Thursday, 30 October 2014

A last little weekend

We set out on an unseasonably warm and gorgeous Autumn day, heading north. We went through the gentle Watford locks, climbing up the seven, including a 4 lock staircase, to blue sky and dazzling colour. Through the Crick tunnel again - we've done it lots in the last year - and this time we're moored up past Bridge 12 opposite the garden centre.

News of the day is that it is so warm, we didn't want to light the stove. But we had to. The Christmas puddings need to steam!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Geese

This trio made for a very tuneful alarm call

Back home home for a tiny moment

What a lovely travelling day today. We realised we were moored in the very English named Landing Spinney. Our home mooring is just up from Cornerwell Spinney. Makes us wonder if they were named in the days of early small aircraft...

Again, we went a bit forward backward, going through leaf soup then clearing the prop. By the time we got to the Buckby flight, we were delighted to be greeted by two CRT volunteers who worked the flight with us. What luxury!

We're here for a day or so, then heading north towards Yelvertoft.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Moored into a beautiful Autumn evening

Here we are, 8 very slow miles north of Gayton, through Weedon and in this little lovely corner near Bridge 21. It's always slow travel in the Autumn, as we pick up leaves and sticks around the propeller en route and need to stop, throw the propeller into reverse, and dislodge the collection. There are also heaps of moored boats in this stretch, requiring slow passage. That said, it's been a glorious dry cool-ish day. Perfect.

Special feature - Northampton Arm

Today we walked the Arm rather than boating it. The Northampton Arm isn't really an Arm (cul de sac canal), but the connection from the Grand Union canal through the River Nene to the more eastern waterways. If we baoted to Cambridge, this would be part of our route. It's a dear narrow canal, dropping down 17 locks to meet the Nene. The countryside is classic Northamptonshire agricultural with rolling expansive fields.  Beautiful elephant grass with it's purple seed heads grace a large field about half way down the Arm.

After the flow under the M1, everything changes. Graffiti on lock gates, overgrown vegetation and the thunder of traffic point toward the Northampton town industry where the canal runs into the river. A canal of two natures, this is one of Pete's "offices", a daily visit if he's managing water on section 2 of his patch. We even met his unofficial colleague, a local man known for raising a sheckle or two by winding people through the locks.

Weedon to Gayton

We stayed in Weedon a day, seing as the weather was wet and we needed a bit of rest. We set out on Saturday for a glorious cruise. E sat on deck and knitted and P decided, as he can't knit, that he would drive. We pulled alongside a few times to let our unwell pooch have a wander then moored up at Gayton Junction (Northampton Arm) for the service point. We turned round and moored northbound on the Grand - in time for Strictly!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Lovely day including wool shopping

We had a lazy morning and set out late to finish the Buckby/Wilton flight. We were pleased to pair up with a historic boat, Collingwood, a single hander. We always learn a trick or two and because we know so many single handers, are happy to help where we can. It was a good journey.

We pulled up at Bridge 18 to have coffee - well after coffee and lunch time - and for Elizabeth to shop for wool. The queue of boats and the bridge are down the hill from the Heart of the Shires shopping 'village', a quick walk from the canal. Christmas wool was acquired whilst Pete took advantage of the engine heated water for breakfast dishes.

We set out again and so enjoyed the rain free Autumn colours. Beautiful. We passed our old coal supplier, Jules Fuels, moored near Dodford and we passed the tiny Weedon Marina. We found that moorings were easily available in Weedon and we moored up just before 4. Pete pulled us in and E did the lines. Good day!