Saturday, 31 August 2013

Epiphany down Foxton Locks

Geoff decided to take a trip on the bust to Market Harborough this morning but before leaving he very kindly cut the grass (with the aid of Epiphany's shears) alongside Petroc so that I could paint the gunnels.  We are moored on the right here so I can reach the side that took rather a pasting in the Crick Tunnel....I think it was the Crick many tunnels recently.....well 3 seems a lot to me.

Before getting down to work I decided to accompany Epiphany down Foxton is not often I get to work the locks but Foxton are some of the easiest around....even I can manage the gates and the paddles so I had a lovely morning.   Unfortunately Epiphany had to wait almost 3/4 hour as two boats were coming up so I fell foul of a bacon roll in the cafe at the top!!  Still it gave me energy for the trip down........

View across one of the side pounds

Epiphany & Barney waiting patiently
Lot's of do's and dont's
working for a change 
Even the gates are easy

The museum in the background
Yoo Hoo

Only a few gongoozlers about
A lot of work has gone into the disused inclined plane and surrounding area in the last few years.
Disused inclined plane
The locks from the disused inclined plane
Old boat as it would have come out of the arm to enter the inclined plane
Lock gates on the disused arm leading to inclined plane
Now the area makes a lovely tranquil walk
(Thanks to Epiphany for some of the photos)

Friday, 30 August 2013

A gloomy ride

Well we made the 6.30 projected start and no I did not make a pigs of the turn.  Although from the shore the winding hole looked a little small, there was in fact no problem........
Watered etc and then down the lock....not even first as the boat moored behind us snuck away whilst we were watering.   Barney and I had our morning constitutional as far as the junction and climbed aboard.   We generally are picked up by Geoff in a convenient bridgehole which presents only 2 problems.....Barney refuses to climb on a moving boat even if going at snails pace........and Geoff has an inability to come to a dead stop in a bridge hole.....or maybe it's not inability but his opinion that Barney should be more versatile!!!!....anyway the objective is always achieved in the end .....
en route to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel
Dark & Gloomy
Getting narrower
This was the only boat we passed on the whole trip today
Tunnel ahead
Time for Barney & I to go below
Out the other side and there is sunshine trying to come through the huge trees which line this stretch of the canal
Our Guide book (Pearsons) shows these as the mooring for Husbands Bosworth...they obviously don't encourage visitors
If you cant see the real thing get your own
Dinky chicken house
We could not see any property near the canal
except this a little further on
We eventually moored in the first bit of reasonably open area not far from Foxton but Epiphany passed us about and hour later and then rang us to say there was room on the unrestricted moorings a little further we up sticks and moved.   Very happily settled now for the weekend.  Later we visited Epiphany for Pudding...........Fi had been collecting blackberries so enjoyed a delicious crumble.........
Total distance:8.6 miles 
Elapsed time:3h39m38s 
Average speed:2.10 mph (2.37 lock/mph)

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Layover in Welford

The Rowan trees overlooking the tiny stream (source of the river Avon) by the pub garden are full of berries.
Well it is so pleasant here that one just has to take full advantage of the 48 hour moorings......note they have not changed to 2 day as in places like Thrupp and Foxton.    What the difference is between the two definitions can probably only be construed in a court of law!!!!

Today should have been a really lazy day but I had the hankering to have a wander into Market Harborough so decided to accompany John and Fi on the 1015 least that is what our normally reliable App told was not to be.   Apparently the bus service from here is a ring and book one so by the time John had sorted all that out for us we left here about 11 and the bus had to go via Naseby to collect one more passenger so it took 1/2 an hour.   1430 was the earliest they would collect us to come back so we lingered and shopped slowly.  Such a shame that the notice board at the head of the canal cannot display this would have saved us all (John especially) a lot of aggro this morning.

After lunch I had a look in the large and imposing Parish Church

St Dionysius Church

Altar Frontal
Sadly John and Fi had to cancel their reservation on the bus after a hiccup with her prescriptions and so had a wait for the 5.30 bus collection........ meanwhile I caught the 2.30 bus and had my second exhilarating ride of the is a bit like being on a roller coaster the way they drive these 20 seater buses down some quite small roads........

In my absence Geoff and Barney had a 2 hour walk and later in the afternoon I took Barney round the reservoir walk which Geoff had discovered yesterday.........I think the dog must be k******** (somewhat tired)
I shall be sad to depart tomorrow, it is a really good mooring and with a sani station with all facilities........
a very early start is scheduled and the first task will be to turn Petroc in quite a small winding hole............maybe if we can do it at 6.30 no one will see me making a pigs of it.........

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Welford Arm

After a pleasant supper together with Epiphany we all said we would not rush in the morning and John said they would follow us as we are always up the event they were ready to go before us as Geoff was in a lingering mood......

The mist was a little slower to clear than yesterday but by the time we set off just before 9.30 the sun was making itself felt.   Barney and I sett off for our customary morning walk

we met a friendly chocolate lab en route but as usual Barney declined to play.....
This stretch of the canal is quite windy and also very shallow in places...  it is not helped when a boat moors near a bridge hole and the water is very shallow.......well that is Geoff's excuse he failed to negotiate a sharp bend into a bridge hole.......Petroc was extremely recalcitrant about getting her nose around!!!
All sorted without mishap eventually.......

It was quite a gentle turn onto the Welford arm and then just about a mile and 1 lock to go.

Just past bridge 2
There were several boats waiting to come down and there is not a lot of room to manoeuvre just before the lock

Epiphany went up ahead of us

We passed quite a few boats on our way to the end which boded well for finding a suitable mooring place......

As we approached the end of the arm we saw there was a very convenient spot just behind Epiphany....
This will do nicely for the day......thanks to NB Epiphany for some of the photos.
We had timed our arrival just right........morning departures over and arrivals mostly behind us....some of whom were disappointed not to find a space......
Total distance:4.86 miles
 Elapsed time:2h27m45s 
Average speed:1.97 mph (2.38 lock/mph) 

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Epiphany decided to move on Monday but Boe fancied another day being wined and dined by her parents so we stayed put!!!!
Very lazy day, I was not able to paint the gunnels as we were sitting too low in the water...(It is preying on my mind that action is required.......only on my mind doesn't even make a fleeting pass through the skipper's mind!)
We decided to go up to the Moorings Pub for a pre supper drink and en route we discovered our old boat.
We had a quarter share in Tickey for 2 years before we had Petroc built.  She did not look so smart in those days as the paint job has been done since then.  The painting was all done by Dave and Val who bought our share.  

Smarter than when we had her!!
They are still hard at it as they have just completed new doors front and back with the painting done by Val
The joined us for a drink in the Moorings and we had a catch up on Tickey to date.    It was very pleasant sitting right alongside the canal apart from the proliferation of wasps.........

This morning we awoke to a fairly misty morning.....but the sort of mist that heralds a hot day....we were not wrong.....

Boe departed after breakfast and we were on our way before 9 and before the first lot of boats appeared having come up the Watford locks........a delightfully rural run and we only met 2 other boats.......
Moored up a little way ahead of Epiphany out in the open with a nice wide towpath for Barney to lie in.

On arrival I had a sudden rush of blood to the head and decided to paint the gunnels as we were sitting just right.   By the time I finished I was slightly regretting my decision as it was very hot.   However I did feel virtuous.............and Geoff meanwhile had been very kind and cut up all my required vegetables for supper.....

Total distance:6.91 miles 
Elapsed time:3h15m2s 
Average speed:2.13 mph (2.13 lock/mph) 

This is a much better length of day.............................................

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sunday in Crick

It was decidedly chilly as we walked to church this morning.   We were heading for 'Bacon Butties and a service of Celebration and Praise'  so our curiosity was aroused.   Well the Bacon Rolls were welcome and the service was OK but unfortunately the music was not to our taste.....can't win them all.......
Back at Petroc by coffee time and our visitors soon arrived....Bob and Rosie Hall.  This was their first visit to Petroc.   After Geoff and Bob took Barney for a longish walk we all (Boe still here) repaired to the Wheatsheaf pub where we had booked Sunday Lunch.  With no great hopes (in this day and age of 'ealth & safety') we asked if the roast beef was rare and were told we could have it how we liked it......
They did us proud
One satisfied skipper
It was an excellent lunch and can be thoroughly recommended.
Bob & Rosi departed after lunch and we spent the rest of the day as a typical not a lot......

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Weekend at Crick

 As Boe had arrived with our small car we just had to take advantage.  Heavy rain was forecast for today so Geoff and I were off at 7.15 to do a shopping run to Tesco in Rugby.   By 9.30 we were back and managed to unload the shopping just before the rain started.   In the event, although it was a dull day the rain was nowhere near as forecast.   In the afternoon whilst Geoff watched his sport, John came over from Epiphany and wrestled with out TV aerial in the back cabin with which we were having problems...........he was even successful too much to my delight..   To be fair to Geoff he had earlier taken Barnaby on a long walk.........

Boe was (as ever) undecided about her departure so we had a slap up meal with some of her favourite dishes............

Friday, 23 August 2013

Thursday nights view from our mooring just before Norton junction
Friday morning view in almost the same place before departure
Off at 8 in company with Epiphany.  Geoff and John driving, Barney and I walking and Fi gently getting up.....or maybe she was cooking breakfast........

Our walk to Watford lock was slightly longer than I had bargained for and after a night of not sleeping well managed to shatter me for a while!!!

Epiphany turning at Norton

Petroc likewise
Epiphany leading Petroc

However we were pleased to see when we reached the bottom of the 7 locks that no one was in front of we thought we were in for a quick wrong can one be.   John walked up to check with the lock keeper( cannot proceed here without his say-so). ...and we told we could go through the first lock.    Fi went ahead on Epiphany and I gaily followed immediately under the impression that we were still in wide locks..........first mistake of the day......I did think the entrance looked a little memory had failed yet again as we were back to single locks.

Epiphany through the first lock and Petroc about to join her in the long wait
I eventually followed up and there we both waited below the second lock .......and waited and is one way traffic because of the staircase of 4 in the middle and the lock keeper had decided to let down 7 boats before we were allowed to proceed........

Good teamwork
John hard at work
However we were not in a rush, the weather was dry and not too hot, we all helped the 7 boats as they passed through the locks on either side of us, there was time to make coffee and toast and the surrounding countryside was lovely.........hard to believe that just a stones throw over the hedge was the busy M1 and the Watford Gap motorway fact that was the only sound disturbing the morning and even that was OK as we were not in a car but gently travelling a canal at a much slower  pace of life....... 
In the staircase
M1 and Watford gap services just over the trees to the left
nearly there
Despite the long wait to get going it was a good fort the Crick tunnel which was not far ahead
As we entered Barney and I departed below, something he is never very keen to do........We met one boat coming the other way who was not steering too well and succeeded in making us scrape alongside the wall with very nasty noises down below.......Barney was considerably put out..... and restless.........I was none too impressed later when I saw the scraping to the side of the boat....but that will have to wait until we are moored on a suitable bank on that side.......
Just after the end of the tunnel lies Crick and the marina.  There was plenty of online mooring, even 14 days, so we pulled in just ahead of Epiphany.
Boe arrived later in the afternoon, after a very protracted journey from Chobham.  Journey was 100 miles and should have taken 2 hours but took 4, how much of that was down to traffic and how much down to Boe and her driving is unknown!!!!
I was somewhat exhausted after a longish day but Fi had offered to cook supper for us all.   This we partook on Petroc and a convivial evening was had by all........
Total distance:5.22 miles 
Elapsed time:4h1m49s 
Average speed:1.30 mph (3.03 lock/mph)