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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

LOCK AFTER LOCK

So we go on turning right at Napton Jct. past Calcutt up the Stockton flight of locks on through Warwick, nice place and interesting museum, on up through the Hatton 21 turning left at Kingswood Jct. onto the Stratford on Avon Canal only to face 19 more locks.
Seems like someone built Birmingham on a hill just so boaters can climb upto it, oh well once these are done it`s lock free into Brum.
That`s 65 locks near as dam it since Braunston. Still its been spread out with night stops along the way.
Oh before i go comment on last blog `Bored` X 25. Did you ever think Mr/Ms Bored that maybe i hadn`t blogged because i was unwell or perhaps the PC was playing up.
"Hi Les hope all is well as you haven`t blogged lately" would have been nice instead of your childish comment.
While on the subject of comments you might notice now and again spam comments. These are electronicaly sent from who knows and i delete them as soon as i can. There is one still on blog for Feb 17 "on to fenny" I left it there meaning to mention these spam comments but forgot. Please don`t click on any links within these spam comments as the majority are either selling something or are porn.
I can stop these appearing but it would make it harder for your good selfs to leave a comment so i prefer to remove them as quickly as i can.




The extension to Calcutt Marina is now open complete with fancy arched bridge that i imagine is waiting for steps to be attached. There are 3 locks here and we ended up stuck for an hour between locks as BW were carrying out emergency repairs to one of the gates, still it gave us an excuse to put the kettle on and what`s an hour in a lifetime.





About half way up the Hatton flight of 21 locks.
Nice piece of metal work in the side pound opposite the BW yard at Hatton locks.
The crew have mutinyed and clapped me in irons. Actually Tina/Andy decided i should put a pic of me on the blog. This was at Hatton craft centre 5mins walk from Brdg. 55 top of the Hatton flight.
The centre consists of about 15-20 shops set in an old farm and selling shoes, clothing, gifts, garden centre and butchers amongst others. Also a childrens farm with bouncy castles, trampolines and of course animals to stroke......you know the sort of thing. A nice place to stop off if you cruise this way or drive to the Hatton lock flight to walk or sit outside the BW cafe and watch the boats go through the locks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

LOCKS OPEN

The body building next to the Nelson pub.

10am Friday last and the canal was again in water and the padlocks came off the gates. It was like being let out of prison, well i think it was not having had that experience i can only imagine the feeling, and so off we went stopping only at the marina to get a replacement gas bottle.
Started to go up the 7 locks leading to Long Buckby and on entering the 2nd noticed some very nice logs at the lockside begging me to take them, well can`t refuse free heat so as the boat rose in the lock on the roof they went. By the time we reached the last lock on this flight there had been quite a lot of boats moving down the flight.
Now we have just 3 miles and Braunston tunnel before we have to go down 6 locks into Braunston. Half way down is a pub called the Nelson that was actually a farm and next to it a small building that in days gone by was used to store salt and dead boaters awaiting burial. So if i go missing remember to check there first.
Managed to moor up in front of the Braunston Marina where they have on sale a narrowboat built in China and shipped over in a container. It was ok but nothing special certainly not as good as boats i have looked at from Poland, but no doubt the chinese will get better and flood the market with boats. Very sad that even our boat builders are facing competition from abroad and makes you wonder if in the future British Wateways will be in foreign hands.
So had a few days here and celebrated my 59th year on this planet and also it`s been 2 years since i did my 1st blog. Click MARCH 2005 on the left to read it.
This evening we have decided to cast off at 10.30 Wednesday as the weather shows this will be the best day till the w`end.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

WHILTON and STOP

This is the stop part of my blog title. I am standing at the first lock of 7 in this flight and as you can see NB VALERIE or any other boat for that matter won`t be going anywhere yet. At the moment BW have this pound and the next drained for maintenance. All of the locks have been shut now for 33 days but hopefully they will be open on Friday 16th.


This is Whilton Marina which sits at the bottom lock of the Buckby flight. The boats in the foreground are for sale and as we have plenty of time to spare decided to get a few keys from the sales office and have a look round some of them. Bit DEJAVU as this was one of many places i visited when looking for a boat. Just as before many different types of layout and fitout styles but none that took my fancy.
The other boats are moored here on a permanent basis to be used when the owners get time but a few are lived on.
This stretch of the Gd. Union as you approach Whilton brings together 3 forms of transport. The M1 runs alonside the canal to my right and the West coast train line to the left.
Some time ago someone e-mailed me that they would be coming out of Whilton soon. If you are reading this sorry i have lost the e-mail so give us a shout be nice to chat

Saturday, March 10, 2007

WEEDONS HIDDEN CANAL

In 1803 a Royal Army Ordnance Depot was built at Weedon Bec. It was made up of 8 storehouses and 4 magazines. Small arms and gunpowder were just two of the things stored here. The magazines had thick walls and between each an additional building that was filled with earth.
During the early part of its 160 year life the depot had barracks for 500 men, a hospital, a military prison (1861 census shows 94 inmates) and just outside the depot still as built accomadation for its own fire brigade.
In 1809 on a saturday an order was recieved for 22,000 muskets. These were packed in cases and on Monday morning they were on there way to London.......are you thinking whats this got to do with his canal travels? has the water gypsy gone senile? is he blogging from the pub?
Noooooooo the Muskets went to London by canal.
When the depot was built they dug a canal from within its walls exiting via a Portculis Gate to join up with the then Gd. Jct. Canal. Going past today you would never know of its existence as there is no sign of it from the canal. I read of it from an old canal book picked up on my travels last year and having missed it going south last year was determined to seek it out this time.
Now this canal transport system was going well and then came the railway passing close to the Gd. Jct. Canal and level with it. Both had passed above the village one each side and come together as they passed by the Ordnance depot. To overcome the problem of allowing boats loaded with gunpowder to access the depot canal a section of rail was removed each time a boat came in & out.This was supervised by the local Stn. master.
Rail lines were added at Weedon Stn. that led into the Ordnance Depot giving it 3 forms of transport, road, rail and water.
Blimey this blog is long i`m supposed to be retired. quick cuppa and i`ll carry on
The Ordnance Depot went on untill the mid 1960`s and during its life was used as a clothing store kitting out Kitcheners Army also it was an army eqeustian school and stabled some of the finest horses in the country. Plus the Army had its bicycle section here.
This place is full of history and interest from who was stationed here to what civilian workers in the depot earnt 100+ years ago. I claim no superior knowledge of this place having read all i tell you in a booklet issued by the Weedon Bec History Society and purchased in the village post office. Don`t miss the village it`s a nice place to walk around and pick up supplies.
Oh just thought going north on the Gd Union under bridge 25 past Weedon Wharf on the Left(port) you see the church. There are a few moorings on the church side but don`t worry if you moor opposite there are steps down to a road passing below the canal and into the village.
The point that the depot canal joined the mainline is further up on the left in the middle of the boatyard before bridge 24.
If you go looking for the depot as you stand outside looking at the portcullis gate behind you is the old engineering works. To the leftof it is a lane and just a few yards along the lane you can walk through the trees past the deserted building and find the canal exit under the railway.
Nice eh!

A view from the canal bank looking across the churchyard showing the railway passing at the same height as the canal. Walk past the church into the village and the road goes gradually uphill to the Ordanance Depot.

Inside the depot the entrance to my left shows a large part of the canal still in water. Further down a now filled in basin allowed the turning of boats.
The entrance to the Depot with the portcullis gate that would raise to allow boats to access.
The canal having exited the depot passes under the rail lines. This is the only part in water outside of the depot. An old engineering works has been built over the rest.

This is the place the Ordanance Depot canal joined the main Gd Jct. Canal. Notice the height of the railway in relation to the canal and the metal railings seen in the picture from the depot side.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

THE CONVOY MOVES ON

Off we go through Blisworth tunnel dodging the water dripping from the roof and in places pouring down the ventilation shafts. Exiting the tunnel brings us to Blisworth village and we all decide to get a bus to a Tesco on the outskirts of Northampton to re-stock our galleys. Shopping can be a problem on some stretches of the canal system but it is surprising how often you can be away from it all but just a 10 min bus ride from civilisation.
So stocked up on food we carry on to Gayton Jct. where a new marina is being constructed and stop off at the service block to dispose of rubbish, empty toilets and take on water.
Next stop is Bugbrooke where we spent a few days and i had a busy w`end with sons Kev and Steve visiting together with the G`children who brought their mums Joanne & Ozlem. Managed to give them all a cruise along the canal on the saturday which was just as well because it rained all day Sunday. All of us had a meal Saturday evening in the Wharf Inn and as i had moored on the pub mooring they had somewhere to park almost next to the boat.
After they had all left i woke the next day feeling rough with the common cold, yes ok you tough ladies out there us men get a cold and its the end of the world, so stayed put for 2 days to recover. Having fought off the fever we are off to Wheedon to seek out the hidden arm that leads into an old army depot. The others can`t wait to get this part of the trip over because i never stop talking about it.
New marina taking shape at Gayton Jct.

G`daughter Keira spends her day aboard laughing and smiling.
G`son Kiernan is mobile now and wastes no time investigating the boat.

One of many bridges along the way.


As well as a couple of Bream Andy&Tina managed to land this Crayfish.