High House Wharf through Bridge 27
Stowe Hill Wharf, busy, this one.
Also scattered up and down the cut are several ex-working boats, they seem to gravitate to the Grand Union.
Edgware and Balham, local boats built for the grand Union Carrying Company in 1937 and 1936 respectively.
Not sure about these two
We were off today at soon after 9:00, with a busy day ahead. The first two and a half hours were spent negotiating the twists and turns of the canal between Nether Heyford and Brockhall, then the straighter but noisier section as the canal shares it’s route with the A5, West Coast Main Line and M1 up to Buckby. Then we had another couple of hours up the Buckby Locks and around the corner onto the Leicester Line.
Completed in the last decade of the 18th century, the Grand Junction Canal as it was then known is essentially a contour canal, only using locks where absolutely necessary. It swings around Stowe Hill in an extended U shape, while the later railway, built with more modern techniques, goes straight through.
One of Mr Branson’s trains emerges from Stowe Hill Tunnel
Had the Grand Junction been built at the latter end of the Canal Age, like the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal (Shropshire Union) it would probably have gone through the hill too!
A very peaceful scene approaching Bridge 18 at Muscott Mill…
…until you take the earplugs out!
In just 700 yards the railway, A5, canal and motorway squeeze through the gap between Dodford and Whilton Hills.
The ancient Britons were the first, establishing Watling Street (the current A5) from the channel port of Richborough to Wroxeter in the Welsh Marches. The Romans adopted much of the route before James Barnes and William Jessop undertook surveys for the canal and chose the same gap. Within 50 years the permanent way of the London to Birmingham railway was laid alongside the earlier routes, and finally the M1 motorway, linking London with Leeds, was opened in 1959.
Reflecting on life as a duck…
By the time we’d emptied the lock again another boat had hove into view, so we waited a few minutes for them to join us. I’d much rather share broad locks than do them solo. Far too much walking about if you’re on your own.
Mags waiting for the bottom lock (Lock 13, they’re numbered from Braunston) to empty
There was a note on the gate advising that Lock 12’s offside gate was inoperable.
Yep, pretty much!
Unusual cargo for Nick Wolfe’s Aldgate…
…an artificial horse!
We said our farewells to the two couples with whom we’d travelled for the last two hours at the top lock; they were stopping for lunch, we were pressing on around the corner to find a mooring on the Leicester Line.
Buckby Top Lock
Turn right onto the Leicester Line
Locks 7, miles 6½