Friday, 9 March 2007

Day of highs and lows.

Now moored at Top Lock Northampton Arm. 0 Locks/ 3 Miles/ 1 Tunnel
Total of 159 locks and 1341/2 miles and 1 Tunnel since 5th Nov 2006

It was a lovely sunny morning when we set off for a walk to find the old railway and the old Stoke Bruerne station. We took the pathway up over the Blisworth tunnel towards Blisworth and found the old bridge abutments quite easily. We then veered of in the direction that we thought the station was when we met up with the local game keeper. He told us we were not allowed to follow the old track bed as this was now all overgrown with trees etc and was his breeding grounds for pheasants. The birds would be pairing off soon and nesting.

He had actually been out feeding the birds to encourage them to stay in the area. The farm owner actually buys in 500 chicks a year to rear for the annual pheasant shooting season which runs from November to February.
When we told him what we were looking for he said that the boss’s son lives in the old station house and as he was away he would take us onto the property for a look.

He showed where the goods siding were and that the railways had stored carriages there for some time until vandals had caused so much damage that they were removed.
Just before lunch we slipped our moorings to encounter the Blisworth tunnel, all 3057 yards of it. The tunnel has 7 ventilations shafts along its length and the 3 closest to the Blisworth end had absolute torrents of water pouring down them and it is just about impossible to avoid the deluge. It was not one of Dots better experiences of canal life.
On arrival in Blisworth we ran into David on n/b Gwyniad again and he told us where to find the local shops. We only needed a few essentials to keep us going.
Old Railway Abutments

Now Dot always has her camera with her which is it firmly attached to her arm by a wrist strap or so we thought. Upon returning to the boat she pulled her hand out of her pocket with the camera attached and the camera slipped off of her wrist straight into the cut. We tried to retrieve it without success but being digital the water would soon knacker the electronics inside. Needless to say she is gutted as she has had the camera for quite a while and it took good pictures. Don’t know if our insurance will cover this but that’s life.

We left Blisworth in a rather somber mood and just before Gayton Junction we saw the earth works on the new marina they are building which is supposed to be open spring 2007. Somehow I don’t think so as they are still driving pilings and doing the earthworks. We stopped to water up at the very good facilities at Gayton Junction before proceeding on down the Northampton Arm. We only got as far as lock 1 which had a large sign stating that due to flooding the canal was closed.
I rang the phone number on the sign only to be told that this number was incorrect and no longer valid but they would transfer me to the correct number.
After being transferred I was given various options to choose from which I did but the Environment Agencies answering machine was faulty and kept putting me back to the main menu. Eventually I found an 0800 number which only told me what I already knew so that was a waste of time. Come on EA you can do better than this, at least get your answering/message machine fixed.We will stay here over night then return to the mainline and carry on Northward to Weedon Bec where we will have to wait for a lock closure to re-open on the 16th. We will have to re assess our movements until the end of the month to see if the Northampton Arm/River Nene re-open or not.

Old Stoke Bruerne Railway Station (now privately owned)

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