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On to Cosgrove

We ended up at Cosgrove on what has been one of the finest days of the year so far. The day started when we awoke on our mooring just outside Whilton marina. It was quite early but we were in no hurry so it was gone eight o’clock when we ventured outside after a tea, a coffee and a shower each. We were surprised to see that every boat in front of us had gone, including the Cheeseboat. It was almost twenty to nine before we untied and headed south on day two of our journey.

We quickly shrugged off the noisy motorway but the railway stayed with us for a long way as we enjoyed our morning cruise along the long pound between Whilton and Stoke Bruerne. We encountered a couple of hire boats trying to wind near Bugbrooke but unfortunately the first to turn had reversed into the hole, forcing the crew to pole the bow around. We advised them on the correct technique before passing them, leaving the other boat to do the job properly.

The temperature rose steadily as the morning went on and by the time we reached Gayton junction where the canal splits and carves a route down to Northampton and the river Nene, the day had become almost Mediterranean in its nature. By the time we reached Blisworth tunnel, we were baking but as we approached the entrance the cool air reached out of its mouth and engulfed us. We met a boat almost immediately and the crew, who were already soaked, advised us to get our wet gear on. We followed their advice and then made our way through this, the third longest navigable tunnel on the system. We made good time through the tunnel, meeting only two other craft along the way. We emerged forty minutes later into the sunshine and found a mooring quite close to the centre of the village. Stoke Bruerne is an unusual canal village in that the buildings face the water and it also houses a part of the national canal museum.


We ate lunch on the back deck before we ventured along the towpath towards the lock. We passed a small gazebo where a man tried to interest us in joining the Canal and River Trust, we declined having just paid £800 for our annual licence which we think is a big enough contribution. The whole area was really busy with people, hardly surprising given that it was a hot and sunny Saturday in the middle of August. We made our way back to the boat and then headed for the top lock of the Stoke flight. We had the assistance of a volunteer lock keeper which partially offset the the annoyance of the crowds of gongoozlers hanging around and crossing the gates. The second lock wasn’t so busy and by the third, the crowds had gone. In reality it was probably too hot to be doing locks but most were in our favour and we did meet a couple of boats coming up. We had the assistance of another lock keeper for the last two locks before we pulled in and did our chores at half past three.

It was almost four o’clock when we re-started our journey in the sunshine and we just plodded on enjoying the sun bathed countryside. A couple of hours later we reached the village of Cosgrove where we quickly found a place on the visitor moorings. After we had sorted ourselves out we took a walk through the horse tunnel which passes under the canal and made our way to the local pub where we had a couple of drinks. The local vicar sat at the next table enjoying a beer and a smoke with a friend. We then returned to Phoenix III where we sat on the deck and relaxed for a while before turning in for the night.