Sunday, 22 June 2008

Back on the Cut

23 Locks 13 Miles. Now moored close to Gayton Junction, Grand Union Canal.

Yesterday was a very uneventful day as we covered 10 locks in 12 miles from the Rushton & Diamond sports centre to Cogenhoe. This put us in a good position to clear Northampton without having to stop there. We had so many unfavourable reports about staying in Northampton that the general consensus was to avoid the place.

This morning we set off at 7am in drizzly rain with the intention of perhaps stopping somewhere out of town part way up the Northampton flight. The main thing was to get off the river Nene as there is a lot of rain forecast for this week-end and we had no desire to be trapped on a flooded river again. So much for Summer!

Back on the Grand Union Northampton flight we soon got a rhythm flowing and with the help of a couple of boats coming down the flight we soon cleared the top lock. Even wearing water proof clothing I still finished up just as wet inside as out due to getting up a good sweat running backwards and forwards between the locks to speed up our passage. Dot on the other hand was decidedly dry wearing her new wet weather gear purchased at the East of England Show in Peterborough. Must keep a look out for another jacket for me. In fact we made good time and were moored up at Alvechurch boats for diesel and a gas tank by 1.30pm.

We took on 137 litres of diesel at 96p per litre and a new gas tank but Derek on Kalimera got the biggest shock when he took on 178 litre's when his tank supposedly only holds 180 litres, a bit too close for comfort but I suspect his tank may actually hold a wee bit more than stated. It could have been a case of hitching a tow.

Due to the noisy motorway close by we opted to move on even though Christina and I were both physically exhausted after doing the 13 locks up the flight. Once we turned onto the main line at Gayton Junction it was like driving out of a country lane straight onto the motorway. The first 2 bridges created traffic jams with boats in the opposite direction causing up to 4 boats to stop to allow them right of way.

Just as a foot note to our time out on the Fens, the Nene and the Great Ouse we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery, the history and the little villages un-spoilt by time. It also amazed us as to the total under utilisation of these waterways by boaters. We travelled such great distances and yet saw so few other boats on the move. There were plenty of boats tucked up in marina's but few went anywhere. The Environmental Agency are to be congratulated for the superb mooring sites that were built to accommodate the boats for last years IWA festival at St Ives and are now available for posterity.

Good News! Bedford and Milton Keynes Trust secure some funding through a lottery's grant. Must be good, at least we'll know where its going! Once built this might encourage more boaters to use these lovely waterways.

1228 locks, 1780½ miles, 41 Tunnels, 41 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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