Back to Yardley Gobion

As predicted the weather yesterday was wet and very windy. Summertime ended so we had to alter all four of our onboard clocks. With some screwed to the walls it took some time. We left Bugbrooke at about 9.30 and had a very quiet trip to Blisworth, hardly passing any boats. There were more ramblers out and about than boaters. Just as well since if we had to wait at a bridge hole for an oncoming boat it would have been quite exciting.

The trip through Blisworth Tunnel was much more busy with five boats coming the other way; one going very slowly and creating a lot of smoke. We reached Stoke Bruerne top lock at 11.00 AM and were amazed to find that there was only one visting boat on the moorings! We have never seen Stoke so quiet.

We went down the locks as a single (nobody else going south) and met some hire boats coming up the locks and having fun(!) in the wind. They hadn't discovered that in high winds it was easier to wait in locks than try and negotiate the pounds. After lunch at the bottom lock we reached Yardley around 4.00 PM and then took on the unpleasant task of unloading the boat in wind and rain with fading light. We enjoyed the trip and we think Daisy did too.


Today the leaves started falling. We were travelling behind Watford Gap Service Area when the wind got up and the canal was covered with a carpet of leaves. Albert's prop cut a channel through what looked like vegetable soup.

Waiting for the Watford Flight (M1 in background)

We managed to get up early today and were probably the first down the Watford Flight. We only had to wait for two boats coming up. We got to Norton Junction at around eleven at waited to pair up, but no other boat arrived. The sun shone as we descended the flight and apart from a crew in front leaving a gate paddle up all went well. It is surprising how much water is lost from a paddle open only a couple of notches and how difficult it is to spot!

We had lunch at Whilton and then had a pleasant trip to Bugbrooke. It included spotting a Kingfisher near Brockhall. It's difficult to imagine spotting a such an illusive bird so close to one of the busiest stretches of motorway (M1) in the country.

We moored up near the Wharf just as the weather turned wintry- the clocks go back tonight. We decided that the Wharf looked inviting but were amazed to find that we were one of only five tables that were served all night (we left as they stopped serving). It was very quiet all night. Maggie had to resort to Strongbow tonight after her recent adventures with "real" cider.

Daisy has now developed a boating routine. She settles into sleep when we are travelling and takes her exercise when we stop. That's why at 10.30 at night she is practising here ball skills up and down the cabin. She is the female cat equivalent of Wayne Rooney - very fast, very skilled at ball control, but sometimes over exuberant. At the moment she has just collapsed on the rug in front of the fire - exhausted.

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Watford Flight (Leicester Line)

Another good days boating. We planned to leave Buckby early but managed to oversleep so we didn't leave until 10.00 am. Went up the top lock at Buckby and along the Leicester line to Watford Locks with Pipsqueak. We just missed a batch going up the staircase but it was pleasant watching the boats coming down the flight. Last boat down was Sandringham who we met in 2006 at March. We had a good chat about Denver Sluice and the Great Ouse. A lock keeper at Watford showed great interest in Albert's engine (Ruston & Hornsby 2YWM). It appears his seventy foot boat has the Greaves badged version of the 2YWM. He was particularly interested in the alternator drive system. Just like the man in Banbury earlier in the year he was a great enthusiast for the brand and thought they were the ideal classic canal engine.

Watford staircase locks

Travelled to Crick and winded below Cracks Hill. The trip through Crick Tunnel was great - no boats and no Kit Crewbucket! We climbed Cracks Hill just as the sun broke through for five minutes. Glorious views. An extension was under construction at Crick Marina; we could see them dumping the spoil. Yet more moorings are being constructed. In the last couple of years we have had new marinas built at Wigrams Turn, Heyford and Bugbrooke. And now there extensions are being built at Crick and Gayton.

View from Cracks Hill

We backtracked towards Watford Flight and moored up within easy reach of the top lock. Perhaps we will manage to get up early tomorrow; we have some way to go if we are to get back in good time on Sunday.

Daisy gets more used to boating everyday but she still has a healthy respect for water. She met some friendly ducks today at Crick Wharf when we took on water but she decided that since they were bigger than her she would retreat back into the cabin.

Daisy meets ducks

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Long Buckby

Autumn boating. We decided to have a short trip northwards to test out our kitten Daisy.

Daisy onboard Albert

We left Yardley Gobion yesterday around midday; it took us a while to get sorted. It was probably getting all Daisy's equipment together that slowed us up. The weather was good as we left but it soon clouded over and we haven't seen the sun since. At Stoke Bruerne bottom lock we met NB More who are friends of friends (Lin & Roy Healey). They were turning back halfway through a half term trip.

We went up the Stoke Bruerne flight with a boat with no name - sounds like a Clint Eastwood movie. The owner had a chocolate brown Labrador called Holly. There were lots of hire boats out for half term coming down the flight. With five boats in small pound together they made navigation interesting.

Stopped the night at Stoke Bruerne and went to the Boat Inn. Maggie enjoyed a half of cloudy cider (Heritage). Listened to a boaters story about their cat bringing in a full sized live duck into the boat through their cat flap. With some difficulty he pushed the duck straight back out he but wondered how the cat had managed it!

Daisy coped well, although she doesn't really go for the noise of the engine. Today the we tackled Blisworth tunnel; it was quiet. The trip to Whilton was really very pleasant. Went up the Buckby Flight with NB Pipsqueak and moored near the New Inn. Maggie can continue her cider survey tonight (Old Rosie). Tomorrow we try the Leicester Arm.

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IWA Moorings Petition

Just received news that the IWA are setting up a petition protesting against the British Waterways’ trial of tendering for moorings. The IWA thinks this scheme is unfair and unjust to longstanding applicants and likely to inflate the cost of moorings to the detriment of all users and may drive boaters on lower or fixed incomes off the waterways.

Couldn't agree more. I know BW are short of money but this sounds like a daft idea. You can sign-up to the petition by clicking on IWA mooring petition.