Yardley Gobion

We’ve been a bit slow blogging about our return trip from Braunston.

On the Friday (Aug 12) we left Braunston for Norton Junction. The weather was cloudy but dry. After taking on water at the Stop House, with a tap that could only produce a dribble, we moved up to the lock flight. A Canal Boat Club boat, returning to Market Harborough, waited for us at the bottom lock. We had a good passage with them all the way up the flight, they were a good crew and we got up the locks quickly, but again the top pound was congested with six boats sharing.

It appears that when there is a queue at the top lock (as there was), crews get fixated on moving through locks as soon as "their turn comes". They appear to forget that they won't get through a flight any quicker if they join the boats in front in the next pound. They fail to look and see if any boats are in the pound beyond the lock immediately in front.

The top pound was again very shallow because water was not evenly distributed amongst the pounds. One of the crews leaving the top lock decided to complain that I was making it difficult for them to navigate out the lock (it was very shallow and Albert being deep draughted was near the centre of the channel). Since they should have waited above the lock I thought that it was a bit rich to complain and I told him so in my response. I don't suppose my reply will have had any effect.

We had a good passage through the tunnel passing four boats but all before we reached the difficult bends at the southern end. We moored up above the top lock at Norton Junction and had a quiet afternoon before going to the New Inn for dinner. The Parkins had our usual pint of Frog Island and half of Old Rosie but our friends the Winters went for non-alcoholic options. The food was again good.

On Saturday we started out descent of the Buckby flight in cloudy weather. Again we joined a Canal Club boat at the first lock but this time with a crew from Germany. They were not enjoying their time on the canals as the weather had not been good, they thought it was not suitable for their children, and they appear to have bent their tiller at one of the locks on the Leicester Arm. The tiller arm was certainly at an interesting angle. Half way down the flight the heavens opened and we got the first of the days many heavy downpours - typical boating weather.

Descending Buckby Locks in the pouring rain!

Nice plants - Whilton Lock

After a short pause at the bottom lock, to pick up bread and milk at Whilton, we continued to Weedon. It was at one of the tight bends just north of Weedon where we found the first of two boats adrift from their moorings and across the canal. The first was being retrieved by a boat going north and we retrieved the second with judicious use of the bow fender and boat hook. We learned from the crew of the other boat carrying out the recovery that it was the Canal Club boat ahead of us that had "gone through at 200 mph" that had caused the mooring pins to come loose. They did appear to be in a hurry when they left Whilton.

Around the next corner we discovered another incident. A cow had managed to get itself on the canal side of a barbed wire fence and couldn't get back into the field. It was in obvious distress and was calling to the rest of the herd. We stopped in Weedon for lunch and I managed to hail the farmer from across the canal. She went off across the fields to sort out the problem. Just before we left we noticed that all the herd had been moved to a field closer to the farmhouse. It appeared that the incident had ended well.

As we passed through Weedon I pointed out the site of the recent drugs bust on the cannabis "factory". The house, close to the Narrow Boat pub looked quite innocuous, then I suppose most of these "factories" do.

As we moored up near Gayton it rained heavily gain. This time we had thunder and lightning just to make things interesting. We found out later that our neighbours had spent that evening at the Battle Proms at Althorpe, not far away. They did get soaked but were pleased that the clouds rolled away just in time for the Spitfire to make a fly past. Ironically, it stayed dry at home.

Sunday was a better day so far as the weather was concerned; warm sunshine. We had a smooth run through Blisworth tunnel, went down the locks on our own and moored up at the bottom lock. The second lock from the top of the flight was being operated by BW because a boat had collided with the post causing it to break. They had lost reverse. The gate was leaking badly but could still be used. BW were concerned should the whole gate collapse and that's why they were providing assistance.

Leaking damaged lock gate on the Stoke Bruerne flight - broken post.

We then walked back to the Navigation for Sunday lunch. The food was good (great Yorkshires) but because it was fine weather the pub was busy and the service slow.

Mosaic underneath the A508 road bridge Stoke Bruerne

A short trip in the sun then brought us back to Yardley; a good, but short, late summer cruise. We are committed to other things early September so our next cruise is a few weeks away.