At 58 feet length, TQ (as we call her) is a steel hull narrow boat built by Colecraft and fitted out by Elton Moss Boatbuilders. Currently based at Aqueduct Marina in Cheshire we're able to cruise some of the most popular waterways in Britain. The Shropshire Union, The Trent and Mersey, The Llangollen Canal, The Four Counties Ring and Cheshire Ring and more.
Our friendly Syndicate decided to go down the Self Management route on 1st March 2012 and so far it has been very successful. Please visit the other pages in this blog to see the new Web Site and if shares are available for sale. (There'll not be many). I CAN CONFIRM THERE ARE SHARES CURRENTLY FOR SALE!
I am having to place a watermark on the blog content as someone on Facebook is stealing photos and claiming them as their own. I wouldn't mind if they asked first and attributed it to my blog. If it continues I will name and shame them. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.
It was a lovely quiet mooring at Bridge 6 so we had a peaceful night. The sun shone early on, promising a good day. Captain finally managed to publish my blog of yesterday; many attempts were made last night on our return to the boat but the signal was just too weak, it seems. Of course the rain was terrible too. While still at the mooring this morning we saw ‘Dragonfly’ (Elton Moss) go past, followed by ‘Jenny Wren’, also EM. We had seen ’Bittern’ moored at the Wharf on Wednesday- these EM boats get around…. We didn’t set off until 1150 as we were in no rush and as we entered Braunston Tunnel we noticed another boat coming our way quite a bit further back. We slowed down and waited to see if they were going through the locks too and discovered that that was their plan. There were six men on board so that was quite good for us! We worked four locks together, then they stopped for a pub visit. The towpath between these locks was terrible: a real quagmire in parts, with walking boots sinking deeply into squelchy mud, as there was no way to get away from it. The delights of the June weather. (I thought I wouldn’t mention it again, but it’s inevitable, I’m afraid. Have never mentioned the British weather so much in all my life.) We finished the fifth lock at 1330 and moored before the bottom lock. We walked up into Braunston and got the newspaper, then crossed the road to Poppy’s Craft Shop/Tea Shop. We have never managed to get in there before- shop closed or we were too late in the day. So at last we made it and it was good! Lovely crafty things in the shop, nice knitted wraps, lots of toys, baby goods etc. Took a photo of just one section of it. We enjoyed a great ham & cheese toastie and nice coffee. It’s only a small place but well worth a visit if you can get in. We got back to TQ at 3 o’clock and set off through the last lock - couldn't resist a photo of the Braunston pumphouse! Have I mentioned the weather? It just went (about every 10 minutes all day) from being very nice and hot, even, to being grey/cold/raining/very cold/hot. Unbelievable. Had to keep putting jackets on/off, pulling hoods up/putting umbrellas up/stripping off again. About an hour and a half before arriving at the marina, the wind picked up into almost hurricane mode. The photos of the 'pirates' don't show the mess they made of their turn which forced us to stop and pushed us on to the banking! However, despite the strong winds, the captain did a brilliant job of getting TQ carefully and smoothly into her mooring place at the marina. Later we drove to the ‘Bridge’ at Napton and enjoyed a really good meal; can recommend the Lamb for the main course. Now back on board and will be starting to sort things out tomorrow for leaving on Sunday, when we are going to our daughter’s for a few days, so looking forward to seeing our darling granddaughters!
Had a little lie-in this morning and woke to find a nice sunny morning. We set off about half past ten; the sky was so blue and the white clouds so fluffy that I just had to take a photo to prove it. Occasionally the wind was a bit cold, but that didn’t matter. We managed to find a good mooring spot at Weedon Bec at midday, right next to the steps down to the village, so we nipped down for a couple of things. This morning there was a nasty accident on the M1 near Weedon about 6 a.m., necessitating the closure of the motorway, at least southbound, for many hours. All day we were catching glimpses of the standing traffic, or -in the late afternoon- very slowly moving traffic. What with the frequent whizzing Pendolinos on the other side of us, we were very glad we were on the canal. Then suddenly, as we approached a lock, the Pendolinos whizzed across a bridge over the canal, so we were then on the inside of the three transport routes. Didn’t count how many of the trains passed over the bridge while we were working the lock, but it was easy to get a photograph to display on the blog! It was a lovely day, weather-wise, and was the first day that we didn’t have to wear jackets until the evening. We were also getting quite hot when doing the locks as some gates/paddles were very difficult. Some gates needed two adults to open them and one only budged when three people pulled it. Does it have to be like this? We finished the seven Buckby locks at half past five, then tied up near bridge 6 by six o’clock. By that time, the weather had changed again -well it is June 2012- and it was getting a bit grey and colder, so by the time we left the boat just before 7, it had just begun to rain lightly. We walked the three-quarters of a mile up to Welton, as on last Saturday night, and enjoyed another good meal at the White Horse. On our return the rain was heavier and we got rather wet despite the great Windbrella. However we are feeling lucky now because since we got back inside the boat, the rain has been even heavier! We realise the bad weather is nothing compared to the awful day that so many people must have spent on the M1, especially the 21year old female lorry driver who is critically ill from her injuries sustained in the accident and pray for a miracle for her.
We spent a quiet night at the mooring at Bugbrooke and woke early to a lovely summer morning. The captain cleaned the nearside of TQ, while I did some other jobs, then we had an early lunch before going off to explore Bugbrooke. The weather was fine, but we weren't sure how it was going to turn out as we walked the three quarters of a mile to the village. Not long after we arrived, the sun really came out and it was very hot, just like last Sunday. What a delightful village Bugbrooke is! The old cottages look very striking, with their ochre-coloured stone and thatched roofs. We had a very pleasant walk around. It was so peaceful and seemed like a lovely place to live. Enclosing some photos of the old church and some of the houses/cottages, including the driveway of one habitation, which obviously belonged to an avid collector! We were thinking of having a BBQ this evening, but the clouds came over before then and it got cooler, so we went back to The Wharf for another delicious meal. A nice, tranquil day.
Wonders never cease, as they say. It didn’t rain at all today. We spent a very quiet, peaceful night at the mooring next to the blocks of flats at Cotton End, but following the advice of a local boater, we didn’t leave the boat unattended and therefore we didn’t have a visit to Northampton, as we had originally planned. Before we left, we talked to a young chap who was walking his dog. He was the only person we saw all the time we were there. It was quite windy this morning but at least it was dry -and it was still cold. Summertime?? I can’t believe I’m talking about the weather so much because it doesn’t usually bother me at all, but it really has been exceptional this year, with very cold temperatures after lovely hot days. We started to make our way back up the Arm at 1015 and, as yesterday, we did not meet another boat. (We were the only mad ones.) We did meet quite a few people on the towpath today ‘though, compared to the five yesterday. As we cruised along we could see this tower for a long time- quite a landmark. We also passed some beautiful horses, one of which had her cute little foal close by. Some of the lift bridges on this stretch are being renovated and put back in place (open) just for show. We came out of Top Lock at 1530 and went to Gayton Junction for water, then on to Bugbrooke moorings. Tied up at 1715 and later went to The Wharf and enjoyed an excellent meal. We hadn’t known before we went that they had such a good, varied menu. The pate and anti-pasto starters and Sea bass and Salmon main courses were beautifully presented and most delicious. Made a change from the meals on board the last two nights!
It seemed like summer yesterday, until later in the afternoon when the clouds became dark grey in colour and the temperature dropped again. We were up at seven this morning - the rain was quite heavy and looked as if it were in for the day. We decided to wait and see if there might be any change, but there wasn’t…. and we decided, madly, to go anyway. We left the mooring about quarter past twelve and were in Rothersthorpe Top Lock shortly afterwards. The photo was taken at that lock of the glossy TQ (and of a house being renovated. Will be nice in the sunshine.) I didn’t manage to get any other photos because of the rain and the numb fingers. We haven’t been down the Northampton Arm before and I’m sure it would have looked much better in the sunshine! Obviously we were slower than normal as we had to be very careful because of slippery ground/lock gates etc. Also there were lots of bundles of reeds near the locks, which the captain fished out. Having to unlock each side of the last few locks was a nuisance at a time when we were very wet and cold and could have done with a drink- even of the non-alcoholic type. We got down to Lock 17 about 7pm and then had to make a very tight turn around. Didn’t look to us as if there was enough room for a 65-footer! We were very glad to moor alongside the flats at that spot, (with rings provided), and get changed and have something to eat. As I said, we must be mad, but at least we are facing in the right direction to be off tomorrow.
What a beautiful morning! We left our quiet mooring spot and made our way to Buckby Locks. We got into the first lock with another boat at 0915 and we worked our way down together. There was quite a lot of traffic and often it worked well with the boats crossing over, so gates being left open, etc. Some of the lock gates were extremely difficult to open/close, one of them taking three adults to move it and a few of them taking two. However, the weather was gorgeous by then, so that helped! At the last lock there were two boats full of sea scouts, enjoying themselves greatly on a two-day trip. We said goodbye to Steve, Meg and dog Tasha and continued on to Weedon Bec, where we arrived at 1pm. I made lunch while the cap’n nipped down the 48 steps towards the village in search of his newspaper.(Fortunately there were some left in the One-Stop shop.) We cruised on then and although quiet at times, it was the same as usual: first, it’s always at the bridges that you meet a boat- or actually four, at some times today- coming the other way; secondly, that you can travel along without seeing another boat for ages, except at the narrow stretches of canal, then you meet one at exactly the same time as you are both passing a moored boat. I’m sure all boaters get used to that happening all the time. Gayton Junction was very busy and as we waited our turn for the water, another came along to wait as well. At the same time three boats came out from the Northampton Arm and another just went straight on past. Last time we were here it was very quiet. We moored further down the Arm, ready to take on the 17 locks tomorrow.
We were up at 7a.m. and were glad to see that there was no rain! However, there was still quite a strong wind, which was very cold. It was lovely to turn out of Wigrams Marina at 0920 into the peace and beauty of the canal once more. We cruised along to Braunston; it was rather busy there as it usually is, 'though probably very quiet compared to how it's going to be in two weeks' time, when the Vintage Boat Rally takes place! We shared five of the six locks, three of them with a small private day boat, with husband, wife and little boy on board. They had only bought the boat two weeks ago, so it was a new experience for them and they were managing fine. We moored for lunch not too far from the exit of the tunnel, in a lovely quiet spot and afterwards, hubby went to reconnoitre - hopefully to find the White Horse pub. Fortunately, he did - and we later had a lovely sunny evening's walk, about 15 minutes, from Bridge 6 towards Welton. This village was new to us and we enjoyed seeing all the lovely old houses and tidy gardens. We had a good meal at the White Horse, which is just past a pretty church. There is a very sad gravestone close to the roadside- photo enclosed. We met some residents walking along then and they told us that the story goes that the parents concerned had brought their family to the area for a picnic. Unfortunately, the poor boy got lost and the parents and rest of family went home without him. How sad.
We arrived back on TQ about 1.30 yesterday afternoon and it’s great to be on board again. Not so great is the weather, unfortunately, and that is why we decided to stay put at the marina while all the heavy rain and high winds get out of the way. It wasn’t easy getting all the luggage aboard, whilst holding the big Windbrella at the same time. However, apart from the brolly getting blown into the water, all went well, including the recapture of it.(Oh what a shame, I should have nipped out to take a photo!) Everything is unpacked and put away and we had dinner on board as we didn’t fancy putting up with the rain again. This morning someone came to see to the bow thruster, as it hadn’t been working since Tuesday. He discovered that it is,in fact, working now. Unfortunately I couldn't send the blog last night because of technical problems, so writing now when it is possible. As it's the Captain's birthday, we are going to brave the winds and rain and venture ashore.