Farewell to Kingfisher Marina (for the summer)

Leaving our home mooring

We have moored Albert at Kingfisher Marina for a decade and are by far their longest serving (?) residents. In recent years, with retirement, we have often boated in the spring and autumn and gone for extended cruises, notably on the Leeds & Liverpool. However this year, with regular grandchild-care commitments, we will not have the time for extended cruising so we have decided on an alternative approach, moving Albert to another marina for the summer. As our base we have chosen Aston Marina near Stone where we moored briefly last year. It should provide us with a range of short trips and avoid the problem of travelling through very familiar territory for the first few days if any trip. Stone is on a direct train line from Milton Keynes. We plan to move Albert back “home” in the autumn since it is good to have her close by during the winter.

Yesterday we started the business of moving Albert north. We left Yardley Gobion around midday. It was dry, bright and nippy. Heavy rain showers were forecast. We got to Stoke Bruerne bottom lock to find NB Dragonfly about to go up – good news; but the even better news was the crew were being assisted by their friend Kathryn Doddington from NB Leo No. 2 and a resident of Stoke Bruerne. As a result we made good progress up the flight but the expected rain (and wind) arrived just as we got to the top lock. Leaving the top lock we were greeted (?) by the sight of a wide beam waiting to come down. They had just gone through the tunnel. I was a bit confused about how they had got through Blisworth Tunnel in the middle of the day but Maggie chatted to them as the lock filled. It appears that they were booked to go through the tunnel on Thursday with CRT organising the closure and decided that with the weather getting worse they would go through the tunnel on their own. It appears that they stopped two boats going north through the tunnel but I am still confused as to how they knew the tunnel empty before they got in because you can’t see all the way through. As we left the lock the wide beam cast off, and reversed and causing Charlie the trip boat to take evasive action.

We continued on through the tunnel which was entirely clear and under rain showers we cruised on to Bugbrooke. We haven’t moored at Bugbrooke for some time, despite it being where we first moored our first boat. NB Steelaway was moored up just behind us with one of the owners (shared) carrying out some maintenance. We just had to go to the Wharf Inn! The food was good, there was a roaring fire, and the staff were hospitable. It wasn’t very busy being midweek. I had my first pint of Whittlebury Ale. Having represented the village of Whittlebury on South Northants Council for eight years it was, as the expression goes, a no brainer. It’s a good light ale.