Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday on the Grand Union

Waking to a dull Tuesday, we realised that the day's priority had to be the finding of an Elsan disposal point. On Monday we had found that the Nicholson Canal Guide was giving us wrong information, and places where the book said we would find sanitation points just didn't have them. Added to that, it's possible we misread the map and passed places where such points are to be found. Doh!

We had an additional dilemma, too, in that we had been travelling rather slower than we had anticipated, and we were now in two minds about where we should turn around and start to head back to the marina. We would very much have liked to carry on down to Stoke Bruerne and have a pub lunch there, moor overnight and start the return today, Wednesday. In fact, if we found no Elsan point before then, we would have to go there anyway!
Stoke Bruerne
Blisworth Tunnel
But this would entail a fifty minute ride through the Blisworth Tunnel, and, having done that, we couldn't guarantee to find a mooring above the flight of seven locks which follows - after which, we would have to travel for a further hour or so before the next winding hole at which we could turn. So we had to abandon that idea and hope and pray that Gayton Junction would have the essential Elsan point.
It did!

We winded (turned around) at the junction, and cruised north in leisurely fashion, mooring for the night at a lovely spot just below Stowe Hill Wharf. The weather was good, although the evening was noticeably chillier than usual, and this morning is bright, sunny and hot already.

On our way here yesterday, we were a little puzzled by the sudden appearance of a film of some deposit over the canal. It didn't smell bad, and the water birds didn't seem to be bothered by it.
Looking forwards at the scummy water...

...and looking back
Then we saw up ahead clouds of dust, and guessed what might be the culprit. And we were right...

It's amazing to me that one combined harvester can create that much dust, that it would cover the entire surface of the canal for several hundred yards - who knows how much eventually, with the water moving slowly south as it does. But I can't imagine it would do any harm. It may well provide food for some water creatures, and will certainly sink eventually.

Shortly after that phenomenon, just north of the village of Nether Heyford, I caught sight of an unusual gathering of a dozen or so people, with cars and caravans, high on a sloping field to the west. Using binoculars, I saw what suggested was an archaeological dig in progress, and looked it up on the web later that evening. And here's what I discovered.


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