Thursday, 21 August 2008

Summer Cruise - Watford Gap to Thrupp Wharf

Tuesday 12th August 2008
Watford Gap to Thrupp Wharf
Once past Norton Junction we were back onto canal that we have done before, and what for us feels like 'home territory' as we have to go through it to escape from the southern Grand Union. So we didn't want to hang about, we'd already been out longer than we felt we should have done.
Coming down Buckby locks we were joined in the second lock down by a remarkable crew. The owners of the boat were a retired RN officer, who I was told confidentially by one of the crew members, was 84, and his wife who was in her 70s and did all the steering as she has a bad back and finds the locks too difficult. Both seemed as fit as a fiddle, and very game for everything, the gentleman was very happy to stride out on the long lock pounds, as well as seemingly having little difficulty with the paddles and very heavy gates. With them were friends who were visiting for a few days. They stopped at Whilton Marina and we carried on.
BW were doing some of piling of the new edging to the bank - since it seems to be based around wooden pilings rammed into the canal we did wonder at what kind of lifespan it will have. BW pile the dredgings behind the front row of pilings which seems to have some kind of mesh stretched over it, and which is braced by wires to the rear pilings.
Through Blisworth Tunnel, then down the flight at Stoke Bruerne, where David and I watched the clouds piling up rapidly from cumulus into whispy topped cumulo-nimbus as we worked down through the locks. Then I rather stupidly took a tumble down a grassy slope. Having recently removed the elastic bandage from my knee I decided to run towards the next lock to get it ready for the boat - and put my foot down a rabbit hole in the bank. I went head over heels and fell heavily against my arm on my right side, and trapping my arm against my chest. At first I thought that an injured ankle would be the main result of this - in fact that took very little time to recover, the bruising to my ribs was so bad that it disrupted my sleep more than a week - ah well, don't run!
We moored at Thrupp Wharf, Alan and I went for a well deserved pint. If I haven't said so before -David at 19, while he is very welcome to drink with us, doesn't like alcohol, and so tends to stay on the boat and surf the Internet - it certainly means that he has fewer budgeting problems than many students do while at university. We sat in the pub watching the gathering dusk and the panorama of clouds of all shapes and sizes at many layers of the atmosphere as they changed colours in the fading light.
A strange day weather wise, with sunshine mixed with drenching rain, and unfortunately the wind that has dogged this part of the trip.
Daily Total: 22.32 miles, 14 locks & 1 tunnel
Running Total: 311.6 miles, 339 locks and 19 tunnels

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