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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday, 27 September 2013

It's that dreaded tunnel again!

Blisworth tunnel!!!! This is the one tunnel that I dread going through. Those that have read this blog will remember my unease at traveling through this tunnel on my own. (see post) so I was not looking forward to the experience even though I knew Ian would be with me this time. Leaving our moorings rather rapidly this morning so we could share the last two locks with a Avelchurch hire boat, at the top lock they waved us out first. One thing most noticeable with the Stoke Bruerne moorings were the lack of boats! Usually trying to moor on this section is nie on impossible so, even though I moaned about C&RT making the long pound 48 hour ( which I still think is crazy), I can see that the new signs seem to be doing their job very well where it was needed most.

Empty moorings.
Although I had some trepidation of entering the tunnel one thing I was eager to find out was if the opening I had seen in the side of the wall was actually there. So with Ian at the helm and me at the front with camera, in we went. This time though I had no sign of anything untoward, no uneasy feelings or hairs standing up at the back of my head and started looking for the side opening that I was convinced would be there. Going toward Blisworth it would have been on the right hand side and not far from where the new brickwork started. Ian went fairly slowly and as we got nearer to the center I could hear water cascading from the side. Sure enough, and where I was convinced the hole was, an opening appeared roughly 4ft up from the water line and about 4ft in diameter. Water poured into the canal from this opening but try as I might I could see no light at the end. So I am still baffled as to what I saw when I was on my own. One of my comments on that post talked of a ghost that appears every now and then. Was this what I saw?? On the way back next week I'm going to try and stop by the opening and shine a torch in. Maybe then I will be able to put my fears to bed but this is still one tunnel I will never again do on my own again!

Once out of the tunnel we started to look for a mooring. We thought we would tackle the 17 locks on the Northampton arm tomorrow and now I'm back into fishing again I rather fancied making a day of it. I can reveal that I only managed to catch 6 fish. I bream, 2 roach and 3 perch. Most disappointing! Still......... Strictly Come Dancing starts tonight and am very excited about that!

Dog lookout perhaps.
Anf finally:-


Adam said...

There's due to be a very interesting article in the November issue of Canal Boat about the side shaft in Blisworth Tunnel. A certain Irene Jameison may even be quoted in it...!

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Gosh I cant wait now. Thanks for letting me know. Xxx

Jill, Matilda Rose said...

If you follow the footpath over the top from the Blisworth end there if a frightening amount of subsidence - blooming great holes surrounded by the orange chequered tape. Some girls on horses were galloping about and I begged them to stay away onto the other side. Freaks me out for different reasons to you - I've convinced myself it's all going to collapse! I was told it's only the original service access tunnels that are caving in - that doesn't make it a lot better for me!!!!

Graham said...


What a wonderful masthead photograph! How did you get the heron to pose for you?

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hello Graham,

The Heron was so tame it allowed you to walk within a couple of feet of it. Every morning it stood behind the boat so getting the picture was very easy. Thank you for liking the photo. Praise indeed from you.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Hi Jill,

Now I really have something else to worry about! And we are going through the tunnel again when we head back to Campbell Park next week. Maybe I'll borrow a hard hat and hope for the best.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam said...

Reading your post again, I'm not sure you had the right opening. When you go back heading south, here's what to look for:

The side shaft is in the brick section, not long after the modern concrete section ends. Going south, it's about two thirds of the way through.

Keep looking at the left hand wall. You'll see a big patch of orange mineral deposit on the wall. This is the at the bottom of the side shaft. The shaft is at about eye level when you're standing on the back of the boat. It goes off diagonally, and you'll be able to see the light at the end.

There's actually another one a few yards further north, but that one is completely dark inside.

Looking forward to seeing whether you spot it!

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