Blisworth Tunnel and Stoke Bruerne

We left off earlier today in hopes of getting a bit farther along the way home as this is the last day we have to travel until next weekend. We already know that we will not make it to our marina this week as we lost a day to a repair part getting lost in the post. We have only been managing about 5 miles a day and we’re mentally preparing to stop for the week before Blisworth tunnel; however, the lack of locks at the beginning means we have gotten farther than we expected and at about 10:30 am are at Blisworth and ready for the tunnel.

Blisworth Tunnel is 3076 yards long (so about a mile and a half). It was cut by hand in the 18th century and was completed and opened in 1800. It is just barely wide enough for two boats to pass and this is likely to be a game of bumper boats. Once we get past the tunnel we will be in the village of Stoke Bruerne where we can drop off our rubbish at a refuse point. They have water there as well but thankfully we do now have water already.

Go into the tunnel and realise that our headlight has gone. Turning around was not an option so we are headed through a mile and a half of pitch blackness with just our inside lights and a couple flashlights. Our driver is directionally challenged and we are following a day boater and hoping for the best. This boating thing is turning out to be much more stressful than I expected.

Following on from the tunnel is the Stoke Bruerne flight of 7 locks. One of these locks was closed for repairs recently but reopened on the 10th on November so fingers crossed the flight is in tip top shape.

The flight was not in tip top shape. We were not in tip top shape. That was a battle and I was struggling with some lock rage. Oh my god I think that locks will be the end of our marriage.

The locks are at slight angles requiring you to kind of aim at the wrong side of the canal to line it up right. I took several locks to figure out why it all was going wrong. Another lock and Alan got deep into conversation with on lookers and my rope to away from me. Another onlooker had to catch it and give it back. Then another lock was failing to completely empty and it took ages for Alan to realise he left something open on the top gates so water was coming in while we were letting it out. Then there was the lock that was only half working (at least half was) so it drained out at a snails pace. With all that happening we did manage to finish the flight by 2:30pm and will cruise a bit longer and find a mooring for the week.

Yup, looks like 5 days in the Thrupp area. Alan will get a taxi (fingers crossed) and go back to Braunston to get our car and bring it down to as near the boat as we can manage. Alan has to get back to work and I need to get more of our stuff and do some shopping with K.

Today’s cruising was eventful but we managed more progress than we could have even hoped for when we left this morning. Oh and the headlamp on the boat turned on just after we finished the tunnel. Guess we need an electrician to have a look at the lighting situation here as it seems to be a bit finicky.

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