Monthly Archive: September 2011

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Pylons, poles and pyramids…

Rugby (North Oxford Canal) to 2 miles north of Nuneaton (Coventry Canal), 18 miles and 1 lock             Decades ago, long before concerns about energy consumption, a fellow teacher passed on a tip: when the winds are high pupils’ behaviour gets over-excitable, so put the lights on in the corridor. With winds very high today the sight of the huge pylons and switching gear just before Hawkesbury Junction (near Coventry) was strangely comforting. Usually the site is viewed as a...

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Crooked

Norton Junction to Rugby, 12 miles and 9 locks A start tonight with two apologies – and a suitably manly bouquet of thanks for Techno Son-in-Law.  When discussions about cruising start Boatwif suggests a destination or two; the Captain drafts and revises the itinerary using a computer program called Canal Planner. En route various maps and guides are used.  The Captain favours Nicholson Guides; Boatwif refers to her collection of Pearson and Geo route maps.  It came to her sometime...

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Neighbours and names

Near Gayton Junction to near Norton Junction, 13 miles, 7 locks Thankfully today has been free both of adventure and misadventure. It’s been breezy, but we have known worse; it’s been busy with oncoming boats but again we have known worse. The route of the Grand Union Canal through Northamptonshire is shadowed by two other transport routes; most of the day we have been aware of the Virgin trains belting up and down the Midland line to the left of...

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Stalled at Stoke Bruerne…

Cosgrove to Gayton Junction,  10½miles, 8 locks (and the longest navigable tunnel in Britain) No day is ever the same as the previous one; most days throw up something unusual or unexpected or even quirky. In the week before Cleddau resumed her 2011 cruising her crew had cause to visit Cambridgeshire, briefly, by car. They stood at Hermitage Lock, near Earith, reminiscing about last year’s cruise from Macclesfield to Bedford.  A sleek and shiny, very smart river cruiser came into...

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A Long Farewell to Milton Keynes

The Globe Inn, Linslade to Cosgrove, 17.25 miles, 5 (wet) locks, 2 aqueducts, 1 (dry) lock Strictly speaking Cleddau is not out of Milton Keynes yet, despite a long day’s cruising. About a hundred yards ahead of this evening’s mooring is the sign welcoming boats from the opposite direction into the Milton Keynes area.  It is positioned beside the Iron Trunk Aqueduct which crosses the River Great Ouse, traditionally the boundary between Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire… (For those interested in county...

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Cheerio to the Chilterns

Marsworth to Linslade, 9.5 miles, 12 locks             Maybe it was because all the windows were closed up that it seemed as if the winds were finally dropping overnight. At daybreak the wildly swinging main tree branches had reduced their movements to merely a dance in the upper foliage. By normal standards today would have seemed a windy day, but after yesterday this was a day possible for cruising, as opposed to one when cruising would have been insane. From...

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Grounded

Tuesday 6th September, below lock 4, Aylesbury Arm to Marsworth, Grand Union, 4 locks, 0.5 miles by boat, 5 miles on foot To need to crawl up a slope in order to get out of bed means either that the crawler has a severe headache – or that the bed is not level… this was the case this morning. Overnight water levels in the short pound between locks 5 and 4 had dropped, and so Cleddau was aground on mud...

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Mugs in Aylesbury

Aylesbury Arm, 12 locks, 6 miles When is a nightmare not a nightmare? When real time events are happening in waking hours! Yesterday’s combination of far too much rainwater over the canal but far too little floatable water within it, plus strange hostile objects preventing the prop from turning made for exhausted sleep last night, and confused thoughts this morning. With high winds forecast and water shortages no less likely the Captain’s plan for today became: drop down into Aylesbury...

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Angst on the way to Aylesbury

Sunday 4th September, Marsworth Locks to Aylesbury (almost); 2 broad locks, 15 narrow locks and 7 miles The first two locks of the day were shared with Mr and Mrs Naval Officer (Rtd), they heading for the Thames and perhaps up to Oxford before returning to moorings on the Leicester Line.  At Marsworth Junction Cleddau was turned sharply to starboard, tied alongside the top of the pair of staircase locks while her crew prepared themselves for the long descent. (“Mid-morning...

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Crab apples, a combine harvester, a celebration (plus two Monkton Moments*)

Friday 2nd– Saturday 3rd September Milton Keynes Marina to below Marsworth Locks, 21 miles, 17 locks The plums were picked, the hedges trimmed, the indoors and outdoors plants watered – and we were set to go. Ten minutes after the planned departure time Cleddau crept out of the Milton Keynes Marina. To depart at anything more than the slowest of a snail’s pace would have done grave damage to other boats, as well as to our own. Those four sharp...