Thursday, 8 July 2010

Goodbye GU

Today we said goodbye to the Grand Union, five days and 77 locks after joining it at Northampton.
I feel a bit guilty about abandoning the main route to Birmingham for an alternative but all the experts say that the Stratford Canal and Worcester & Birmingham Canal route is much the prettier so we turned off.
It's a curious canal, is the Grand Union - more like a waterway version of a 1970s trunk road than a motorway. There are wide, deep 'dual carriageway' sections and twisting, narrow, utterly rural 'country lanes' where the water is barely deep enough for two boats to pass in comfort.
But it's been a largely enjoyable five days; a blend of busy locking and long tree lined pounds in which to recover. A surprisingly empty canal, too - even at busy spots like Braunston or Hatton we virtually had lock flights to ourselves, let alone have to queue.
I guess it will be different once the state school holidays begin. At the moment the only kids on the cut are very politely spoken private school youngsters who've already broken up and whose parents are getting in ahead of the riff-raff!

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