After leaving the River Nene and coming back onto the canal system we spent a few days moored opposite the pub at Bugbrooke. Our son and his girlfriend came to visit and we had a reasonable meal in The Wharf. It's one of those pubs that are trying to be a gastro pub but not quite managing it. The menu was too long and complicated so you knew most of the food was probably pre-prepared and either vac-packed or frozen. It wasn't busy either which was a bad sign especially as it was Saturday lunchtime.
I seem to be getting rather clumsy in my old age and on the Tuesday I tripped when getting out of the boat and caught my back on the cratch board. It feels like I've cracked a couple of ribs so we've been taking things very easy for the past week, travelling slowly and only doing short journeys. We'd been undecided which way to go when we got to Gayton Junction but after sitting out the tail end of Hurricane Gonzalo at Bugbrooke we finally made our minds up and turned round and are now heading down the Grand Union. We haven't been this way before and have been very pleasantly surprised at how nice the canal is. It's also very busy with lots of hire boats which must be due to it being half term. There are also lots of wide beam boats around here, mostly permanently moored as residential boats but we've also met a few moving, which makes it fun at bridge holes or when passing through linear moorings with wide beams on both banks. Do they pay more for their licences as they take up twice as much water? We met one wide beam boat when we were moored at Stoke Bruerne. The guy came steaming past, steering with bow and stern thrusters and actually rammed into the side of us. He couldn't even use the excuse that it was windy, he just couldn't steer his boat in a straight line. He moored up behind and later on we heard him bragging about his boat to some walkers and telling them how the C&RT men would be coming out at 8am the next morning to stop all other boat traffic while he went through Blissworth Tunnel. Do they pay for C&RT to come out when they want to go through tunnels?
He was welcome to Blissworth Tunnel! It's over 1800 metres long and very wet. It had rained the previous day and water poured down on us all the way through. At one point I considered putting an umbrella up even though we were both wearing full waterproofs. It was nice to get out into the sunshine again.
This is one of the concrete rings that have been used to rebuild the middle section of the tunnel. It's still brick lined at both ends though and is wide enough for two narrowboats to pass each other but has to be closed to traffic when wide beams want to go through.
We spent a couple of nights at Stoke Bruerne before carrying on down the Grand Union and have spent the weekend at Campbell Park in Milton Keynes. The wide beam boats moored behind us are permanently moored and the ones opposite are on 14 day moorings.
This tiny boat reminded me of a gypsy caravan
while this wide beam was huge and extremely posh
We're now moored at Fenny Stratford but haven't decided how long we'll stay here yet. With the weather being so warm and sunny it's ideal cruising weather so we may move again tomorrow. It's nice not being tied to a schedule.