Thursday, 14 November 2013

The Last Cruise

Because of the weather forecast, I delayed my trip to the winter moorings until Sunday. An early rise and I could not resist posting the dawn (with a touch of frost) photos on my last one hour cruise.

What a great way to finish.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The end - for this year.

I remained at Buckby on Sunday 3rd as it was still windy.  Monday is much better so off I go on my last cruise of the year.  I even quite enjoyed (well, didn't mind too much) the 2000 yard Braunston tunnel, despite meeting a boat coming the other way with his light not angled up.  In the dark, what is usually a car fog light, pointing straight at you is blinding and you have difficulty seeing the side, never mind the approaching boat.  As I passed, I told him in no uncertain terms.  When I met up with the boat following me through the tunnel, at the locks, he said the other boat had turned off his light!  I am not sure which is worse!  Why he did not just angle his light up, I do not know.  Apart from not blinding oncoming boats, it enables you to judge your position better as it shines at the roof of the tunnel so you know immediately if the bows are starting to drift towards the sides.
The other boat accompanies me down the Braunston flight, making life easier.  I had been thinking of stopping at Braunston but it is pretty busy so I continue to the spot, near my winter moorings, where I was on the 20 October, intending to go into the marina on Wednesday or Thursday.  It's a great spot for James as he can be off the lead most of the time and there is lots of room for him to tear about and chase his ball.
I climb up to the top of Barby hill with magnificent views:

Rainbow did not come out too well

I bag the prime mooring spot

The forecast for Thursday is very good and I cannot resist one final little cruise.  I call in at the marina to pick up a couple of packing boxes from the car and travel up the 6 miles, down the delightful Hillmorton Locks, to Rugby for some shopping and back to moor below Hillmorton Locks.  I go up the locks on Friday morning, moor above the top lock, and start packing ready for the morrow.
So that is it for this year and what a fantastic year it has been. I'll be back in March.

 20 miles; 12 locks
TOTAL:  876 miles (323 miles broad, 127 miles river, 44 miles tidal); 467 locks (225 broad); 78 moveable bridges

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A round trip

I ride out the storm on Monday night with no damage and agree with Matty, who is also single handing, that we will go down the Buckby flight of 7 locks the next day.  He is late getting back from an appointment, so there is not much daylight left by the time we set off.
Matty following along.  If you want any boat work or moving done I cannot recommend anyone more highly - see
We manage the flight in 1'40" - a very good time, especially as all but two of the locks were "set against us" i.e. we had to fill the locks before we could take the boats in.  By the time we get to the bottom it is nearly dark but Matty says there are no facilities pubs here and persuades me that it is time for my first night cruise.  He kindly leaves his stern doors open so I have a light to follow most of the time.  I am glad I did it as I would now have the confidence to do so on my own but, the next time. it will be in warmer weather - it was the coldest night of the year so far!
You would think they had never seen a canalboat before!

With one of the largest village greens in the country

I stop at the wonderfully named Nether Heyford to visit the butcher and the baker. A very interesting, lovely and friendly village with a history dating back over a millennium - see link
I travel down as far as the junction with the Northampton Arm.  No way am I going any further as it would mean the 3057 yard Blisworth tunnel (plus return) - I do not do tunnels for the fun of it!  I did think of going down to Northampton but the weather has definitely changed and continuing strong winds are forecast.  Tine to head back to the winter moorings.
By Friday, I am back at Buckby and riding out the next gales - unfortunately there will be no glorious Autumn colours this year. I stopped at the bottom of the Buckby flight and had just got my pie out of the oven (from the bakers - delicious) when a boat with a crew of 8 scouts appeared.  Too good an opportunity to miss and I set off munching my pie.  My thanks to them and I did not have to get off the boat the whole way up.!  Still didn't beat Matty and my time though!

And I could not finish without my best shot yet of a grey heron

 25 miles; 14 locks
TOTAL:  856 miles (318 miles broad, 127 miles river, 44 miles tidal); 455 locks (219 broad); 78 moveable bridges