Sunday, 19 August 2012

August weekend - Sunday

Last night we took our director's chairs out onto the tow path, and sat outside to eat our dinner -- staying there until it was pretty much dark.  The evening's entertainment consisted of dozens of Canada geese flying round then landing either on the canal, or the caravan field opposite.  We could also observe from a distance the activities of the various caravanners, as they had barbecues/visits from friends/tried to get the baby to sleep.

This morning was sunny again, but thankfully much fresher, at least to start.  We set off at 9am, and thoroughly enjoyed the stretch past Nether Heyford to Gayton Junction and Blisworth.

At Blisworth Tunnel, we passed three boats without incident.  Going south, the side shaft is much easier to see.  If fact, I spotted two.  The first is bigger, about the size of a door, but it's dark inside.  A little further on is a smaller opening with an arched top, which appears to have a light inside.  One day, I'll try to stop and take some photos.

We'd decided we'd stop at Stoke Bruerne and go out for lunch, and there was a convenient space in a prime position above the locks, so we tied up and went to see what we fancied.  The place was smarming with people -- not surprising on a sunny Sunday in August.  We ended up sitting outside at The Navigation, where we had an excellent Picnic Board to share.

It was 2pm when we set off again.  I went to work the locks, while Adrian steered.  The top lock was empty, so after checking that no-one was coming up I filled it.  For some reason, the walkway across the bottom gates is taped off, so to get from one side of the lock to the other you have to battle through dozens of gongoozlers.  We also had a big audience at The Navigation as we made our way to the second lock. which surprisingly was almost full.

After that we started meeting boats coming up, so could swap locks.  At the bottom lock, there were three people with an inflatable boat with an outboard, who asked if their boat could come down with us.  They started off with its rope round a bollard, until I pointed out that the boat was likely to end up hanging in mid air as the depth of the lock was longer than the rope.  Adrian ended up taking charge of the boat.

The next section is canal is very familiar territory now.  It's much quieter down here than the pound above Stoke Bruerne.  All day we've seen boats that we saw yesterday, heading back to their marinas, just like we are.  But here there are just fewer of them.

In order to extend the holiday feeling for a few more hours, we've moored up between Bridge 61 and Bridge 62, to sit out on the towpath in the sunshine.  We'll have dinner here, then do the short hop back to the marina this evening.  There's an early start tomorrow: I'm due to catch the 0623 train from Milton Keynes so I can be at work for 0730, and Adrian will drive to his work once he's dropped me at the station.

15 miles, 7 locks.  (47 miles, 16 locks)

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