Friday, 30 July 2010

Day Eight: An altogether more relaxed pace

Gayton Junction - Norton Junction

Grand Union Canal, GU Leicester Section

12 miles, 7 locks

6 hours

Today we just pootled along, stopping several times. We left Gayton Junction at 10 or so after a lie-in. Our first stop was just on a bit of towpath. I wanted to stop and write a few emails for work, so it seemd sensible to stay in on place and keep the internet connected. Lyra went for a short wander, having been trapped inside the boat for several days while we bombed up the Nene. On the subject of cat containment, we have rigged up a temporary net so that we can work locks without having to keep the back closed up all the time, since the controls are inside! So far it has had to be fortified several times with extra hooks and layers of net as she has found its weak points!

Railway, canal and motorway

We stopped again at Weedon, hoping to provision the boat, but could not find the shop which was promised in the Nicholsons guide. This proved to be a theme. Once through the Watford Gap, where M1, GU and East Coast Main Line all run in parallel, we began to ascend our first GU locks. They were hard going, but there were plenty of other boaters about to share the work, which was welcome. The Nicholsons Guide promised a farm shop with 'homemade pies' above Lock 9, but all that was left of what I'm sure must once have been a lovely place to provision was a sign on which could still be faintly read 'pies'. These small village shops must have been hard hit by the recession, which is a shame.

Norton Junction was our destination for the day, and so once we'd turned off the GU Main Line onto the Leicester branch, we moored up. The next locks are a staircase, which we didn't fancy attempting until tomorrow. Lyra was allowed out again, but not for long, as we could hear a tractor working up and down the field the other side of the hedge, and didn't want to take any chances.

Ex-Something Carnaby at the BW work boat station at Norton Junction

Having not been able to find anywhere to provision, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner at the New Inn at the top of the Buckby flight. We enjoyed filling meals and got chatting to some other boaters who gave us some useful hints for safe places to moor in Leicester. It started to bucket it down while we were at the pub, but we managed to make it home during a break in the clouds.

An intruiging rudder loop, on a boat moored at Norton.


  1. Hi James and Amy
    The heron on the top of the rudder indicates that the boat was built by Heron Boats and Nb Gypsy Rover also has the same rudder.

  2. Which side did you stop in Weedon? The bit of the village on the towpath side has things like a wedding shop, but nothing useful. But there are offside moorings by the church, and the part of the village that side certainly had a shop when we last went that way.

  3. ex-GUCCCo large Woolwich, numerically (but not alphabetically) three up from Chertsey.

  4. must have stopped on the wrong side in Weedon then. Ah well, we'll know for next time. The 'shop' sign in the guide is on the side we stopped at though!

  5. In case you need it on the way back: The Londis shop in Weedon is on the non-towpath side. There are steps down the bank from visitor moorings to the church. Through the churchyard and under the railway bridge turning right on the road. You may be accosted by a local chap asking you to buy him matches - we were told that the shop has barred him after he started using the matches set fire to things! Whilton Chandlers also has a fairly limited selection of food and drink.