Tuesday, June 30, 2009


It might be something to do with living “up north”, but my brian brain starts to seize up at temperatures above 70°.
I’m not using it a lot anyway, but when I do need it I like it to work.
So we decided to have an early start and finish today, to avoid the torrid temperatures in the afternoon.

Sunset at Cosgrove, 21:15 0n Sunday.

It was still quite warm when we pulled out, 5 minutes up to Cosgrove lock, then a visit to the services before cruising the 5 lock-free miles to Stoke Bruerne.

At the top of the lock another branch leaves the main line, this one heading to Buckingham. At least it did, it now ends somewhat ignominiously after a couple of hundred yards in a pipe where Bridge 1 used to stand.

The Buckingham Arm

End of the line.

The first few yards are now used for mooring, the rest of the route is dry.

Dry Canal Bed
The canal ran 10½ miles to Buckingham, and was finished in 1801. As canals go it didn’t do too badly, still carrying cargoes, albeit haphazardly, into the 30’s. It was officially abandoned in 1964.

The old towpath can be walked from Cosgrove to the A5, from this point on the canal bed is in private hands.

The A5 cuts the navigation off after about a mile. Just about where those repair patches are... I bet it's fighting back.
There is active preservation society, website here.

Back on the main line, and the canal leaves Cosgrove under the Gothic Solomon’s Bridge.
Maybe not the best choice of construction material…..

Yet another new marina is being constructed, this one near Thrupp Wharf.
I think the opening date is a little optimistic, it’s little more than a hole in the ground at the moment.

Yardley Wharf, near the village of Yardley Gobion (Yardley Goblin, according to Mags), is the home of Baxter’s Boat Fitting Services, and someone with a sense of humour.

Approaching Yardley Wharf

Baxter’s Dry Dock.
The canal runs through open country, not approaching any of the villages (they’re built on hills, probably for historical defensive reasons).

Grafton Regis on it’s rise.
We arrived at the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight just before noon. We pulled in, disappointing the boat that had followed us from Cosgrove. “ Are you not going up the flight, then?” “No” said I, “I’ve had enough for today” They were hoping to be able to share the locks.

Moored at Stoke Bruerne bottom lock.
It was already pretty hot by this time. Time to find some shade…
This hot dry weather is all very well, but it’s causing problems for BW. The summit levels of the Rochdale, Huddersfield Narrow and Leeds and Liverpool canals all have passage restrictions in place. Roll on winter.

Locks 1, miles 5½

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