Boatwif Blog

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Tied up in Oundle

         The boat’s been having a holiday – no clocking up the miles, no banging about in locks, no sharp reverses to avoid bridges, boats or weirs, a whole week when the only cruising has been across the marina to the tap and back!           So what have the Cleddau and Tentatrice crews been up to? They’ve patronised the laundry block (£1 and 20p coins to buy time in the washing machines and tumble driers) and  after weeks afloat there is...

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The River Nene: Thrapston – Oundle

          The Middle Nene Sailing Club moorings just downstream from Thrapston (Sunday night’s mooring) have tall poles to tie up to, providing a safe berth in the case of high or fast running waters.           Local walkers, many with dogs, make the sailing lake a destination of choice. The club advertises itself as a family friendly place and just outside the Sailing Club grounds is Thrapston’s skate park and BMX track. The little town, a short walk away, was quiet...

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The Three Musketeers and the infamous bridge

(The River Nene: Irthlingborough to Thrapston)      On Sunday morning the Captain did a recce around the site behind the moorings at Irthlingborough. “There’s an event going on,” he reported. “They’ll never get in.”       However, guided by the Captain’s advice, the Three Musketeers talked their way past the car boot sale stewards and duly arrived beside Cleddau. Gifts they brought – fresh fruit from a local market, saffron and a decorated vase from Kashmir.       The boat crews and the...

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River Nene: Northampton – Irthlingborough

          “Plans are merely formalised wish lists” had been the conclusion drawn a few days ago. This watery venture (Macclesfield Canal to Bedford / Droitwich Spa to Bedford) had always been subject to weather, wind, water (enough/ too little/ too much), tides and healthy engines. Cleddau has had some electrical hiccups; on Friday morning it was Tentatrice’s turn for a mechanical hiccup….          During an unscheduled delay what does one do but go on a local walkabout? Northampton, it appears, now...

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Downhill to the River Nene

            A bit of observation from the towpath during Wednesday’s rain day at Blisworth suggested that boats would be able to turn round by Blisworth Tunnel Boats – a time benefit to both Cleddau and Tentatrice if return trips through the Blisworth Tunnel could be avoided. Overnight an email from Les Biggs reinforced the point: there’s a winding hole there, he said. Thanks, Les.           Crew members made odd forays out during the rains, Boatwif as ever with a camera in...

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The GU Southbound – and an emergency evacuation

Monday 2nd June          It was a peaceful mooring on Sunday evening just west of Norton Junction – sunlit until dusk, with only a country lane in the distance, few passers-by and open fields opposite. Bliss…          Between Braunston and Norton Junction the Grand Union Canal runs roughly east/west. Then at the junction there’s a choice – bear left (roughly north east) for Leicester, or right (south) for Brentford (where the canal reaches the Thames). Take the right and you’re soon heading...

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Phase 1 achieved

          There was all the time in the world, wasn’t there, to get to Braunston on Saturday late afternoon, just about 3 miles and 0 locks to complete  Phase 1 of The Plan.           It was a fine dry morning and boats seemed to be on the move. Little fingers of concern began to grip the stomach – would all these boats be looking for mooring in Braunston too? Would the prime mooring spots already be taken by boaters moored up...

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Convoys, countryside, a comms catastrophe

         Every now and again, as if for the first ever time, the Captain makes an observation along the lines of “it’s only when you’re travelling this slowly along the canals do you realise how much infra structure this country has…” He said it on Thursday, while gazing at the multitude of pylons and power lines near Hawkesbury Junction and not far from the M69 motorway bridge. Railway lines and trains are constant companions to this canal and near Ansty...

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Postscript to Atherstone

         Minds were set that a morning wander into Atherstone was to happen on Wednesday. Why let mud and puddles interfere with a plan? How many shops can you legitimately present yourself in when your entry brings a deluge to the floor…? The Captain, as if embarrassed by the large amount of water he was depositing on the floor of a pharmacy, backed out and took cover in a hardware store. Imagine if you can the sound as rain pounded...

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Leaks and how to deal with them

Moored Tuesday at Atherstone.          Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed a mismatch between location and map – Techno Son-in-Law is currently in mid-Wales, enduring “a rubbish internet signal” so his MapMan services are currently unavailable…               It was strangely quiet on Monday morning at Fradley Junction: granted, before 10am it was too early for either gongoozlers at the locks or drinkers at The Swan. The shop beside the pub was open though – and there’s been a transformation in recent years. The...

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