Stoke Bruerne Locks Video

After our first attempt at making a video of operating locks, Mike Peet shot some more clips for us to edit. The original idea had been to put together a sequence to cover all locking operations but it didn't appear to work that well given the differences between locks. So in the end it was edited into a simple time sequence as we came out of the bottom lock and went up the next two. Unlike our trip down Braunston locks, we went through the locks as a single rather than as a pair of boats. We hope you enjoy it.

Canal Museum Open Weekend - Stoke Bruerne

We took Albert to Stoke Bruerne for the annual boat gathering that has now become a regular feature of the local boating calender following the Blisworth Tunnel Bi-centenary in 2005. The gathering is organised by the Friends of the Canal Museum.

However, before we went up to Stoke for the weekend we spent Friday night at the Navigation, Cosgrove where Chris Allin had organised a session by the local French folk-jazz band - Monsieur Pantin. This is a trio with Steve Cobham and Paul Martin on guitars and Jean-Pierre Rasle on bagpipes and recorder. We managed to moor up outside the pub and enjoyed the food. Monsieur Pantin went down well.

On Saturday we picked up Juliet & Mike Peet at Yardley and went up the flight to Stoke. As he did on our trip around Braunston, Mike spent time shooting vidio clip footage (to be posted later). Half-way up the flight we were warned that a horse boat was coming down the flight and asked to keep away from the towpath.

Horseboating at Stoke Bruerne Locks

It was Sue Day from the Horseboating Society demonstrating how to operate through locks using Nick Wolfe's butty Angel. We wondered how much room for mooring there would be in the long pound. The answer was not much - but Maggie managed to persuade a boat to move along and we moored up with inches to spare.

Like last year the top pound was full of working narrowboats. This year the historic boats included a much refurbished Fazeley now looking very smart and with a new engine. The ex Grand-Junction inspection launch Kingfisher from Yardley Gobion, owned by Alan Paine, was also there and looked particularly smart with gleaming brasswork.

NB Fazeley looking very smart

Later-on NBs Aldwich and Angel returned to the top lock and Angel moved from being a horseboat to being a butty. They breasted-up coming out of the lock which turned out to be an interesting move since boats on both sides of the cut were breasted-up and the section just up from the museum is very narrow.

NBs Aldwich and Angel breasting-up at Stoke Bruerne Top Lock

Just as the pair reached Raymond & Nuffield who were moored up on the towpath side, Aldwich & Angel became firmly jammed!

Stuck! - six abreast

There then followed a period of crowd entertainment as various techniques were tried to free them. In the end it took Charlie the trip boat hitched to the T-stud of Aldwich pushing, with a group of men including David Blagrove pulling on a line, Aldwich in full reverse, and Ron Withey who was directing operations rocking both boats to free the pair.


Pulling and Pushing

Free at last!

A wag then asked what time were they going to repeat the display on the Sunday!

There were vintage cars and motocycles on display over the weekend. Steve spent some considerable time discussing the ins and outs of an Austin 7 Nippy that was on display. Steve's fist car was a 1936 Austin 7 Special.

Austin 7 Nippy - Elsie

On the Sunday the weather was glorious. An interesting feature was James Griffin from Wyvern Shipping and his model narrow boats.

Model NB Benevolence

Steve spent time discussing boat engines with NB Saul who also have a 2YWM - Greaves badge. Like us they get their spares from Phil Lizius at Longboat Engineering . They moor near Bishops Stortford and gave us some good tips about the Lea & Stort - we are planning to go up there over the summer.

The return journey on Sunday evening was idilic. Sunny and calm. Oh wouldn't it be great if we had similar weather when we take Albert out for our longer trip. Based on last year we aren't hopeful.