Thursday, 15 August 2013


We left for the bottom lock early doors, well early for us at the moment at just after seven. All the locks were against us but the sun was out, the wind low and it was looking like it was going to be a fine day again.
First Lock of The Day

Approaching Stoke Bruerne we passed all the boats that had passed us the evening before most of whom, no doubt, were soon to be off and head for the top lock and then the Blisworth tunnel. In the pound for the top lock us early morning travellers were causing a bit of a hold up. 

We had shared the penultimate lock with father and son team Simon and Robert on board a Wyvern hire boat. Dad Simon was steering and Robert doing a great job with the heavy lock gates. Once up into the top pound there were two more boats waiting to go up and one on their way down. 

The boat on its way down was another Wyvern, glad to see them having a good rental season. In with the little hire boat was an even smaller GRP cruiser, they were taking a time exiting the lock and we had to do a bit of shuffling around. The two narrowboat in front were still not going into the lock, that was because there were more plastic boats coming out, three altogether and all being hauled by rope. I think if I was the hire boat I would have let them go down the rest of the flight on their own.

As Blisworth was to be Simon and Roberts first tunnel we volunteered to go through first, it was still only about 8.15 so I wasn't expecting many, if any, other boats coming through. It was a fairly dry passage until about three quarters of the way through then we had a bit of a shower! Deb even had a go steering so I could take a couple of pics from the front. My photo session was cut short though as Deb headed for the tunnel wall. 

Atmospheric in Blizzy Tunnel

Yes Simon we could hear you singing

Simon and Robert heading back to port
Blisworth was getting ready for the festival at the weekend and all the moorings were either taken or reserved. We plodded past the moored boats and left our locking partners at Gayton junction where they winded and headed back to the tunnel and a couple of long days cruising to get back to Wyvern. At least our mooring at Gayton would make it easy for Deb's mum to get to us the next day, and the wide towpath means that I would be able to get on with a couple of boaty jobs that I was itching to do.  

We walked the mile or so back in to Blizzy for the festival late Saturday morning. Blisworth festival isn't really like any others I've been to, its like a hybrid between a good old canal show full of trade boats, and a village fate with a bit of car boot sale and country show thrown in for good measure. It sounds like its a bit of a mess but it works and it was brilliant, and busy.

Money for new rope

The trade boats looked like they were having a good trading day and there were a few marquee'd stalls canal side as well. Walking up through the village we saw pavement side bric a brac stalls and an excellent mini second hand market in the back of someones lovely garden. The church opposite had a campanology display in the churchyard, and the church itself was opened as a cafe! It was quite novel to be sitting in the pews with a slice of cake and a mug of tea.
Even though she had to stand on a box to reach she was really good, deffo had the rhythm. 

Deb a bit bemused by tea in the pews. 

Lots of Brasso there

The steam engine owner also had a car or two

Behind the church lies the beautiful Blisworth manor house that had opened its gardens to stalls, craft displays of fencing and wood turning and a small petting farm area.

Lots of nice houses

View across the village

One of the display sheep looked a bit warm, I think it was a black Leicester long wool that apparently was rarer than a panda, shame that the next stall along was selling sheepskin rugs. We treated ourselves to a rare breed scotch egg and back over the canal a pint in the mobile bar within the grounds of the Blisworth tunnel boat yard.

Rasta Ram

Turner at work
The band, the beer tent and the area where parents get kids to do embarrassing poses

The last area to look around was the show field at the top of the hill. There were more stalls and displays as well as a little camping area for the oldies.

Nice pair

Old Renault

These were actually cafe's - what a great idea
We sat in the warm afternoon sun watching the dog show. As I sat thinking about the festival I thought how it was all very 'Vicar of Dibley' the whole village made a great effort. Definitely one to come back to.

'Do we have a winner?'
'No, YES we have a winner!'

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