Sunday 20th September 2015
Yardley Wharf to Stoke Bruerne
4 miles, 7 locks
We pulled pins early as we only wanted to go a few hundred yards down the cut under bridges 61 and 62 to moor at Yardley Wharf. Our aim was to go into Yardley Gobion to get a Sunday paper. It was very misty just after 8am when we left.
However if you look behind us as we slipped away you can see the sun trying it's best
and by the time we got to Yardley Gobion the sun had won and the sky was blue. The village is a mix of old and new, but a lot of houses are made from the local Blisworth stone which is very attractive. The odd thatched cottage just adds to the charm. If, however, you want to find the shop you need to ask as it is tucked away in the back of a housing estate (near the school). I reckon if we had not asked we would still be there now! Still it was worth the walk as it had a paper and most other essentials if they were needed.
The aim today was to get to Stoke Bruerne which we know is very popular and therefore it can be hard to find moorings. This was to be our first set of broad locks this year without Cleddau. We used the services at the bottom of the locks in the hope that someone else would come along, but I think we were too early. There had been boats coming down so all the locks were set for us and we made good progress to the top lock. This lock is always very busy with visitors, so you need to do it right - we did! It does mean there are usually people willing to help open and close gates.
A view of Stoke Bruerne from the top lock. Stoke Bruerne (according to our canal guide book) is possibly the best canal town in the country. Most buildings are made from Blisworth Stone and it is always busy with tourists. We had been advised that it might be best to stop after 5 locks and walk up to see if there were any moorings. As we were early we decided to risk it and go on up - a wise move as we had the pick of the two day moorings.
Our first stop was The Boat for a drink and a sandwich. This was our view across the Canal to the Canal Museum.
What a wonderful sight this was - a lady busy doing her embroidery in the sun with her husband at her side. Such a fantastic place to live we thought, but alas our illusions were shattered. Boatwif from nb Cleddau had told me they had met the lady who lives at No 2 a few years back, so on our way back to the boat I asked the lady if her neighbour's name was Kathryn. 'I have no idea', was the reply - 'we are here in a holiday home!'
Whilst we were having lunch this boat came along with a fairly new skipper. The challenge was to wind (turn round). Would he make it? It was very tight
but he made it
We then walked down to the tunnel mouth (Blisworth tunnel is just round the corner - at 3057 yards it is the third longest tunnel in the country). Just before the tunnel is this -it is a segment of the middle part of the tunnel when the tunnel was re-built.
Our final destination was the Canal Museum - it makes you wonder how on earth canals were ever built when these were some of the only hand tools available.
There is a great view from the top floor
And this is for our grandsons - not quite the same as Fireman Sam's fire engine!
I mentioned boats that looked overloaded yesterday, well we met one of them again today. It was a hire boat for 12, so not overloaded and it was, inevitably, a stag party. The difference from many - these young men were sober and very polite and a pleasure to talk to. They did say they let their hair down a bit when the sun goes down, but alcohol was not in evidence at lunchtime. They were all from South Africa and based in London. Compared to some of the boats we encountered around Bath these were a delight. Even better - they were having such a good time that they are going to hire a boat again for a week next time.
And for tomorrow - well we shall see what the weather throws at us.