Bear Crew. 1st September

Nethercote Bridge 101 to Daventry Road Bridgeish 19, Grand Union Canal

Short back and sides

A slower start today, the grey in the sky putting us off pushing off. We watched the gold silver final of Boccia in Tokyo over breakfast, catching a glimpse of Fran, Mick’s niece every now and then. Gold for David Smith! A farmer in the field opposite was trimming the hedges and as we passed we admired the sunflowers in a wide border of wild flowers, just about the only colour we got to see today.

I hopped off at Bridge 108 to walk to the junction. Crab apples are starting to fall from the trees, leaving areas of the towpath a touch treacherous in places. The blackberries around here seem to be a touch later in ripening than those on the South Oxford, there will be so many of them in a week or two.

Camp site

Just before Napton Junction I spotted a new set of steps leading through the hedge. This leads to Wigrams Camp Site, I was walking so as to have a nosy. The site was empty today, but I could see the service block and the camping field, not as big as I’d imagined, I wonder how many motorcaravans and tents they would accommodate?

Turning at Wigrams Turn

I walked round and checked down the Grand Union, no boat in sight so I gave Mick a thumbs up to make the turn.

Next to the camp site there is a holiday cottage for 2 and a B&B with several double rooms and a summer house. All very interesting! Further enquiries are needed.


I walked on down to Calcutt Locks, a couple of boats had just left the top one, so we pulled in. A boat had just been pulling away from a mooring so we waited to see whether they would join us, but they just came towards the lock and winded. We descended on our own as another boat was waiting to come up.

Calcutt Top Lock

The locks were quite busy, another pair coming up the second lock, one turning in to top up on diesel the other carried on upwards. By now there was another boat waiting to come down so we waited for them to catch us up with their teddy bear captain sat on the roof.

Bear Captain

The lady asked how long we’d been out, I said ‘since May and you?’ ‘Since Saturday’, they had been for a jaunt up to Dunchurch Pools and were now heading back to their mooring below the locks. She also asked if there was a winding hole above the Stockton Flight, they’d never been that way. Descending the two locks I almost got her full life history, I managed to keep my urge to open gates at bay despite them being ready for a good five minutes.

As they turned into Ventnor we waved towards NB Herbie and carried on. Passing all the old workboats around Tomlow Road Bridge, Gort looks like it’s had a nice new paint job.

Gort all smart

Not much further on we pulled up before Gibraltar Bridge, this would mean that if my delivery arrived with Lizzie today we’d be able to meet her at The Boat a few bridges on, but if not Tilly would have fields to play in for the afternoon.

A load of washing was hung out on the whirligig. I made some scale model actors for my model and took photographs to send to the Director.

A sneak peek

Mick climbed into the engine bay to tighten the stern gland and see why we seem to be getting quite a lot of water in the bilge at the moment. He discovered that the greaser (which you turn every day to help keep the stern gland water tight) hadn’t been working. The new bits he’d added and old pipe weren’t working so well. So he rejigged everything and with a different combination of bits he got it working again. This should now help stop so much water from coming in as the prop rotates.

So shiny they don’t look real

This evening we’ve watched a second programme regarding 9/11. Yesterdays programme had been about several survivors and todays was the day of President Bush. Both programmes had us transfixed to the TV and were very moving. It feels like only yesterday that I was in the paint shop at the SJT chatting to Mick’s sister Kath when Stephen Wood came in and told us that the twin towers had collapsed.

3 locks, 4.88 miles, 1 right, 1 gold medal, 1 bear, 55.5 possible venue, 1 stern gland greased, 9 model people, 30 photos, 1 very slow internet connection, 5.25 hours shore leave, 2 moving transfixing programmes.