Saturday, 16 October 2010

Boats and Pieces

Since re-joining the canal system at Gayton Junction we have been staggered at the number of boats - both hire and private - that are still out and about.  It feels that in the last two weeks we have seen more narrow boats than over the entire summer on the Nene and Great Ouse.
Talking of boats:-
The more you cruise around the system the more you get to recognise boats when you see them again.  It's strange though because, as there are so many miles of inland waterways upon which to travel, it can be years before you see a familiar boat again.  Having said that, this week we have been passed by two 'celebrity' boats!  "Nobby" owned by Ian and Alison passed us on route to Braunston.  Ian writes/wrote articles for one of the canal boat magazines - I don't know if he still does as we very rarely buy them these days.  We were really surprised to hear that they too had spent the summer on the Nene and Great Ouse but we didn't even catch a glimpse of each other!  N/b "Ski" (Spending the Kids' Inheritance) has also passed us this week.  They featured in a TV programme about how popular it has become to live on the canals.  This week too we have met our first honeymoon couple in a hire boat ............... aahh!  Wrapped up in coats, scarves and gloves:-
"Didn't want to go to Rome or anything like that," they said!!!!!

I make an effort to remember the names of boats and boaters and, yes, call me just plain nosey, but I'm interested  to know where they are, where they've been and where they're going!!  We, on the other hand, appear to be extremely unmemorable!

Yesterday we came up the Buckby Flight - thankfully with another boat as I find it to be one of the hardest flights of locks on the system.  We are now moored up at Norton Junction a mile away from Welton Hythe Marina where, for us, this all started 7 years ago - how time flies!  So now, we are on 'old stomping ground'.

Norton Junction  
In the last seven years mooring at Norton Junction hasn't been great!  (Unless of course you are like Rodney and Derek and appreciate mooring almost opposite The New Inn!!)  There are a few spaces between the water tap and the BW yard at the top of the locks and, failing that, you needed to go down the Leicester Arm where both sides of the canal are lined with trees and the tow path is poor.  Not any more!  BW have now vastly improved the tow path just the other side of the bridge going towards Braunston Tunnel.  Mooring rings are available and it's deep enough to get into the bank!  The view is across the fields towards Welton:-

Canal-side /Waterway Trade
Coming up the Buckby Flight we passed our favourite little shop on the system!
'Anchor Cottage' is full of tempting boating antiques, a huge variety of hand-painted ware and all sorts of other interesting paraphernalia!  There are very few waterside businesses remaining as competing with the 'big boys' is now so hard.  It will be a very sad day for the waterways if they cease to exist at all so we try to support them when we can.  I bought my first Christmas present in
 'Anchor Cottage' yesterday and John now has another Buckby Can to paint over the winter.  

Another really nice little shop is 'The Boat Shop' at the bottom of the Braunston Flight.  They sell a small amount of essential groceries as well as some painted ware , lace plates, cross stitch kits, boat plaques and a fantastic selection of books and maps.  We also try to buy coal and gas from the fuel boats whenever we can.

The sky is blue and we are now casting off for Braunston along with lots of others!
When we get there we will have done 751 miles and 448 locks (my calculations so might not be exactly accurate) since leaving Crick at the beginning of March.  There you are, Rodney, a challenge for you!

John is feeling rather smug as, this year, he hasn't been shouted at!  I've told him there's still time!

1 comment:

  1. If John feels the need I can hppily SHOUT AT HIM!!!!
    Glad all is Ok what a marathon cruise this year.
    Will have to get together soon and plan next year!!