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Friday, 9 September 2016

Noodling to Northampton.

We left a little early this morning as we are meeting some friends at about 1200 up the Northampton Arm. It didn't take us long to get to Gayton Junction.

The Junction House was bathed in sunlight as we turned in and immediately on the water point. There were some leaflets in the little box provided by the IWA whose local branch have adopted the Arm.

This engaging mural is on the side of the Services and was placed to commemorate 200 years following the  opening of the Northampton Arm on 1st May 1815. It replaced a plate way that was the recycled tracks and rolling stock of that used between Stoke Bruerne and Blisworth and was not needed following the opening of the tunnel.

This is the first bridge on the arm but is numbered No.2 I am assuming that there was a swing or lift bridge for the boat yard.

You get quite a nice panoramic view from the first lock. There is still a lock keepers hut and the lock keepers house at the lock too.

After a couple of locks you get a view done the next few before the motorway. The pounds are just short enough to walk ahead to set the lock and back again. Fortunately two of us could do the running about whilst Chris moved the boat.

The fields by the canal are planted with Miscanthus, better known as elephant grass. It is a funny old world where we grow crops to burn. However I think that elephant grass makes more sense than using maize for this purpose as it is an annual crop that doesn't need replanting every year, It takes up very few minerals doesn't deplete the soil quickly. Once established it doesn't need pesticides so needs few chemical inputs for that. Apparently it is good for game and biodiversity!

There are several lift bridges on the section with the locks but if I remember there is only one that you have to open and close afterwards.

The locks down to the motorway 'tunnel' are quite scenic and there are several sitting areas. There are the normal dog walkers around but now the kids are at school it is pretty quiet otherwise.

Before the motorway was run through I expect there was a great view across from the top of the locks right to Northampton but the feeder road bridges and motorway cause a barrier but fortunately they didn't cause a problem to the canal. 

Once through the motorway the main landmark is the Express Lifts tower. It was completed in 1982 and was opened by the Queen. It is 417' tall. Since 1997 it is a Grade II. It was no longer required by Express lifts after being taken over by Otis in 1997. It was reopened as the National Lift Tower in 2009 and the 6 lift shafts of varying heights and speeds are available for testing. Testing of anything requiring can be carried out here too.

 The canal feels quite shallow and there are very few places to moor up on the bank on the canal right from the Junction with the reeds.
We stopped at Lock 14 as our friends were to meet us there. We arrived at 1200 and had time for our lunch before they found us. It was good to see them and both looking so well after a short holiday. After they had left full of tea and cake it was about 90 minutes to the end of the canal where moored up.


If Carlsberg did power stations it would look like this. It is the Carlsberg Brewery opposite the last lock before setting down on the Nene (pronounced Nen apparently).


This seat is just by the turning basin at the end of the canal. We will have to come this way again and spend a good period in the middle levels some time. Not next year though as it is Hull City of Culture!

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