|This Month's Totals and Average|
|180.27 miles||92 locks||86.72 hrs||3.14 lmph|
Short shower just as we were getting up, after a fresh cool night - best sleep for some days. 'Catering' did a quick walk to the butcher and baker (but no candlesticks available). They had been closed on Monday.
Let go and headed for Salter's Lode. The run out of Upwell is very picturesque, but narrow, shallow and the bridges are very low. This continues through Outwell, round a very tight bend where the Wisbech Canal used to connect. The Creek broadens out slightly after this. Nice to be on top of a bank looking across the arable farmland rather than in a ditch. Got a sighting of a kingfisher - always a good thing. Eventually arrived at Salter's Lode , bang on the time quoted, to find we were fifth in the queue. Paul and his colleague worked boats through alternately, three coming from the tidal river, then the extra two from our end, by which time one more had arrived. We turned upstream into the ebbing river and headed for Denver Sluice Lock . By the time we arrived, the lock was ready, but the lockie held us for the boat behind and penned us up together. They headed off to find a mooring, we went to find the elsan point. Couldn't find one from the instructions we were given so decided that lunch was well late - we would get the next one we found. Lunch on the move. The river here is very wide so no problems. Noted a larger than expected number of great crested grebes around, most with young. Chugged upstream through the open countryside. Finally stopped mid-afternoon at the EA moorings at Ten Mile Bank. Lovely spot.
|9.60 miles||2 locks||3.82 hrs||3.04 lmph|
Pat did a quick walk up to the Post Office to get a parcel away, while I got "Paws" ready to leave. Very pleasant stay. Very narrow through the northeast side of the town, with a lot of moored boats, but once clear, the river opened out to a long wide straight stretch with plenty depth and little weed - managed a steady 4.2 mph without trying hard. Nothing really to see apart from the large windfarm on the north side. Passed the end of the 20 Foot River (we had passed the other end on 26th after leaving Whittlesey) - the river bypasses March, but has a very low bridge that we cannot get under. Turned left at Low Corner towards Upwell (right is Popham's Eau, leading to the 16 Foot Drain heading southwest towards Ramsey again). This section is narrower, and gets narrower still as one approaches Upwell. Ascended Marmont Priory Lock with the assistance of Maureen, the local lock-keeper - had a long chat with her. The bridges from here are also very low (we only cleared by about 4"). We moored at Church Bridge 'public staithe', right outside St Peter's Church - we had intended to visit, but the key is not available Mondays. Chatted with Sheena of the Well Creek Trust . The garden at the mooring is so well kept, and photographers were to attend tomorrow for an article in Towpath Talk. A short, light shower of rain early afternoon was all the precipitation we had.
|7.15 miles||1 locks||2.92 hrs||2.79 lmph|
Rain showers continued overnight and into the morning. Church at Trinity Methodist - not a large congregation today. Decided to wait till tomorrow to move on. Quiet afternoon, but including a planning meeting to arrange a mail-drop. A lot cooler, but the bugs are still biting.
No more rain until morning so inside temperature went up again (26° in my cabin). Eaten alive again! Shower at breakfast cleared quickly, but the wind had risen dramatically from yesterday. Fortunately, we would be going with it, rather than fighting into it.
Moved on again, returning to Flood's Ferry, then continuing along the river for March. The river is a lot wider and deeper along this stretch, with little weed - engine purring again. It narrows again as one enters the town. After several days of not seeing another moving boat, passed four going the other way. There was a fallen tree just before the services berth, but we managed to squeeze past with the verbal aid of a moored boater. Moored for services. About six boats passed us while we were there, and a 30' "yoghurt pot" parked in the middle of the 70' mooring we had planned to use. Fortunately, there were more moorings just round the corner so we parked up there for the day.
Went for a walk round town in the afternoon - lovely little town, split across both sides of the river, with Sainsbury, Tesco, Lidl, and a good selection of other shops. Quite a bit of damage from the high winds overnight. Wind now easing.
|7.69 miles||0 locks||2.67 hrs||2.88 lmph|
A night of either being bitten to death if uncovered and cool or boiled alive if covered against the mosquitoes - poor night's sleep. Although no more rain overnight, there was apparently an electrical storm giving a lovely display. As I neither saw nor heard anything, I must have slept better than I thought!
Clearer air this morning, although still just as warm. Walk to the supermarket after breakfast, then up into town to find the remains of the Benedictine Abbey (Pat is a great 'Cadfael' fan, and the abbey is mentioned in one of the books). The gatehouse wall stills exists but not much else. Had a walk through the Parish Church (St Thomas a Beckett), before wandering back to "Paws" for lunch.
Let go after lunch and winded - difficult as the winding hole is only 60' and there was a lot of weed and some rubbish. Poled the stern round then pulled the bow clear. Returned out from High Lode onto the Old River Nene and continuing as far as Benwick where we moored for the night. We were overhanging the end of the pontoon, on stern and centre ropes only, wedged into a tree.
Another very hot day with little breeze. Looking forward to the weekend, when the forecast is for it to cool down a bit. Moderate thunderstorm at dinner time cleared the air a bit. Pottered on until nearly bedtime. Closed up porthole glasses in case it continued overnight.
Received a call from our friend David in London, saying that he and Betty would be coming to visit during the IWA Festival. Will be great to see them again.
|4.92 miles||0 locks||2.19 hrs||2.25 lmph|
Woke to find that the other two boats had not left early as intended - found out that "Fair Fa' " had a major problem with her cooling system, and RCR were on their way. We left them with the hope they were easily fixed and descended Ashline Lock onto Whittlesey Dyke. From here, the land is very flat, with only farmhouses and windfarms on show (where the bank was low enough to actually see anything). Saw a grass snake swimming across the beside us. Went straight over at the 'crossroads' - right is the dead-end of Bevill's Leam (a pumping station obstructs the navigation), left is the 20 Foot River which has a bridge too low for us to get under. At Flood's Ferry, we turned right on the old course of the River Nene, heading southwest. At Well's Bridge, the 40 Foot Drain joins the old river - we continued southwest. At Saunder's Bridge, immediately below Lode End Lock, we turned left onto High Lode and into Ramsay. Finding no apparent mooring, and a hireboat moored on the winding point, we moored alongside them, trusting that nobody else would need to turn today.
The going had been very good for most of the day, with only patches of blanket-weed causing temporary slowing - a quick jab astern/ahead clearing it. We had seen a fleet of weed-cutters on the move in the morning. The worst weed was the run into Ramsay, but as that is little used we expected more.
The hireboat crew returned mid-afternoon and headed off, so we pulled back into the bank for the night. A small thunderstorm as we were manoeuvring only served to act as water poured onto stones in a sauna (made the air hotter and wetter!). Another couple of short periods of rain did cool the air slightly.
|14.37 miles||1 locks||5.24 hrs||2.93 lmph|
Up promptly to get services done before departure, then let go and turned right onto the branch to Stanground Lock. Arrived bang on our booking time of 10:00 and descended on the water of the boat coming up. Grateful thanks to Ashley and Darren for their assistance. Continued out into the flat lands of the Fens. King's Dyke is about normal canal width and plenty deep enough. The blanket-weed is on the increase, but gave us no trouble today. Saw a marsh harrier circling over the field next to the 'river'. Elected to stop at Whittlesey for a wander, so breasted up to "Fair Fa' " who was already there with "Ehawee".
After lunch aboard, went for our walk into the village. Lovely small market-town, with a Co-op and Nisa. Just before dinner, did a shuffle-round of boats - "Fair Fa' " breasting onto "Ehawee" and us to inside at the end of the pontoon. A further three boats also moored here overnight (alongside the banking as pontoon was full). A trip down the weed-hatch only gave a handfull of weed - far better than I had been expecting.
|5.26 miles||1 locks||2.23 hrs||2.81 lmph|
Lazy morning, then took a walk to visit Railworld . Very relaxing walking along the woodland paths and by the streams, then a visit to the railway themed exhibits.
Walked back into town for a late lunch then a couple of last-minute items at ASDA including a chat with the pharmacist about Pat's insect bits. He sent her to the out-of-hours doctor (two hours sitting in the waiting room) - anti-histamine and steroids prescribed. Back to "Paws" for a quiet evening.
Noted the lovely old flour mill building opposite the berth, sadly in the process of being demolished.
Up promptly on what was already a hot sticky morning. Off the berth for 08:00, the boat outside us ("Bright Water") decided to leave as well and accompany us through the lock. "Bright Water" is running with "Fair Fa' " (whom we met in Northampton) and "Ehawee" (with whom we have been playing cat-and mouse for a few days). Descended Orton Lock and headed into town. Attempted to stop at the ASDA mooring, but there is no walkway outside the railing and to get our bow at the gate would have fouled the prop in rubbish. Moved on to the services berth, doing the necessaries 3rd in queue. 'Catering' walked back to ASDA while we serviced. Reports of poor mooring where we had intended to go made us just move clear of the berth and moor up for the duration. Lunch aboard before walking into town in the afternoon.
The walk into town took in some of the shopping area and the Cathedral . Very interesting visit.
A hot day throughout, even the occasional breeze was warm.
|3.25 miles||1 locks||1.41 hrs||3.01 lmph|
Beautifully quiet mooring. Woke to a warm and sticky day. Took our time getting up. Walked to Ferry Meadows Station for a trip on the Nene Valley Railway .
Took the 1st train to Peterborough, then the return as far as Wansford. A straight round-trip takes 1½ hours, but we elected to stay at Wansford for a look round. Had a look in the machine-shop (from the viewing gallery), noted the turntable, and visited the 'travelling post office' display coach. Had lunch at the café before picking up the next train, which runs out through the tunnel to Yarwell Junction where the engine runs-round for the return journey. Noted the French sleeping-car set out on a siding, A4 "Tornado" in for repair work after her breakdown in April, and Battle of Britain Class "92 Squadron" which routinely hauls. Normally there is steam haulage, but with the tinder-dry land they were not risking a fire, so today was diesel-hauled.
On return to the park, we visited the miniture railway but didn't take a ride. Plans for a prompt start tomorrow headed into Peterborough.
High cloud again this morning. Fresher than yesterday, but still going to be hot. Had a walk round the historical side of the area - Fotheringhay Castle is now merely marked by a mound and a preserved small section of the keep wall. Eventually on the move and heading for Peterborough. Descended Warmington (the last manual guillotine gate), Elton and Yarwell Locks. The river alternates between narrower with trees and wider with an open aspect, ever changing. Couldn't find a mooring for lunch, so had it on the move again. Still descending, went through Wansford, Water Newton and Alwalton Locks. Having spoken to locals on boats, their recommendation was not to moor in the centre of Peterborough overnight - a difficult situation if one wishes to explore. We had about had enough (still very hot today) so started looking for a mooring just outside. Found an excellent mooring by turning into the very narrow channel leading to Overton Lake . The channel opens onto a large public park and lake, with two pontoons (four berths on the opposite side. Very easy to miss the entrance going downstream! We got the last berth. Wide selection of wildlife on and around the lake, including swan, canada goose, greylag goose, great crested grebe, and common tern.
|15.33 miles||6 locks||6.57 hrs||3.25 lmph|
Quite sticky this morning. Finally away at nearly 09:30 and descended Wadenhoe, Lilford and Upper Barnwell Locks. The view opens out after Wadenhoe Lock, fewer trees giving a better view across the farmland. The river itself is also wider here allowing a little more speed. At Oundle Marina, pulled in for fuel and loo - very helpful staff. Once topped up, on the move again, descending Lower Barnwell Lock, grabbing lunch on the move. The unofficial mooring above Ashton Lock was full so descended (it is a manual guillotine) and continued. Descended Cotterstock and Perio Locks (Perio is another manual guillotine). Couldn't find the mooring at Bluebell Fisheries so eventually moored at Fotheringhay (£5 a night against raw banking, but we got stopped).
We have seen a number of churches fairly close to the river, but no possibility of visiting them due to the lack of moorings - very disappointing.
Heavy rain finally arrived at 18:00 and continued for nearly five hours. Freshened the air. Doubt it will have helped the ground much, but better than nothing.
|12.18 miles||7 locks||5.77 hrs||3.32 lmph|
After a great night's sleep, we were woken by the boat next to us leaving at 06:30 - and we promptly went back to sleep again! When we did get up, it became a morning of chores - washing machine on over breakfast, then top up the water again. Finally got away mid-morning, returning to the main river. The turn was still too tight so turned upstream and attempted to wind above the bridge - not enough room. Eventually resorted to reversing through the bridge then spinning immediately below it (no problem). Continued down Islip Lock, and noted the other moorings at the sailing club. Very twisted again today. 'Housekeeping' got some ironing done between locks. Descended Titchmarsh Lock - EA are working on the landing stage below the lock so the public mooring is closed. Continued round to the FotRN "Peartree Farm" moorings - lovely spot under the trees - and moored for the night.
Short day, but it will allow "housekeeping" to get back up to date, and there are large gaps between moorings over the next section. Another cooler day.
|3.68 miles||2 locks||1.92 hrs||2.96 lmph|
Leisurely start, chatting with the skipper of "Teazle" (also ex-Merchant Navy). Saw a kingfisher fly past as we were getting ready to leave. Just cleared the mooring when another boat was noted coming up astern. Ended up locking with "Beech" for the rest of the day. Good deep water initially so kept up speed. Descended Ditchford and Higham Locks. (Ditchford has a radial lower gate, similar in operation to a guillotine but it rotates into place rather than lowering.) Noted excellent moorings at the sports ground in Irthlingborough, but unfortunately, the advertised services are indefinitely closed. Descended Irthlingborough, Upper and Lower Ringstead Locks. (Lower Ringstead, and Woodford and Denford later, are manually operated guillotines.) Services were apparently available at Willy Watt Marina, but we seemed to miss seeing them. A lot of red kites around today, and we also saw little egrets on the wing. Woodford FotRN mooring was too overgrown in our opinion for use. Lunch on the move. Descended Woodford and Denford Locks and approached Trapston hoping for a mooring. Our bow had actually started through the Nine Arch Bridge when we noticed the EA mooring tucked away on the left. Too late to stop, we winded on the north side of the bridge and returned under it. The turning is extremely sharp so we elected to reverse in. "The Lady Beth" was already moored, but nobody was around. The berth is only long enough for one full-length narrowboat, so we breasted up and took water. Roger & Margaret returned but said they were moving on. We let them out then moored ourselves for the night.
There have been a number of small villages close to the river, but there are very few moorings to allow visitors to stop and investigate.
Took a walk into town for stores, then sat chatting with a local couple until near dinner time. Unfortunately, whilst on-line I found that one of our bank cards had been used fraudulantly so had to deal with that quickly - bank very understanding and managed to stop all the payments. Another boat breasted up to us for the night just before we sat down to eat. Lovely quiet mooring.
Another day similar to yesterday weatherwise - a lot of cloud keeping the heat at bay.
|11.29 miles||7 locks||4.83 hrs||3.79 lmph|
After a very peaceful night with only the slight background 'hiss' of tyres on tarmac (A45), we woke to a cooler morning, with a fair amount of cloud-cover. We had noted a boat pull in behind just before dinner last night, but had not investigated. They were also getting ready to leave so we asked if they were heading downstream. Not only were they doing so and would welcome our company, but it turned out that Roger, Margaret & John on "The Lady Beth" were BCF members and were also going to the IWA Festival. Noted a great crested grebe out on the wetland as we were leaving.
Letting go, we worked together for the rest of (our) day. Leaving the mooring, we headed through the barrage gate and down through Weston Favell Lock. The wide floodplain was left behind and we were back to the more normal river. Considerable amounts of weed in places slowed progress more than expected, but we were still getting on faster than a canal. The countryside had more 'humps and bumps' than yesterday, and more trees. Continued down Clifford Hill, Billing, Cogenhoe and Whiston Locks then started to look for a mooring. Continued down White Mills and Earl Barton Locks (having failed to see the EA mooring above it). Descended Doddington Lock, noting the Friends of the River Nene members' mooring at Manor Farm (just a bit of slightly tidier bank) and decided to keep going for Wellingborough. Having lunch on the move, we descended Wollaston and Upper Wellingborough Locks, entering the town. Unfortunately, the small number of moorings were all taken, and the services berth was in use. Continued on down Lower Wellingborough Lock, electing to take the first possible mooring. Found another FotRN mooring (another bit of tidier banking) at Ditchford and took it! A little nearer the railway than we would have normally liked. After "The Lady Beth" had serviced, they passed us, heading further on to moor.
Most of the locks so far have been fairly easy to work. The paddle gear is easy, although there are a good few turns of a windlass required! The upper gates are fairly heavy, the lower gates are mostly electrically operated guillotine gates (the worst problem we had was getting the control boxes to lock again after use). The two locks at Wellingborough are more traditional mitre gates at both ends, but again fairly easy to operate.
Apart from a couple of short periods of stronger sunshine, a mostly cloudy day so cooler than of late.
|10.76 miles||11 locks||5.63 hrs||3.86 lmph|
Awake early so just got up. Shopping as planned, then chatted with the team from "Fair Fa' ", before letting go late morning. Descended Town Lock and headed downstream on the River Nene. Initially quite narrow, but plenty of water. Leaving the town, it opened out into flat countryside. Another boat was following us, but each time we tried to wait for him, another boat arrived to come up the lock. He never quite caught us up. Descended Rush Mills and Abington Locks, the river getting wider into the Washlands (flood defence catchment area). Moored at the visitor berth immediately above Weston Favell Lock (and Barrage Gate) for a spot of lunch.
After a leisurely lunch break, the Admiral decides not to continue for today - 'housekeeping' are going to do some work. Cooler in the afternoon as some cloud had built.
|2.72 miles||3 locks||1.88 hrs||3.04 lmph|
Up fairly early to get services (loo, water, rubbish) done before going to church. Handed back the "gate key" to the marina and moved round to the river moorings. Walked up to Queensgrove Methodist Church - very interesting service, and a lot of interest about the planned Mission next year coming to Northampton.
Late away from the church, and with an interesting second service in prospect this evening, postponed the shopping till tomorrow - late lunch, then a quiet afternoon aboard. "Fair Fa '" had moored alongside while we out during the morning.
Walked to Park Avenue Church in the evening for a World Churches Celebration Service (Pat elected not to join me. This consisted of a buffet meal featuring food from round the world, followed by the service celebrating the work of the Methodist Church worldwide - a fantastic evening.
|0.25 miles||0 locks||0.33 hrs||0.76 lmph|
Excellent overnight berth (booked for a second night). Up promptly as both awake. Took a walk into town in the morning - wander round the shops and market. Noted the architecture of the Guildhall . Coffee somewhat marred by an uncouth person swearing and shouting into his mobile phone; despite being asked twice by customers to 'cool it' he continued, and shop staff refused to do anything about it.
Had intended to return for our stores shopping in the afternoon, but the Admiral said it was too hot, rescheduled that for tomorrow, and did some planning for the next week. Breeze did pick up during the afternoon, so evening a little cooler.
Up early preparing for going onto the river later in the day - lockers reorganised and anchor made ready. Away promptly for the short run to Gayton Junction. Turned right onto the Northampton Arm - new territory for us from here.
Passed the well-kept bank and good moorings outside Gayton Marina, then a short section under the trees before arriving at Rothersthorpe Top Lock. The vista opened out onto the countryside for most of the flight. Initially 13 locks close together - narrow locks, and with fairly easy paddlegear and gates. Although almost all were against us (following another boat about 4 locks ahead, and only one boat coming up). Made very good time. The last of the Rothersthorpe Flight is just north of the junction between A43 and M1. The water then starts looking more like river than canal, losing its greyness and becoming clear enough to see the vegetation for a good depth. The last four locks are more spread out (about 20 mins between), but the going was considerably slower due to the weed intensity. Lunch on the move between locks. Watched a Common Tern fishing in our wake - very successful. Eventually arrived at the bottom and dropped onto the River Nene. As we emerged onto the river, we heard someone hailing (us, we thought). Turned out to be Jan from "Jubilee" - they must have passed us on Wednesday evening. John soon hove into view - we moored alongside them for a chat and cup of tea. Discussed our collective plans for the next few weeks, before we moved round to the Marina for our pre-booked berth. (£10 per night with water on the berth, and £1 for electricity.)
No respite today from the sun (no clouds in the morning to keep it cool for a while), but far less stress than we had been expecting from conversations.
|5.84 miles||17 locks||5.30 hrs||4.31 lmph|
A repeat of the last two days weather-wise - cloudy morning followed by sunny afternoon. Moved round to the services berth, then set off up the flight. Assistance from a CRT volunteer was gratefully accepted for the whole flight. Moored at the first available space once clear of Top Lock.
Walked back to get the ordered cheese from The Cheese Boat and across to the recently re-opened canalware shop. Back to "Paws" for lunch, with the Teddies again playing with the patrons of the cruise-boat "Charlie".
Once all finished, set off again, through the tunnel (passage time 35 mins), through the village of Blisworth, and moored short of Station Road Bridge 49.
|4.02 miles||7 locks||3.01 hrs||3.66 lmph|
The cloud was thicker this morning, after a much cooler night. We both slept in, and there was little inclination to get going. Eventually on the move mid-morning, dawdling our way back to Stoke Bruerne. Noted that "Jubilee" hadn't moved and still no sign of Jan & John. Busy with traffic southbound today, but despite only running at barely more than tick-over, nothing sighted following. After an uneventful run back past Yardley Gobion and Grafton Regis, we moored at the outer end of the visitor moorings below the Stoke Bruerne Flight just before lunch.
Once again, cloud dispersed around lunchtime so another hot afternoon. Booking made for a night at Northampton Marina for Friday night. Spent time looking at ways to get the 'live' weather data displayed. Also found that more work is going to be needed on the canal maps if I wish to tidy the canal lines to match the track lines, so had a look at the options there. Rather disillusioned on both counts.
|5.36 miles||0 locks||2.37 hrs||2.26 lmph|
Lovely mooring, very quiet. Relaxed start, took our time. Had another chat with the team from "Verity" before moving off (they had managed to get their meal at the "Barley Mow"). More cloud this morning so far cooler. On the move mid-morning, continuing through the village to the lock. Descended in company with another boat, then continued on for Wolverton. Moored between Bridges 70 and 71, and walked to Tesco for stores.
Lunch on return before moving off again. Sun came out over lunch and the temperature went up again. Continued east to the next winding-hole (15 mins) and turned. Returning towards the Tesco mooring, we encountered a boat adrift - managed to get it alongside and re-moored, but the rope was so rotten it would break again shortly. Continued back to Cosgrove Lock and ascended - no help this time, unfortunately, and moored again in almost the same place as last night. Afternoon had warmed up again by the time we stopped.
Have been having problems with the "weather" part of my site - I noticed at the end of June that I had run out of bandwidth unexpectedly. Looking at the logs, it was caused by abnormal high traffic on the weather station. Searching back, it appears to have started when I was changing over to https, but that could not account, of itself, for the problem. Further searching suggests it may be the replacement I've used for the old "Flash" section for live data. Until this is resolved, I've been forced to take the site down.
|5.84 miles||2 locks||2.93 hrs||2.67 lmph|
After a slightly disturbed night with unexpected visitors (moths in the cabin), we were woken early with boats on the move. Just got up and got on. Said goodbye to Mike from the trip-boat "Charlie" (he lives on a narrowboat at the Top Lock, and stuck his head out to thank us for keeping him entertained). Descended the seven locks of the flight in reasonable time, slight delay at the bottom waiting for a boat coming up. After a brief stop for services, we continued on towards Cosgrove, passing Grafton Regis and Yardley Gobion. Noted "Jubilee" moored north of Bridge 57, but no sign of John or Jan. Lunch on the move as we approached Cosgrove, and moored just east of the ornamental bridge . Very hot today, with almost no movement of air.
Assisted "Verity" alongside late on - they had been unable to get alongside at any of the places they had tried, and were now desparate to get a meal.
|6.61 miles||7 locks||3.93 hrs||3.47 lmph|
Quiet day alongside. Visited the craft guilds exhibition laid on by the 'Friends of the Canal Museum' . Met up with Della again. Made a few purchases, mostly from the cake stall (wonder why!). Our Teddies had great fun popping out of portholes and side doors to wave at the people in the trip-boat "Charlie". Dinner out at Spice of Bruerne Indian restaurant. Excellent meal, great service, very friendly.
Another noisy night, this time with the railway. On the move promptly again, continuing towards Stoke Bruerne. Finally left the railway at the southern end of Weedon, but it kept coming back as the canal wound its way through the countryside and the railway went straight. The canal just skirts the edge of the villages of Flore, Nether Heyford and Bugbrooke but they never encroach on the peace. We eventually arrived at Gayton Junction where the Northampton Arm turns off - we will be going that way at the end of next week. This time we just stopped for water, then continued south. Lunch on the move, then a trip through Blisworth Tunnel (3076yds, 2813m, with two-way traffic for narrowboats). It is currently (2018) the third-longest navigable tunnel on the system. We moored once clear of the southern portal, intending to stay two nights.
Went for a walk to the old stables (at the entrance to the tunnel) where we had seen a stall selling stained-glass decorations and jewellery. It turned out Martin & Tracey (and Martha, her assistance dog) are members of BCF . After a long chat, we walked to the Museum shop, stopped on the way back to visit The Cheese Boat , and had a chat with Della (we had met originally on the BCNS Explorer Cruise). Boiled under the sun, and with little cooling wind, we then settled in for the night.
|10.93 miles||0 locks||4.16 hrs||2.63 lmph|
After a not-so-quiet night next to the road, we were on the move promptly. Day started cooler, with a little thin cloud, but that soon cleared to another very hot day. Headed down the remaining six locks of the Buckby Flight. Whilst there was a boat coming up at each lock, there was a slight delay while it got through so slower going. One boat we met coming up asked us for confirmation they had now finished the flight (after 2 locks) - they admitted they were complete newbies , and were navigating to Middlewich on a map whose scale covered the whole of the English canal system! They had missed the fact that there was a number 7 next to the symbol for the locks (and thus the 6 next the symbol at Braunston) - they were looking for "the second river on the right". One couldn't make up a story like that! We hope they eventually find their "river" . Cleared the Bottom Lock at Whilton and were very lucky to get the last mooring on the straight. Headed up to the marina café for lunch.
After lunch, went into the chandlers for a few items. Having difficulty getting oil filters for our engine - chandlers either don't stock Barrus/Yanmar parts, or don't have an equivalent to the number quoted in our manual. Very helpful gentleman behind the counter made some enquiries so have to check further (but with a few leads). Once on the move again, continued generally southwards, sandwiched between the railway and the M1. Eventually losing the M1, we ended up with more tree cover as we approached Weedon (although the railway mainly follows the Cut for miles in this area). Moored for the night at the south end of Weedon.
|4.66 miles||6 locks||3.86 hrs||2.76 lmph|
On the move fairly promptly this morning, continuing eastward on the Grand Junction Canal (Grand Union), but stopped just round the corner for services. Once on the move proper, started up the Braunston Flight (6 locks). Onto wide locks from here on, so will take slightly longer per lock. Steady stream of boats coming down, so got through fairly quickly today. Clearing the top lock, we almost immediately were into the Braunston Tunnel (2042yds, 1867m, with two-way traffic for narrowboats). Two boats coming the other way near the west end, but still through in 24 mins. Emerging from the eastern end, we continued the 45 mins past Norton Junction (towards Foxton and Leicester) to the top of the Buckby Flight. Descended one lock then moored for the day (to divide Braunston to Stoke Bruerne into three days' work rather than two).
After lunch, took a walk to Anchor Cottage crafts shop above Lock 8. Didn't find anything special for the boat, but bought ice creams instead.
|4.73 miles||7 locks||3.28 hrs||3.57 lmph|
Happy Independence Day to our readers on the other side of the pond.
Day off today. Took a walk into the village in the morning - stores and exercise (.... and a lot of chatting to passers-by!).
Planning meeting to confirm a time-plan to arrive at Northampton (onto the river) no earlier than 13th as that is when our visitor licence starts. Light shower of rain mid afternoon, but it didn't really even wet anything.
Was happy to have a relaxed start, but the Admiral said to go - so we went! Moved round to the bottom of the Hillmorton Flight - three sets of paired locks (designed to aid passage through faster). Hillmorton is renowned as the busiest flight on the system. We got a good road through, and continued southwards for Braunston. Busy once again with traffic. We were advised that there was a boat adrift further down - found it at the double railway bridge (72A/72B). I couldn't get past, and it would have been very difficult for me to manoeuvre "Paws" to push it out of the way. Fortunately, there was a hire boat with an experienced skipper coming the other way - he managed to push it aside, and a CRT staff-member and myself managed to get it alongside and moored again. It had been 'double-staked' for safety; both pins had been pulled out and one bent in the process.
On the move again, we had a very brief chat with Bob & Janet (BCF members, and Waterways Chaplains for the Leicester area) aboard "Barocha" as we passed each other. Continuing, we twisted and turned through the countryside down to Braunston. It then became apparent why we were to move promptly first thing - the Admiral wanted her lunch at the Gongoozlers' Rest . Moored for the day just south of the Junction and hurried along for lunch. Quiet afternoon trying to stay cool.
Added a new piece of functionality - on right hand mini-menu for current month (only) is a pawprint which will bring up a map page showing current location, and movement today (if there is one). Hope you find it useful. A link has also been added to the [Maps] menu.
|7.29 miles||3 locks||3.46 hrs||2.97 lmph|
Another baking hot day. On the move promptly in the hope of getting to Braunston. 'Catering' wanted a quick stop at Rugby for essentials. A good job we didn't keep going yesterday as it took us nearly ¾-hour to get to where we had hoped to be - and there were no spaces!
Passed through the Newbold Tunnel, created when the Oxford Canal Company decided in the 1930's to remove a lot of the twists and turns in its route. There were no moorings available in Rugby so we'll have to make-do with the stores we have. Very busy with traffic all day - took five attempts to get through the stretch at Clifton Cruisers (where they spread themselves ⅔-way across the Cut). Noted the land-works before reaching Hillmorton, presumably something to do with HS2. Passed "Rosie" - we had made friends with them last year on the K & A.
Skipper decided that we would not make Braunston until late on, so finding a mooring may be difficult. We took a mooring just below Hillmorton Locks for the day, and tried to stay cool. Traffic continued busy, with the last boat of the day passing us at 22:00.
|6.81 miles||0 locks||2.93 hrs||2.32 lmph|
Pre-prepared lunch so that we could get on the move as soon as we arrived back. Walked into the town centre, church at Bedworth Methodist Church. Noted the beautiful almshouse buildings as we walked back. Let go (just after 12:30) and headed for Hawkesbury services - lunch on the move.
Went onto the water point before the junction and did the necessaries, then moved off, turning left at the junction onto the Oxford Canal. Almost immediately, it was out into the countryside with wide open fields (boiled alive) interspersed with wooded sections (giving respite from the sun). There are very few moorings for the next few hours. Mostly the towpath is overgrown or eroded away and not yet piled. The few sections with pilings are usually full. Even the towns seem not to want visitors - Ansty, for instance, has 'no mooring' for most of its banking, and 'long term permit holders' for the rest. Continued on until 16:30, then intended to take the first available no matter how bad the banking. Fortunately, there was a space 61ft long on a section of piling just south of Bridge 34 so we squeezed in.
Noted that our domain had been reset so all now back on line. Sorry for the disruption - I'll now have to try and find out what was causing it.
|9.73 miles||1 locks||4.07 hrs||2.64 lmph|