in turns to go below to get warm and reached Hillmorton Wharf where we called into The Canal Shop to fill up with diesel and change the gas cylinder. We always find them to be competitive and friendly.
As we approached Hillmorton Top lock the wind became gale force and it started to spit with rain to we decided to moor up rather than go down the locks. No sooner had we moored up than the rain and wind increased even further so we were glad that we were warm and snug inside the boat.
After lunch the rain seemed to ease a little so I decided to get the bus into Rugby and take advantage of the two for one offer that the Visitor Information Centre were giving on Crick Boat Show tickets. I picked this up from the website of Tom and Jan on Nb Waiouru . The buses run every 15 minutes just 5 minutes walk from the mooring by the newsagent and it takes about 15 minutes to get into Rugby.
A quick walk around Rugby to see the school which was founded in 1567 by Lawrence Sheriff, purveyor of spices to Queen Elizabeth I, as a Free Grammar School for the boys of Rugby and Brownsover. In the following century the School’s fate remained uncertain and in 1651 it all but collapsed, but by 1667 Rugby was acquiring a name for scholarship and it developed rapidly under a series of outstanding masters, including Henry Holyoake (1688–1731),
The 19th century saw publication of the first schoolboy novel by Thomas Hughes, now immortalised in a white marble statue in front of the Temple Reading Room. Tom Brown's School Days. The entrance to the school and the view of it over the playing fields does remind me of the Oxford Colleges we saw last week. The School is well know for the actions of a local lad called William Webb Ellis who in 1823 first ran with the ball and invented the game of rugby football.
On my way back to the bus I stopped off at the outdoor market to buy some strawberries and spotted that M & S had a meal deal for £10 on so nipped in to buy one.
Walking back to the boat from the bus stop it was as much as I could do to get through the railway tunnel, the wind was so strong. Then June told me the news that a Hillmorton hire boat had just bashed into the side of our boat. Apparently he had just taken the boat over and did not understand how to handle the boat in such windy conditions. The strong wind had blown him off course and June had had to shout instructions to him on how to get off our boat. I looked down the canal through the bridge hole and could see him stretched across the canal with the moorers there trying to get him off their boats. I wish the Hire Companies would not let inexperienced helmsmen out in such windy conditions, he could have caused a serious accident. Fortunately it appears to be only bits of the paint which has been scrapped off the gunnels.