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Archive for May 7th, 2010

The Odyssey 2010: Day 9

Posted by indigodream on 7 May, 2010

Monday 3rd May

Stoke Bruerne Long Pound to Gayton Junction

It's a terrible hard life for a hound....

This has to be the shortest weekend we’ve ever done on any of our odysseys. We just can’t rouse ourselves to any action. Mind you, there’s no use us getting onto the Nene too soon – we need to spend a solid week on the water once we get past Northampton, because of the abundance of 48-hour moorings (and lack of 7-day spots!). No use locking into Northampton as we haven’t heard anyone say a good word for moorings in the town itself.

After a very quit night and a sound sleep, we set off from the long pound at 10am – not bad, by our recent standards! The dogs were full of beans and enjoyed a rummage up the last two locks – Blue was unusually well-behaved and resisted the temptation to wander onto the road. Maybe he really has been transformed into a good citizen 🙂

We had another great locking partner today – nb Canopus from Calcutt. She was a fine looking boat with an extra-long semi-trad back deck with two ‘openable’ portholes so their pointers could look out and see what was going on. ‘Mrs’ Canopus was very competent on the helm and was charming company in the locks. Of course, she complimented me on my own boat handling which ensured her a top spot in my esteem! I was sad to leave nb Canopus at the top lock – they were good company. But they were going beyond Gayton on the mainline – I hope we meet them some other time.

We headed off for the Blisworth Tunnel – a boat coming down had assured me that the tunnel was dry and that he’d gone through the tunnel without meeting a single boat. It was a tad different for us – there was a positive convoy coming the other way and we quickly caught up with two other boats, making the tunnel a little fumy (and very very very slow). There’s plenty of room to pass, but it does feel strange in the dark confines. The first part of the tunnel was dry, but then the famous torrent, around half-way along, pressure-washed the roof and sides for us and it was pretty drippy the rest of the way. I found a hasty excuse to stay indoors!

In the Blisworth Tunnel...

The weather deteriorated as we came into Blisworth, though we still enjoyed the scenery between the tunnel and Gayton Junction. We didn’t linger though, we were on the lookout for a 14-day mooring. Sadly the moorings between Bridge 48 and the junction are no longer available (possibly because of the marina opposite). We got to the junction and dithered – go ahead or turn into the arm? It was at this point I had the chance to muse on what Shakespeare had meant to say in his immortal sonnet (No. XVIII) – “rough winds do shake the darling boats of May”. A squall blew up, showering us with freezing rain and blowing us relentlessly into the bank. It worked in our favour though, while we were pinned we were able to ask a passing boater about moorings and he advised us to turn into the arm and moor after the bridge.

The wind was reluctant to let us off the bank – in the end Richard had to pole off the front while I applied serious revs at the back. We eventually made the turn and tucked ourselves into a towpath mooring just beyond the bridge. Richard cycled back to Stoke Bruerne for the car – he commented that the village of Blisworth is charming. In the meantime I packed the boat up and wondered at the steady traffic coming up from the locks – it was the busiest it had been all day.  Ok, it was a bank holiday, but I’d thought that the Northampton Arm was quieter than the mainline.

We passed many charming villages between Gayton and the M1; after that it was roadworks all the way. Nonetheless we got home in reasonable  time and are now looking forward to our 10-day exploration of the Nene and beyond……

Blisworth..

The stretch up to Gayton Junction is very attractive....

Tha magnificently restored nb Bordesley

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