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GUC Weedon – Blisworth

Sunday 9th September 2007: A bright and sunny morning so nice for plodding along on a narrowboat. Soon after starting off we met an oncoming boat at a bridge hole, something that many skippers seem to dread. I had slowed down using blasts of reverse expecting the boat to continue through, but instead he rather kindly reversed back and to one side (one benefit of having a smaller boat I guess) to let me pass. I thanked him and went on my way. This part of the canal winds it way round the hills, and although it seemed fairly quiet I met several oncoming boats over a couple of miles.

My engine, a BMC, has been recently overhauled and runs brilliantly so I only need nudge it out of tick over and I’m doing 3mph – according to my Tom Tom sat nav. I soon caught up to a boat in front who’s just set off, and although I was happy to follow they pulled over and beckoned me past – very nice of them. I guess at this speed its easy to see the camera at the front, or maybe they don’t like anyone following them? I do know that quite a few people don’t, anxious of possibly slowing the boat behind down. They did mention this as I passed, but I said I wasn’t in a hurry – I was just ‘going out and back again’ rather than a ring or other time sensitive cruise. Its nice to be able to chat whilst overtaking. There are some people, usually newish hirers (though I really shouldn’t castigate) whose aim is to see how far they can go and so will always be in a rush, most people thankfully just like to plod. If I catch up to a boat I try not to get too close, after all it may unnerve them, but how far back I stay depends on their speed. If they are doing normal cruising speed I’m happy to stay a distance away, but if I am almost failing to keep behind them at tick over I may go slightly closer in the hope they’ll decide to stop and let me pass (unilaterally deciding to overtake is too slow a procedure). Mind you the distance I stay behind a cruising boat is also dependent on the canal layout ahead. If we are approaching a wide lock I’ll stay a hundred feet or so in the hope of lock sharing, but if its a narrow lock I’ll pull well back slowing down further since I’d only have to wait!

The journey is once again available as a time lapse video.For this one I added something new, namely a map of the overall route taken on the day, which may help casual visitors.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1iMN6WLpGo[/youtube]

Next up Blisworth Tunnel …. (I’ll continue this tomorrow)

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