One of the great pleasures in taking this trip is the people you meet – and particularly those relatives that you know about on the family tree but met so long ago that you can’t remember!!! This week we have spent the last 2 days with Julie and Phil and have already planned the next catch up in September when we will experience their boat on the Norfolk Broads – will give you a full report then!!!!
After leaving Long Buckby on Sunday, navigating seven locks (how many more!!!) and meandering through some beautiful countryside in Northamptonshire we found a lovely mooring between bridges 44 and 45 opposite horse stables!. The Grand Union Canal runs alongside of the M1 Motorway and the London-Midland railway through this section as well as the old Roman Road, Watling Street (now the A5) which runs from London all the way to Bath. So we have been in close proximity to several historical transport modes over this section and we remain thankful of the mode we have chosen for its relaxed and peaceful nature.
We had made the decision to get to Stoke Bruerne on Monday in preparation for meeting up with Julie and Phil on Tuesday morning. With only about 5 miles left to travel, including the 3057 yard Blisworth tunnel we made this easily and found excellent moorings just after the tunnel. We went for a walk through the canal town and appreciated what had been done to maintain authenticity and appeal to a 21st Century tourist base.
On Tuesday morning after readying ourselves for our visitors (who were delayed for about 2 hours due to accidents and road works on the motorway!) we waited by the museum and amused ourselves with watching the many children, parents and grandparents enjoying the Teddy Bears Picnic that had been arranged (we believe by the Canal and River Trust staff). Eventually Julie and Phil arrived and we enjoyed showing them our pride and joy, a little lunch and walk, before they took us in their car (on roads that had lots of traffic and everything moved really fast!!!!) to their hotel in a neighbouring village and finally back to the New Inn at Long Buckby for a lovely dinner. We made arrangements to meet them in the morning and take a trip through the seven Stoke Bruerne locks and along the canal about 3 miles before returning them to their car at the bottom lock at Stoke Bruerne.
After a very wet night Wednesday dawned beautiful and continued so throughout the day. The sun shone, lockages were relatively easy, and the canal and scenery serene. We are pretty sure that our visitors enjoyed themselves and we certainly loved their company. And the bonus was getting some assistance from Julie in developing website skills. Sadly we farewelled them this evening but with plans in place for another catch up in a few weeks. And we now know what the pat of the canal offers and look forward to sharing it with another cousin – Mick and Cheryl – in September as we return up this canal.
So tomorrow we set off from below the lock and head toward Milton Keynes along a stretch with only one lock and the opportunity to restock our very empty fridge!!!!