Before we set off this morning I had an appointment with some bits of rope and fishing line (didn’t see a hook) down my weed hatch so it was 9-30 before we set off. The sun was out and no rain today but the wind was chilly at times. Just as we were about to set off a boat came by and we did try to follow it hoping to share the Stoke Bruerne flight which was some 6 miles away. We didn’t see much wildlife but what we did meet was 15 Wyvern Hire Boats so they have had a good week with most of their boats out.
Passing Thrupp Wharf there is now a marina here, this has popped up in the last few years. CRT have an agreement where when a marina opens they close one on line mooring for every ten berths in the marina, then what happens the marina owner opens a string of online moorings outside his marina.
On several occasions we caught sight of the boat ahead and then lost them again. When we reached Baxter’s Yard at Yardley Gobion there they were, buying a cylinder of gas. We passed them and wondered if that was their mooring or if we would see them at the locks.
We stopped for water below Stoke Bruerne locks, this didn’t please the fisherman who had set up on the moorings as I slid past him. The water tank was almost full when the boat we had seen earlier arrived so we packed up and joined them going up the locks. he was a real joy to share with, no faffing about, just getting on with it. The first lock was against us as was the second, but a single Wyvern boat was coming down the third and another single in the forth, While we were in the third another single Wyvern boat turned the forth lock as we came up, so three hire boats had followed each other down the flight each using a lock full of water. Our new friends moored the long pound and we completed the top two locks alone.
Diana thought it best we stop for lunch before entering Blisworth tunnel so we pulled over for a bit. The old Leggers building at the tunnel mouth is now a Blacksmith’s shop and the stables a stained glass workshop.
We only met one boat in the tunnel and I was aware of another some way ahead of us, they had passed us when we stopped for lunch. Needles to say I met the other boat right at one of the water shoots but luckily didn’t get wet. The atmosphere was much better than our last trip with the air quite clear.
Just beyond Gayton Junction as we passed under the bridge we heard a horn sound and there just coming into the bend sat a wide beam charity boat. I was well to the middle so steered to the right expecting him to do the same but he sat there leaving a gap of about three feet between him and the concrete which I had no option but to hit, when then pulled out and round me. I didn’t expect to find a wide beam coming towards me, but he should have expected the possibility of a Narrowboat coming the other way, but these things happen, no damage and I didn’t hit him, which would probably involved paperwork. Not long after this we caught up with the boat ahead and followed him until he indicated he was turning into Bugbrooke Marina. I am glad he indicated because that marina is a real bugger to turn into, the entrance is narrow and not splayed at all so you have to get your boat round to right angles in the canal before you can get through it.
Further south and we passed what is believed to be the oldest “Springer” Narrowboat still afloat called Badger. She is looking a bit sorry for herself now.
Passing the entrance to Heyford Fields Marina we met William a camping boat , the first thing to catch my eye was here exhaust puffing away before I could hear her boppedy bopping along with her Bolinder engine. It was also here that we were flagged down by friends on their boat for a chat, that’s the second lot of friends who have waved and I have not recognised. There may have been a third as someone was waving from a boat in the basin at Stowe Hill who I didn’t recognise. After a few words we were off again mooring for the night just through bridge bridge 24 at Weedon at about 1730 hrs.
18 miles, 7 locks, 1 tunnel in 7½ hours