Otter Off The Port Bow! 7th January

Houdini’s Field to Morton’s Bridge 56
Alarm set, best intentions to get going. Failed again, the Saturday newspaper kept us busy and delayed our start today. We eventually got going at 10.44, better than yesterday, but we still could do better.
Several boats passed us as we had breakfast and by the time we pushed off we were on our own. Hopefully we’ll be back here in the summer and hope to meet up with NB Panda for an evening, so maybe Tilly will get to play in the field before it is harvested.
P1450313smWe’d wrapped up warm and hoped to be moored up before the wind grew. The cruise was a very grey one again. Only a couple of days ago an Instagram friend had posted a photo of blue skies and green fields at bridge 36. My version is nowhere near as appealing today.
P1450328smAt the junction with the Welford Branch there were no boats moored. If we’d been here with the sun I’d have been tempted to get the port side gunnel painted, but today this just wasn’t appealing so we carried on.
P1450334smOleanna turned to the left and pootled along. Just up ahead on the towpath was a long bodied creature. As we realised it was an otter Mick put the engine into neutral and the otter slid into the cut. We could just make out where it was heading to on the other side. It must have surfaced and then as we were still coming it dived again. Even though my camera was clicking away constantly I didn’t manage to get one photo of it, just the ripples it left in the canal. It’s appearance had brightened up the grey day for us.
P1450345smP1450347smNorth Kilworth Marina has more boats moored there now than the last time we’d passed. The first boat you cruise past is a widebeam, tucked away in a corner. They will have been put in the water somewhere on this pound as they are far too wide for the locks at both ends of the Summit. They will have 20.5 miles that they can cruise, however they will need to book passage through Crick and Husband Bosworth Tunnels, maybe that doesn’ bother them.
NB Paddington Bear was at home at North Kilworth Wharf. Several pontoons are now empty here and in dire need of some work, maybe it’s not worth it with the new marina across the way.
P1450239smNot far to the tunnel. Oleanna was put into tunnel mode and Tilly was warned it would be going dark. On Sunday she’d taken a big fancy to one of my jumpers so I got that out of the cupboard and hoped she’d get carried away with it and not notice that the outside had gone dark. No obvious shouting as we made our way through the tunnel, but she did come running to the back doors when I slid the hatch open.
We’d been wanting to try to reach the top of Foxton by the end of the day so it was lunch on the go. Over the last two days we’ve seen a lot of off side vegetation has been cut back, it’s been quite impressive. But as soon as we came through the tunnel it was obvious where they had stopped!
P1450373smAs we passed under the gravitationally challenged trees we held our breath and stayed quiet, not wanting to distract them from staying rooted on the off side. Opportunities came into view to moor, it was now nearly 3pm. With an hour of daylight and cat play time left we decided to call it a day and pulled in. Not quite as far as we’d wanted to get today, but not that far off.
P1450385smUp ahead of us was NB Dane. When we’d last been at Houdini’s Field it was moored in front of us. At some point during the summer it had taken on water and slipped quite deeply into the water. She’s been pumped out now, does her engine still work or has she had to be towed. However in the last 20 weeks she’s only moved 11.5 miles! That does mean in a year she should manage almost 30 miles to keep C&RT happy.
P1450382sm
DSCF7114sm0 locks, 11.57 miles, 1 straight on, 1 tunnel, 0 mysterons, 1 late start, 1 otter,  1 soggy pair of pants, 1 hour! 1 measly hour! 6 am start for them tomorrow.

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