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Our floating Summer journey took us to the Braunston Historic Narrow Boat Rally. It was the first time I’d attended as a participant rather than an enthusiastic observer.

Joe & Fin and I drove up to Braunston from London on Saturday morning having moored the boat between Butcher’s Bridge and the Ladder Bridge last weekend (more of that to follow in a later post).

The weather over the weekend was the typically English tale-of-two-halves with Saturday being a close-to-perfect Summer’s day and the Sunday dominated by thunderous clouds and steady rain, until lunchtime at least. Still, to be honest, nothing the weather threw at us could dampen the spirit of what turned out to be a fabulous first rally experience.

Hopefully the following selection of photographs will  capture a little of our experience of a wonderful 48hours. We had a fantastic time. The Boys loved it. And I’ve a feeling we’ll be back!

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9.00am on Saturday morning and we’ve unloaded the car and set about cleaning up the boat for it’s first rally. The Boys do a cracking job mopping down the sides of the boat…
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A gathering of gorgeous historical boats – is there a collective noun for such a gathering??? An ‘enthusiasm’, a ‘cacophany’ or a ‘palette’ perhaps…
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Moored just a little closer to Butcher’s Bridge was the polished glory of GUCCCo. ‘Purton’
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Boats and dogs, the perfect combination… I’d love to have a long-haired whippet-cross lurcher, such as this gorgeous lad, who cheekily helped himself to part of Joe’s ‘Super Hot Dog’ he dropped on the floor!
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The Boys had a grand time, happily chatting to the other boaters, taking photos, and plotting cunning ways for us to spend more time on the boat in the coming weeks…
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A memorial plaque was unveiled to the legendary Sonia Rolt who passed away, I think, last year. I believe the car, an Alvis, was one of the many passions she shared with her late husband Tom Rolt.
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The boats moored directly astern of us, that’s Eileen’s tiller sweeping across the foreground of the picture…
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The Boys enjoyed the fact that our surname ‘Holt’ is hidden within the name of butty ‘Northolt’…
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Saturday morning’s opening parade. The boats passed us for hours. In the sunshine and on the cabin top we watched them pass, took photos and really enjoyed the show…
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A crowded scene as boats move down from Braunston Bottom Lock at the same time as ‘parading boats’ re-enter the canal after passing through the marina and turning beneath the Ladder Bridge back onto the main canal, athe Cut already crowded with moored boats. It’s what gives Braunston it’s unique and chaotic character…
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The skipper of ‘Adamant’ in reflective mood…
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Fin focuses on capturing the details of boats as they pass…
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‘Eileen’ in bright mid-Summer sunshine – pretty much as good as it gets…
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Another canine visitor…
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A contented afternoon is had by all…
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The parades give a fluidity to the weekend with boats regularly tying up or casting off to join one parade or the next or mooring up after an exhausting, snail-paced chug via the showground to the Braunston Turn and back…
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Our turn to parade. We set off with neighbouring boats and were soon caught up in the intricate dance of the parade. At such achingly slow speeds the boats are pretty unresponsive and generally good-natured chaos inevitably ensues with the boat doing just what you don’t want them to do at the point when most people are watching, and photographing and filming…
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Under the umbrella the commentator introduces Eileen to the watching crowd…
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On the Stop House straight before the A45 road bridge the canal momentarily falls quiet, but in a parade it doesn’t last long and we’re soon squeezing past moored and passing boats, it’s all part of the fun of the thing…
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The Boys were ‘stars’ throughout, they were fascinated by the boats and engrossed by the oddity of the ‘slowboat’ event…
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No matter how good the parade was it still felt great to finally moor up and go off on an adventure on dry land!
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A plethora of tugs lie six abreast at the marina entrance as the day winds down and thoughts turn to BBQs, beers and the bands playing in the main tent…
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A calm descending. The end of a lovely day…
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Evening, Braunston 20 June 2015…
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We didn’t venture far from the boat, preferring to cook on board and spend an evening camped outdoors… (Mmm, yes I’m afraid those are iPads, they do seem to get everywhere these days!)
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With the Boys safely abed and soundly asleep, I sit on the back deck, drank a chilled bottle of beer and simply savoured a perfect moment of calm.

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