We had planned to make an early start awsay from Stoke Bruerne, but as it happened it proved to be a good thing that we didn't! Instead we decided we would take Odin for a walk through the "woodland trail" before we set off, and as we descended back down towards the tunnel mouth I noticed two CRT employees down there, one on the mobile It was fairly obvious to me that they must be there for a passage of a wide-beam boat.
Blisworth tunnel was designed wide enough for two 7 feet wide narrow boats to be able to pass, but nowadays when a boat of over 7 feet width needs to traverse it, it is essential to avoid the mayhem that would result if it met something coming the other way. So you have to book a passage, and Canal and River Trust use staff at each end of the tunnel to ensure this doesn't happen - than k goodness for mobile phones. The odd thing is that for some time only passages at 8:00 AM, Monday to Friday have been allowed, so I have no idea why such an event was today taking place on a Sunday.
So had we got away as planned, we would have been held maybe an hour at the tunnel mouth. Sometimes procrastination pays dividends, (and Odin got a walk).
I got very cold in the tunnel, parts of which were wetter than usual, and once I emerged the otherside it was by far the coldest day of the trip. Thankfully Cath and I were able to swap steering fairly regularly, and then go inside to enjoy some warmth.
Our aim was to get to where "Flamingo" is moored, so we could empty the contents of "Chailice" into her, but I reasoned some tasks that still needed doing could be more easily achieved on the towpath, so we moored up for a while at Bugbrooke. I was able to wax polish the frnt half of the cabin on that side - we are really pleased with how well the topside paintwork has revived - we worked hard painting it 4 years ago, and after much intensive use of the boat since, it is generally in remarkably good condition.
|Probably as close as we will ever have Flamingo (left) & Chalice (right).|
Our son Michael drove up from home, and then drove me back to where this trip had started, so I could in turn bring a car back up. This became a slight worry as the daylight went earlier than expected because of an overcast day, as although my eyesight has been passed fit for driving, I am uncomfortable driving in the dark. Fortunately I was still confident I was OK by the time I got back, but for complete safety would not have cared for it to be any later, even if they say I'm OK.
|A dull day, but definitely becoming a "shiny boat" again!|
The reality that "Chalice" may not be our boat a lot longer is really starting to hit me. I feel more emotional than I thought I would about trying to sell on what is basically a large lump of steel!
Stoke Bruerne to High House Wharf, near Weedon
Miles: 9.9, Locks: 0
Trip totals: Miles: 43.3, Locks: 23