Sunday, 27 May 2012

An Even Hotter Day

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)
Really idyllic offside mooring - Weedon embankment.
Yesterday would have been quite intensive even had it not been scorchingly hot.  It was a good decision to stop when we did, and our mooring on top of Weedon embankment proved to be a lovely setting, as well as allowing a barbecue away from tow-path traffic.  High up, and not far from the West Coast main line, (also high up!), you might expect to find Mt Branson's "Pendolino" trains intrusive, but perhaps we were just too tired to notice!

Looking at the top of Weedon church.
The embankment gives you an interesting vantage point over the church, or at least it would, were there not so many tall trees.  You are literally up at the level of the top of the church tower. - this is a much bigger embankment than you might think if you simply navigate straight through on the canal.

Comparing notes with Ryan about oil leaks on Lister HA3s!
We were in no rush to make a particularly early start, but were still on the move before most Sunday boaters I think.  The previous night we had met a young man called Ryan who now owns the "Small Woolwich" motor "Southern Cross" - interesting to us because it had the same restorer as "Sickle", and has the same engine type.  Today we passed "Southern Cross" under way, carrying bagged solid fuel.  It is always a pleasure to pass a well kept working boat, and Ryan's efforts rather showed up SIckle's distinct lack of washing down or having its brass polished

Entering the North portal of Blisworth tunnel
We had previously only planned to bring "Sickle" down to Blisworth this weekend, and had therefore left our second car there.  Now it seemed sensible to press on through Blisworth tunnel.  cath could take the car over the top, whilst I single handed "Sickle" through.  I'm not sure why, but I'm still a little wary of boating through on my own, just in case anything unexpected happens.  Anyway, I at least check far more carefully that anything I might want is to hand, and anything that might get in the way if I did have problems is safely packed away.  One thing to remember is that "Sickle's" tunnel light turns on from the engine room, not the steering position, so I do end up motoring along with it on in broad daylight, in anticipation of the tunnel.  (I drive a Volvo, so I'm quite used to people comment that my "headlights" are on in daylight, though!).

And out the South portal, some 26 minutes later.
A nice uneventful passage through the tunnel saw me passing a forum member going North right in the middle.  "I knew it would be you!" said he - I'm not quite sure how he knew, though!  I thought I had taken it very sedately, and 26 minutes is indeed quite slow compared to what some working boats do through this "tube".  However the maths works out that 26 minutes is as near as damn it averaging 4mph, so I guess one shouldn't be going any faster!

One of our favourite places for an unpretentious pub lunch remains the "Boat" at Stoke Bruerne.  Whether we are boating through, or stopping there, we will normally try and pay the "Boat" a visit.  Today we were both parched after the searing heat of the day.  I don't know about Cath, but for me a pint has seldom been more welcome!

Weedon Embankment to Stoke Bruerne
Miles: 12.0, Locks: 6

Totals for extended trip....
Miles: 317.7, Locks: 264

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