Evening of Wednesday 29th and Thursday 30th.
|Interesting boats still present after the show.|
|"Mimas" and "Victoria" behind "Sweden"|
|"Zodiac" - like "Sickle" a "Middle Northwich", but still full length.|
|Approaching the top of the Braunston flight on a sunny evening.|
|Poppies on Braunston tunnel foot-path.|
|This air shaft is brickwork is nothing like as old as the tunnel.|
|Clear view through the tunnel, even with a boat in it!|
Buckby and Whilton locks were passed with relative ease, for once. It always helps if you are largely on your own! There is not a lot to say about the long run down to Blisworth tunnel, other than we had forgotten to take any guide, and, still after many trips, I never quite know what order I expect things to appear in.
I suppose after a good day so far, something had to go wrong. We were blasting our way through Blisworth tunnel, Cath sat on the decking forward of the engine room, when I became aware that as well as copious smoke from the exhaust, rather more seemed to be coming from the engine room doors...... Somewhat freaked by this, and at some speed, I lost concentration, and hit the side rather firmly. I decided I'd rather deal with whatever the problem was outside the tunnel than in it, so pressed on rather fast. Emerging the other end, Cath, who had been unaware of the smoke, was very shaken by my sudden loss of direction, not helped by my suggestion we might have a fire!
In practice I have no idea what happened, as there was no obvious signs of a fire of any type, nor particularly any over-heat. I'm aware I worked the engine as hard as we have done so far, and just think this resulted in a lot of oil on the outside of the engine getting rather too hot. There are no obvious signs that anything else was wrong.
We locked down the Stoke Bruerne flight, before packing up for the day, to collect the first car from "the Boat" who had given us permission to park it there, and then retrieving the second from Braunston.
Saturday 2nd July.
Just a day at home on Friday, to allow Cath to work, and we motored back up to Stoke Bruerne that evening, again negotiating to use the Boat pub for overnight car parking, (well it's in their best interest, as we could then enjoy a few drinks!).
Saturday morning I set off alone South from the foot of the Stoke Bruerne flight, whilst Cath collected the car, and moved it a bit further down to Cosgrove, before cycling back to meet me.
Again this was going to be a day of many more miles than locks, although we did want to progress as far as easily possible, without pushing it too late. I think the short form of things is "a fairly long day, but nothing out of the ordinary happened". We are getting better at knowing where the deepest water is to accommodate Sickle's reasonably deep draught. With Chalice it's nothing like the same issue, and one seldom notices being seriously out of channel, but get Sickle in the wrong bit, and it becomes a wrestling match. There are some good deep bits on this stretch, and Sickle can fly along, if conditions permit it.
|Silly posts - typical of the many places they have been "installed".|
|View from Wolverton trunk aqueduct.|
|Is anyone seriously going to risk a "handrail" here ?|
We contemplated working right through to Slapton, but it was getting late so instead stopped above Grove. All very pleasant, but unusually Cath suggested we went and had drinks in "the Grove Lock". After paying a stunning £9-20 for a pint of Pride, and a large glass of stock white wine, I hardly think we'll be rushing back there next time!
Sunday 3rd July.
One final push required to get us as close to a "home" as Sickle currently has. We are still without a definite permanent mooring, but had been offered the loan of one at Cow Roast, so today needed to go the rest of the way up to, and across Tring summit.
|Cath with "Sickle" in the Seabrooke locks.|
|Alan with "Sickle" half way up the main Marsworth flight.|
Our friends Jim and Sue were still at Cow Roast, having brought "Owl" back from Braunston. They helped ensure we tied up where it was agreed we would. Most helpfully they then gave me a lift home, avoiding the need to cycle - much appreciated, as it was hot, and I was bushed. Cath and I then drove to Cosgrove, to get the other car back - as I said previously, getting used to car positioning moves is a bit of a pain - particularly as the antiquated sat nav I was left with to used thought it acceptable to plan me a route through the old horse tunnel under the canal - as it is less than 4 feet wide, I'm sure, it seemed optimistic to try getting a Volvo through it! If only one of out two adult sons would take the plunge and learn to drive we could avoid the two car moves we are currently having to think about quite hard.
Braunston to Cow Roast.
Miles: 58.8, Locks:45