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 us, and for several hours this afternoon the roar of the M1 has been very apparent to the right of us. After the Buckby Flight it was with some relief we veered away from the noise of both at Norton Junction, cruised under a pretty bridge, and spotted a glorious towpath mooring site, sheltered by the hedge from the wind but with an open aspect across fields on the offside. When cruising on a waterway you can do without noisy neighbours, whether animate or inanimate!
Views from the back deck today have been varied: many hire boats on holiday trips, and dayboats for stag parties and a 50th birthday group. There are several marinas on this stretch, in places there are moored up workboat pairs, there were Kimbolton School canoeists at Weedon, grazing sheep, contented horses, signs to Farm Shops – and structures. Deep in the countryside Boatwif was struck by the sheer number of manmade structures all within one field: pylons, girders and cables for electric trains, a microwave mast disguised as an artificial tree and a crucifix. A lock-free run such as this morning’s allows for more gazing at boat names, so photos include those of particular interest or amusement. Is it tempting fate to call a boat Shipp-Wrecks? Isn’t Miss Matty of Cranford rather far from home? Is Grampa’s Lady due a makeover? Notice that Owain Glyndwr is properly green and that the Watsons’ boat is Elementary.
British Waterways is vigorously encouraging boaters to share double locks so as to conserve water stocks. On arrival at Whilton, the base of the Buckby Flight, another boat was awaiting a lock partner. We travelled up together, they from the Lake District, on a Gayton hire boat, disappointed not to be allowed down the Leicester Line but not phased by the intrusive roar of the M1. “It takes us an hour and a half to reach a motorway,” one said, so for them it was novelty rather than nuisance. At the top of the locks (the seventh) a lock-keeper was ensuring lock-sharing, pub crowds were enjoying the activity – and we were rewarded by a very neighbourly act, a family tribe to heave the gates open and closed. Tonight’s neighbours along the towpath are quiet and contained in their boats; meanwhile opposite the cows have pulled at the grass, turned their backs on the boats and lain down.
Boatwif and the Captain will not be lying down yet, but doing that very September thing, watching and listening to The Last Night of The Proms.
Tomorrow: through Braunston Tunnel and down on to the North Oxford Canal.
Footnote: As to the fate of the boat that befell such horror at Stoke Bruerne yesterday: early this morning, while we were still moored up the boat was towed past us by another narrow boat, whether back to its home moorings or a nearby boatyard is unknown. An eye witness account of the incident was recorded on a blog last night by Moore2 life. http://www.moore2life.blogspot.com/