Sunday 16 June 2024

It started warm and then got too bloody hot.

 The next day we set off for who knew how far we'd get.  I only knew that as with the Buckby Locks, we were at the mercy of my back lasting out for longer than a day.  Double locks all the way now.

We were just undoing the ropes when we heard a boat  coming around the corner from behind us, obviously we were looking for a Locking buddy to share the load with.  Oh just our luck he's a single hander....
Anyway he pulled in ahead of us, tied up his middle rope and disappeared.  David was saying that a single hander is better than being alone, I was less charitable..

Anyway with him tied up and disappeared we set off.  We hadn't got very far when at a distance there he was again behind us. 

Oh my word IT'S SUNNY!!!! 

Saddington Tunnel

Well oddly the following boat got further and further behind.  The weather called for sunhats and short sleeves, first time since last summer I think.
Suddenly there was the unmistakable smell of slurry, unmistakable that is to a dairy farmer and his wife, there were gorgeous moorings but jeepers I couldn't have stood the smell for long.  We joked about it with a moored up boat, the owners were sat at the back with coffees, she replied that it hadn't been so bad yesterday, but I couldn't imagine sticking it there for ten minutes let alone a night or two.

On we went and the first lock of today was getting closer, I didn't think we would wait for the single hander when he had dropped back so far.  I filled the first lock and still no sight of him.  We decided to go on alone. 
Then just as I went around to shut the second gate, a different boat came into sight, completely unexpectedly too, it was the boat we had joked with about the smell.  They said they too had been getting ready to leave but it hadn't looked like it, I wondered if like me they wanted locking buddies and we had come past so they jumped to.  
They came into the lock and we worked nicely together.  As the boats lowered, yes you've guessed it, that single hander arrived.  In the end I felt a bit sorry for him, he must have been pig sick to see he just missed out on being with another boat.

First one of many today.

Lovely open views today.

Plenty of water about here.

Our locking buddies for the day.

That's David gone ahead, I told him to get a wiggle on and set the next lock.

Well Reader the sun shone, but we did have to turn every lock bar one.  

Eventually we landed at Kilby Bridge, that was after twelve locks.  We'd turned eleven of them so in my book that made 23 locks.  I was pretty shattered I have to say.  

Close to Saddington was this not my taste house.

But my god just look at the setting (apart form the trees)

This pretty cottage had a public footpath running right next to it and a stream of dog walkers came past their lounge windows.

Pretty much head height on the towpath.  You could lose a small child in that.

We moored up finally and David got my chair out, I sat in the sun and dozed. 
We walked to the packed pub here in the late afternoon and got chatting to a chap who was moving a boat from Crick back to its base on the Trent and Mersey canal, it turned out that he had followed that single hander all day but the single hander had left open the gates at every lock, when the boat mover caught up with him at the final lock, his excuse was he was new to Boating and didn't know.
All sympathy vanished.

Tomorrow the last twelve locks down into Leicester.  Phew.

Supper was salad rolls.

PS   I am at home now, yes I know I'm all behind but in a day we are off to France for that joint boating holiday I told you about.  I had hoped that I would have got this blog up to date before hand but C'est La Vie.
I'll do a mini post about France  and then back to Leicester, well that's the plan anyway.
Au Revoir.

Once more for old times sake

So we leave the Laughton Hills behind and potter towards Foxton Locks.  When we moored at Debdale Marina, I used to be doubly sad to leave here because it meant a spell of boating was coming to an end.  Not so today.  

I had been very much looking forward to revisiting this canal, but it has been a little disappointing, we think it's been five years since we last came up here, but the first time we did was in 2012, the year WaL was launched at the Crick Boat Show.  We had gone south from Crick and not been to Debdale via the canal that is until the end of the summer, but I do feel that during the past thirteen summers the trees have grown up so much that most of the canal is a green tunnel and I can't see the countryside.   

That is the one thing I have against trees is they block the view, well actually there's another, leaves and sap they drop on your boat, oh and they block the sun from the solar panels, oh and one more it's cold to moor in their shade but apart from that I've nothing against trees...  
Oh apart from them falling down and blocking canals, but apart from that....

Farewell Laughton Hills

We once went up there blackberrying, came across a Buzzard who quickly took off nearly giving me a heart attack from the shock, they are HUGE close-up, great blackberries though.

Marilyn I hope you are enjoying these shots? And yes it was as cold as it looks.

How long until this one tumbles?  I could have taken a lot more photos of trees like this "Leaning Tree of Pisa" one.

The fabulous view here is lovely, I urge boaters to moor here, enjoy it, and to take their shears out, hack about and maintain the gap, no one else will.

Yep another falling to be tree!

Into the top lock, small queue that took an hour but that's normal.

Tremendous views over Leicestershire from the top of Foxton Flight.

Quite a crowd gathered, two boys helped do the gates then ran back to the top to help the next boat down.  So cute.

After the final lock, we moored up in a spot that simultaneously said mooring 2 nights, mooring for the water point and waiting for the locks.  
We just popped into Bridge 61 (This is a pub) and sat outside admiring the helming of all the milling about boats, the mooring scrambles and the swing bridge management and people watching in general.

We moved on past our old Marina Debdale Wharf, not much of a view passing by so I haven't included the photos.  
Just past there the reeds grow tall here, it's either an ASSI or an SSSI or somesuch, parts of the stretch are very narrow and others fair to middling.
Then on a corner he met this

David nearly jumped out of his skin coming face to face with this, this "Craft" Reader apologies if you own one but I have a low opinion of them loose on the canals.  Now I do realise that technically this is a "Wide" canal  but you can see how much of the canal he was taking up.

We were delighted we didn't meet him here

And certainly not here either.... get my drift?

We moored up here.  Open views and no trees.  I suggested Boboli as a special treat.  David agreed and I called up.  

Now we are in our dotage we keep odd meal times and luckily they had a table for two at 4pm.  Perfect for us, we cycled the two miles and I amazed David by taking him straight there again but it has been five years since we were last here.  

Sorry if you didn't know Boboli is a family run Italian restaurant in Kibworth Harcourt.  Absolutely fabulous it is too. 


Lovely spot but I have been economic with the truth here as there were several other boats here too. 

I guess CART are also doing "No Mow In May"


Supper was scallops, then their own lasagna, instead of layers of pasta it's made with layers of thin ham then semifreddo, oh my goodness I can still taste it all.  
I wonder how far to drive here from Great Haywood marina , more food for thought. 

Thursday 13 June 2024

A trip dowm memory lane.

We spent a comfy night at Norton Junction, the wind was still blowing and this morning we had to reverse through the bridge, avoid the boat behind and turn up onto the Leicester Arm.  Good thing I wasn't in charge of manoeuvres, but although I was ready with fenders all was fine.  We waved goodbye to the two guys we had travelled up with yesterday and set off for The Watford Locks. 

This Heron didn't move at all as we passed by.

Making our way up the lovely Watford Staircase Flight.

Nasty crack on the right of the bridge. 

I was watching but no bumps or tinks here into the staircase locks.

Watford was painless, we had expected to wait but no straight in, David was going to have filled up with water while we were waiting.  We decided not to water up at the top as it is a very slow tap.  

On we went, a boat went past with a familiar looking helm, later we realised that it was a member of the cast of that new Channel 4 programme called Narrow Escapes, they had been to Crick Boat Show.

We popped into Yelvertoft to have a pump out.  There we had the most expensive pump out we have ever had.  £30 and Reader it was a DIY one too!!!
You have been warned.

We spent one night at Bridge 22.  I mooring I always wanted to go to where in the past I had watched hares romping.  We got into a space amongst all the "continuous moorers" of which there are now many, but no hares.

The next day an early start to meet a friend.

Creeping into Husbands Bosworth Tunnel.

Some months ago David received a phone call from our old herdsman Calvin.  From where I was sitting I could hear what was being said.  Calvin had a new position as a herd manager now in Leicestershire moving south from North Yorkshire to this prestigious post, I could hear him saying all sorts of complimentary things about how much David had taught him, how much he appreciated this and all his success now he owes in part to David.  
Well Reader, it's not often I see him blush but that day was one.

The next surprise was the location of the new dairy farm, amazingly on the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union canal, where we were now.
A visit was planned, we didn't even need the car or bikes as the farm is quite literally at The Laughton Hills, one of my favourite all time spots.  
We moored up and walked over the bridge and there he was waiting to greet us.

We watched the start of the milking, (A much bigger parlour to our old one)

A sparkling clean unit too.

Calvin is a bit of a character, he came to us aged 22 after arriving in the UK on his own to make a new start from South Africa.  He spoke English of course and Afrikaans, plus one or two more African languages, Xhosa was one I think.   

Years later when he had progressed and our own herd had expanded and we took on first one, then two, then five Polish workers, they all got on swimmingly and Calvin learnt Polish too.  Today he employs one Romanian but I forgot to ask if he spoke that too.

Time flew as we had a guided tour of the farm and his plans for the next five years.  Surprisingly also I understood much of this farming talk. 

We walked back to Wal, all abuzz with all the news and moved the boat about 200 metres.  I asked David if he was tempted and if he missed our farm..... No.

Supper was salmon and asparagus and a cheeky little chablis, well half a bottle.

Sunset over the Laughton Hills, looking towards the farm.  It was freezing and the heating went on.


Monday 10 June 2024

The sunshine after the rain

We should really get a wiggle on.  We had thought that we would have had more time and frankly better weather to have lingered and enjoyed the Grand Union, but in retrospect time is a tiny bit against us.  But it was such fun and good timing to have met up with Adam and Adrian yesterday.

I had neglected to have pointed out that they keep a blog as many of my Readers will know as the majority of you come to visit me via ...


So today we both were leaving at a similar time, David braved a swan well almost did, then with a wave both boats set sail.

We were retracing our steps that took a few hours.  As we went past the waterpoint and the moorings at Weedon Bec we toyed with the idea of filling up but decided against it as one boat left and another in front of us pulled in, so we carried on behind at a little distance.

We passed this rather nice looking vintage NB Hyades, a butty and behind NB Hyperion.  You can read about their history 

HERE   and    HERE  although no one around today, they evidently work as fuel boats still and look pretty marvellous.

I think this below is an excellent name, it's been making me chuckle since and I often can he heard to utter these words.
I'm also really liking this kingfisher colour of NB's we have seen plenty this colour on this trip hint hint David!

How long do we give this tree until it plops down?

Oops out of sequence but here is the swan giving David a challenge and NB Briar Rose, Adam had just ducked down to loosen his ropes.

I hope this gets a sympathetic renovation, are those stable doors? And the horses entered how......?

Fabulous set of buildings.

Not many of these but here is a most attractive stone bridge with a few brick repairs.

Always makes me a tiny bit sad to see old boats like this one I love to imagine its previous life, loved polished and loved.  Fingers crossed this one is on it's way to be restored.  I looked online but didn't find any information about it.

Haas anyone else been here?  Outside this nce home are to signs one at either end saying Private Mooring.  It's on the towpath so I wasn't sure if that can be the case of if the owners of the posh house have had the signs painted themselves?

Here below is the boat that pulled off of the moorings at Weedon Bec, this was the most boats we had seen for days, a whole row of them.  I was pleased and hoped that they were not going to turn into Whilton marina at the foot of the locks....
Little did I know that they too were hoping that we did not turn into the marina.

Attractive lock cottage on the Buckby flight.

On the Buckby Locks, so rural you could be miles away from anywhere.

So the two chaps were Steve and Andy (I think) on NB Saoirse who actually are "Vloggers" and have their own YouTube channel, we talked all things video and I am certain that I am not going to make the leap to vlogging for sure.  I'm too lazy and filming would appear to be all consuming for me.  Andy did confess to be very behind, months behind so that at least made me feel better.

Well if you want to see them click      HERE    

The two boats on their way in.

The lovely house on the junction with WaL.


When we finally got to the top the guys pulled onto the service point, we might have filled up too but let them as the sky blackened.  

I walked ahead of the two boats to see if there was any space left on the moorings that we had left a couple of days ago. 

There was.

The wind was picking up so I helped David pull us in and then walked back to the bridge to signal to the guys that they could get in too.  We took their rope when they appeared though the bridge and they moored up fine, not many spaces left and both boats had the uninterrupted view over the fields which most boats done get.  

As all this was going on, a hire boat came past and it became apparent that he wanted to make the turn onto The Leicester Arm but without the benefit of bow thrusters he had failed twice.  
I walked back to lenda hand, by now the crew was looking very cold and even more miserable.  The mother threw the rope in a shockingly bad style and then again and we caught it.  A man looking a bit like Catweazle stood giving advice with a beer glass in his hand, advice like "Pull that rope now" and then "That's it keep pulling!"  invaluable.

Well we did pull it around the junction and then the miserable crew member seemed not to be able to get back on again but I left them to sort that one out.

Back onboard, David had battened down the hatches and the rain came in with gusto.

Supper was salmon with green beans.

Then this happened.