Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Blisworth tunnel and Stoke Bruerne

Monday 17th April; Nether Heyford to Stoke Bruerne

We pulled pins before 9.30 and a jolly cold morning it was too.  There were far fewer boats on the move today; after a steady procession of ABC hire boats passing yesterday on their way back to base at Gayton marina, today it was mostly private boats.  We saw our first widebeam on the move; it was Vanitas,  owned by a travelling tattoo artist and signmaker. 

1 tattoo widebeam

We didn’t find it warm enough to take our coats off – perhaps his tattoos kept his arms warm.  We were just glad we had our thermals on!  At Gayton junction we saw that the services mooring was empty so we reversed onto the mooring to top up the water and empty a cassette.  There is a mosaic on the wall commemorating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Northampton arm.

3 mosaic at gayton junction

2 gayton junction info

I’m not sure how gentlemen would feel with this fellow looking on while they made more personal use of the facilities …..

  5 gayton junction4 in loo at gayton junction

I’m not good at celebs, is it Sly Stallone?  We had hoped to moor at Blisworth to have lunch but there were no spaces long enough so we went on through the tunnel, which was VERY wet.

6 north portal blisworth tunnel

We were through in just over half an hour. We passed two boats; the second was the trip boat which goes in, switches all its lights off for a moment before reversing out again.  We could hear all the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and ‘oh it’s so dark’ exclamations echoing back down the tunnel as we came out into the daylight.  We moored a couple of hundred yards further on.  There was a widebeam moored up just by the waiting area;  he was waiting for his booked slot at 8am tomorrow.  CRT are installing new rings for visitor moorings along here, but the edge is all piled so I am not quite sure why.

After lunch we pootled off again, passing our first moorhen chicks on our way to Stoke Bruerne locks.

9 baby coot stoke bruerne

At the top lock there were two boats coming out to our left, and the trip boat just leaving the pub on our right ….  Plenty of room though. 

10 boats to the right and left

In spite of the chilly wind there were plenty of gongoozlers at the top lock and a willing young teenager to open the gate.  With two boats coming up I had hardly any work to do.  Another small child helped at the second lock, then with a long stretch of empty moorings ahead we picked our spot, moored up and took Meg off for a walk.

11 moored at stoke bruerne

In the evening we had a nice curry in Spice of Bruerne, though I was a little alarmed by the waiter ecstatically greeting me as a ‘beautiful lady’.  Hmmm.

8 miles, 2 locks, Blisworth tunnel

Total this trip; 23 miles, 18 broad locks, 2 tunnels

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