Ignoring the Blisworth Tunnel Ghost!

This morning we left our mooring of 3 days, where we’ve been nestled against the wind, sleet, snow, rain, and glorious sunshine!

From daybreak, the day’s weather has been beautiful.

After Marmite and toast for breakfast, we made our way to the services at Gayton Junction.

Since the water gauge broke, it’s been difficult to fathom how much water’s in the ‘tank’. We thought we were very low on water as Cyan rocked whenever one of us moved. Walking up and down the boat with the gait of someone who’s had a few drinks; we now know is a strong ‘signal’ we need to top up with water fast!

Despite the sunshine, there’s lots of evidence it’s been a cold night!

John saw a plaque on the towpath when he walked Rusty, and he wanted to take a picture of it.

The plaque commemorates ‘Thomas B Faulkner’, (born 1883 passed way 1984…….101 years young!) who worked on Banbury Lane area of the Grand Union Canal for 48 years. He started work on the Grand Union at the age of 20 until he was 68 years old. Did he fight in WW1? He must have seen the ‘posh’ ladies that worked the barges during WW2 – wonder what he thought of them? He also must have seen the ‘demise’ of the canals from an important artery for moving goods around. So many questions – wouldn’t it be wonderful to chat with him over a drink. Just that little plaque of his has brought history to life. “Thomas; we doff our caps to you Sir!”

John jumped off Cyan to take the picture on a bend, in windy weather, near a bridge, and leaving me to take ‘battle’ with her.

With rubbish dumped, Elsan service done, and water tank topped up, we set off for the Blisworth Tunnel.

We passed two old ‘work horses’, Bordesley and Greenock – Greenock is nearest to the camera.

Here’s an old picture of Greenock, courtesy of this website.

Ever wondered what you’d get if you ‘mated’ a old British Waterway’s work boat with a container?

It wasn’t long till we were passing Blisworth Marina. Can’t find out what this huge, old, building was. Was it a mill, a warehouse, factory? Whatever it was, it is now a block of lovely apartments.

(Editted to say, thanks to ‘Mike’ sending us this link, we now know it was a mill, warehouse, spice importer, etc.)

Just love old nooks and crannies. (Bottom of the apartments).

Entrance to the Blisworth Tunnel. At 3,076 yards (2,813m) long it is the third-longest navigable canal tunnel on the UK canal network after Standedge Tunnel and Dudley Tunnel (and the ninth-longest canal tunnel in the world). At its deepest point it is 143 feet (43m) below ground level. We’ve done Standedge, but not Dudley (yet!).

Work began on the tunnel in 1793, but sadly 3 years into the work the tunnel collapsed killing 14 navvies. I’ve not read too much about the tunnel due to the constant mention of the Blisworth Ghost or Ghosts. When you’ve an imagination like mine, it doesn’t do to ‘feed’ it! 😉

It was a relief to leave the tunnel, leaving behind the ghosts (of the killed navvies) who reputedly light up a ghostly tunnel with candles, enticing you to steer your boat into their tunnel!

Just outside of the tunnel there’s a pre-cast concrete ring on display. Major rebuilding of the tunnel was undertaken in the 1980s, with sections lined with these pre-cast concrete rings. It was also used to test out the materials that were later used on the Channel Tunnel.

Busy CRT men at work, cutting back the vegetation at an over-grown winding hole. We were to meet these men later.               

Eventually we moored at Stoke Bruerne, but we weren’t moored long when there was a tap on the side of Cyan. It was the workmen asking if we’d move along as they needed that spot to unload the vegetation from their work boat (there were no signs or notices telling us not to moor at this spot which was within the ‘mooring arrows’). Trouble was there wasn’t anywhere for us to move to, except on the disabled mooring, or the ‘special’ mooring by the historic boat and the tunnel trip boat outside the museum. The latter mooring is for ‘authorised’ boats.

We tried to be obliging, and it worked! Christina the CRT employee tasked with looking after this area gave us authority to moor on the ‘special’ mooring for a couple of days (doubt we’ll be moving tomorrow due to bad weather). Christina was very nice, though she did enlighten us to how rude a lot of boaters were/are to her.

Seeing that the weather was nice and calm, John fixed the bow button back on after I’d knocked it off entering Braunston lock. While he was in the middle of fixing it, one of the CRT men brought us a sack of kindling for our stove! Just goes to show how a bit of ‘give and take’ can be so successful.

Hopefully while we’re here, Mr Tesco will be able to bring us goodies to restock our cupboards.

Today we’ve cruised almost 6 miles, and through one enormous tunnel!

2 thoughts on “Ignoring the Blisworth Tunnel Ghost!

    • Brilliant, thank you Mike. So the building has served many uses. Wondering if the salt was brought down by canal from Northwich? I’m sure we passed salt mines when we were that way.

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