Thursday, 28 June 2007

A trip to Stoke Bruerne

The perfect graphic ,made by Donna ,I have used it before ,but make no apologies for using it again .....

A few weeks ago you may remember Itold you ,I gave a talk to a group of residents about my experiances as a 'Silver Surfer ',whilst I was there Jackie my friend who is on the residents committee,told me they were to go on a trip ,to Stoke Bruern,in Northamptonshire(the county Iwas born in ) I said I had never been so they invited me to join them ,so last Tuesday of we went by coach,to Stoke Buerne.

Up and down the country are man made waterways ,canals,that were used to transport many cargos up and down the country ,coal ,grain ,many other things too ,at Stoke Bruerne is a museum ,and it is possible to ride on a barge through The Blisworth tunnel ,it takes forty minutes and is an experiance not to be missed

Stoke Bruerne is a village in Northamptonshire on the Grand Union Canal. Situated four miles east of Towcester,

Blisworth Tunnel is one of the longest in Britain. 3076 yards long and broad throughout - so that two narrowboats can pass - it is surpassed only by Standedge Tunnel (on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal) and Dudley Tunnel in the Black Country.

This made it the most troublesome part of the Grand Junction Canal's construction. When work began, in 1793, the building of a 3km tunnel was a major feat of engineering with no mechanical aids beyond the basic picks, shovels and wheelbarrows being available. Unfortunately, just three years into the project, the navvies hit quicksand. All work had to be abandoned and a new course begun.

The Grand Junction Canal canal was up and running by 1800, but for first five years all cargoes had to be laboriously 'transhipped' into carts for a horse-drawn journey over Blisworth Hill. It was only in 1805 that the tunnel opened and through transit by water became possible.

 

 

Stoke Bruerne
Northamptonshire

 

Grand Union Canal

Blisworth Tunnel is one of the longest in Britain. 3076 yards long and broad throughout - so that two narrowboats can pass - it is surpassed only by Standedge Tunnel (on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal) and Dudley Tunnel in the Black Country.

This made it the most troublesome part of the Grand Junction Canal's construction. When work began, in 1793, the building of a 3km tunnel was a major feat of engineering with no mechanical aids beyond the basic picks, shovels and wheelbarrows being available. Unfortunately, just three years into the project, the navvies hit quicksand. All work had to be abandoned and a new course begun.

The Grand Junction Canal canal was up and running by 1800, but for first five years all cargoes had to be laboriously 'transhipped' into carts for a horse-drawn journey over Blisworth Hill. It was only in 1805 that the tunnel opened and through transit by water became possible.

Transport artery

The opening of Blisworth Tunnel in March 1805 represented the final link in a chain of communications linking London with the industrial midlands and the north. The Grand Junction Canal quickly became one of the main transport arteries of Georgian England, carrying supplies for Nelson's ships and Wellington's army in the war against Napoleonic France.

Since then, the tunnel has given almost 200 years of service, aided by major rebuilding work in the 1980s. But one sorry tale from its construction has since come back to haunt today's boaters...

Ghostly goings-on

Just over a decade ago a couple set off on a narrowboat tour on the Grand Union Canal from a base north of Blisworth Tunnel. They were new to boating and had been through various safety checks and demonstrations on the use of their craft. They also had full details of the route ahead of them and were looking forward to the trip.

One of the highlights of their cruise was to be the journey through Blisworth Tunnel, at that time the longest open canal tunnel. As they would enter the tunnel soon after setting off, they were naturally both excited... and a little nervous.

There is no towpath, so in the days of horse-drawn freight boats, men and women would have had to 'leg' their narrowboats through it while the horse was led over the hill above. Alternatively, professional leggers could be paid to leg the boat through the tunnel - today, you can still see the leggers' hut adjacent to the Boat Inn at Stoke Bruerne, just south of the tunnel. The couple taking the boat out had no particular knowledge of the tunnel's history.

After setting off it was only a short time before they chugged into the darkness of the tunnel entrance. When they emerged some 40 minutes later on the south side at Stoke Bruerne, they visited the Canal Museum where they started talking to a member of the museum staff. They recall their conversation here:

"The chap said to me, 'That tunnel's a weird place. I didn't know which way to go.'

"A bit confused, I answered: 'Sorry, what do you mean?'

"The man replied: 'Well, for a split second I didn't know whether to go straight ahead or turn left where the lights are.'

There's certainly no left or right turn in that tunnel, it just goes straight through the hill. So, by question and answer I worked out exactly where they were in the tunnel when they saw the lights and the fork - and that's when I felt my spine tingle.

"Because the odd thing was... the man was absolutely right. There actually are two canal tunnels through Blisworth Hill."

From the man's description, the worker was able to work out where the couple had seen the phantom lights. It was exactly at the spot where the first attempt at a tunnel - whichcollapsed due to quicksand - would have intersected with the main canal tunnel.

Fourteen men died in the collapse of the original tunnel. They had been working in candlelight.

There are no lights in the tunnel,just the lights inside the barge ,and I saw there were also lights on top of the barge outside ,so we were just able to make out the brick work ,in the tunnel,and the silt in places were a build up of water had seeped down the walls ...................As you will imagine it was an extremely interesting day ,one which I just had to share with you  ,With lots of love ........                 

 

 

 



 

41 comments:

kirkbyj05 said...

How really interesting Jan.  I loved the photos too.  What a smashing day out you all had. I'd like to try a canal boat ride one day.   It really looks leisurely and another world altogether.  Thanks for this entry.  I really enjoyed it.   Jeanie  xx

ktkamanski said...

Why Hello there my friend! It's so nice to read an entry from you as they are always so refreshing! Thank you for sharing your trip and info. I fond it to be quite interesting ~ I would of loved to of gone on this one with you! Have a wonderful day full of smiles! Take care,
Katie
http://journals.aol.com/ktkamanski/AlwaysBelieve/

icklemisssexpot said...

When we think of and see all the amazing feats of engineering across the UK and the world it makes what is done now with all the mechanical help seem second rate really...Especially when it can still take just as long or longer to build something as it did in the past LOL...Sounds like a fab day out :o)   Caff xxxxx

brck753 said...

Very informative entry, love the pics.
Debbie
xxx

egre328 said...

Oh, I had shivers up my spine reading that!  Really enjoyed your entry and those amazing pictures.  You do get about don't you?  Eileenx

dklars said...

I love when you go on trips, because we learn so much history about the places you've traveled.  Thanks for sharing with us.  Great pics, too, I enjoyed them
~~Kath~~

bgilmore725 said...

Great pictures, Jan... I would have loved to go on a barge river tour like that. The ghostly story gave me shivers. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment today. Bea

madcobug said...

A very interesting trip. Wonder if the fish are safe to eat in that waterway? Seems like there would be a lot of gas and oil in the water. Thanks for sharing. Helen

lindapaterson177 said...

You always do interesting things, the pics were great.
luv bella xx

sneezy7125 said...

Great pictures, that looks like a good time.
LOL to the notice hanging in the room there, and this memorial... the John Brown of American history is not one to be honored, so I'm thinking there's another one that perhaps did something worthwhile?

Hope you enjoy your day.
Morgan
xxxx
http://journals.aol.com/Sneezy7125/RandomThoughts

pharmolo said...

Interesting story about the canals in England, thanks for sharing, Jan

cayasm said...

Hi jan just catching up with your journals I have missed many, however the wedding photos were lovely and the Bride looked radiant I love the cerise bridesmaids dresses, you looked so proud. You are becomming our resident sailor what the river trip on the hen night and your latetest trip to Stoke Bruerne, hope you had a lovey time.

Love
Yasmin

aniracj said...

We were supposed to go there a couple of weekends ago......they had an open weekend and we have a friend who has her own canal boat, but it was the start of the bad weather and we did not get there! We have been a few times before and love it there, the boats are so peaceful to go on. Have you been to Foxton Locks? That is an excellent day out as well but you need loads of energy to do the walk the length of the locks and back, mind you there is a pub on the walk!!!!

msecz said...

I certainly enjoyed all your pictures. wish I could have gone with you though. :)
Sandra

irisclyde said...

Sounds like a nice day out!
http://journals.aol.co.uk/irisclyde/LaDolceVita

lanurseprn said...

I really enjoyed your pictures! Those boats look different from any we have here. I especially enjoyed the ghost story! I was wondering if you had seen any mysterious "lights" in the tunnel LOL!
Thanks for sharing this.
Hugs..Pam
xoxoxox

ally123130585918 said...

Jan as always a lovely interesting entry to you journal ~ I would love to go on a trip on anyone of the barges ~ Loved Donna's grapics really did fit in well with your entry today ~ and a lovely picture of you ~ Ally x

mllevl said...

great reading...even if spooky!!!!! lol eve

astoriasand said...

Well I have realy enjoyed that Jan when I could at last get in to read it AOL Grrr.Got some catching up to do now Grrrr.
The pictures are super,and very interesting it was too.My Mother was born in Dudley,but travelled up to South Yorkshire to live when she was three yrs old,with my Grandad and Grandmother..The boats are brilliant I love them.I love th epic where you are coming out of the tunnel.Lovely graphic of Donna's and lovely picture of yourself once again.You look lovely as usual.I am so happy you got  a fine day for it,even if it wasn't so glorious sunshine.Thanx for sharing the pics.Take Care God Bless Kath
Astoriasand http://journals.aol.co.uk/astoriasand/MYSIMPLERHYMES

elainey2465 said...

Loved your entry Jan and the photos - Ive been on a barge like that once - its great fun - and Ive opened and closed locks!! Looks like you all had a great time. Love Laine xxx
http://journals.aol.co.uk/elainey2465/art-degree/

jckfrstross said...

great pictures:) looks like so much fun:)

Deb

oddb0dkins said...

Great stuff Jan. I've always fancied a holiday on a barge. It looks so laid back and relaxing.
B. x

seraphoflove9001 said...

I just loved this entry...and to see the pictures! :o)
Lisa

nightmaremom said...

Looks like a blast!!!  Thanks for sharing
hugs
d

rdautumnsage said...

Loved the pictures! I was captivated by the tunnel story! Of course I love ghost stories anyway! (Hugs) Indigo

sugarsweet056 said...

TY for sharing!!!
Sugar

hugsdoodlewacky said...

((((((((((((((((((HUGSTOYOU)))))))))))))))Lovly entry.I enjoyed the pics.Have a nice weekend.

emabecmar said...

TY for sharing your awesome photo's. Have a good evening.
Cindy

siennastarr said...

How interesting!  Always love learning new things, and it's even better when you have pictures to go along with it!  
Glad you had such a good time, Jan!  Thanks for sharing!

Hugs
jackie

tellsg said...

What a lovely day you had.  I enjoyed reading this.  Hugs, Terry x

nedmoh said...

Hi Jan,I don't know if its because I know you, but you look to young to be with those older people .You look to be having a good time ,lovely to see your photos  and it was interesting reading all about it ,must show it to Pete .
Have a nice weekend ......Love Jeanxx

sylviam4000 said...

Wish I had known you were going to Stoke Bruerne, it's just up the road from me, about 7 or 8 miles. Would have met up with you for a coffee. If you ever get this way again, let me know. Ron and I have spent many hours sitting by the canal at Stoke Bruerne, outside the pub on a hot day lol! (J2O for me - as I have to do the driving). Take care.
Love Sylvia xx

beckiepainton said...

You must of had a great time, I like the ghost bit best!Beckiexx

beckiepainton said...

You must of had a great time, I like the ghost bit best!Beckiexx

blpltt said...

I did enjoy that Jan; I feel a strong pull towards a narrowboat holiday.  Nice and peaceful, and a bit of exercise working the locks!
Bunny xx

lindachapmanuk said...

That was very interesting Jan, and the pics were great! I love the way they paint those barges...and I do enjoy a good ghost story too! ...but I have always found locks creepy! ...Linda xx

lindaggeorge said...

Canals and narrowboats, my favourite things. Love the ghost story.

Linda x.

wldconnie said...

Very interesting entry. I have always facied a barge holiday! Love Conniex

xxroxymamaxx said...

That is really cool Jan!  I love it.  thanks for sharing the great photos!  love, Shelly

lsfp1960 said...

Hi Jan, just getting around to reading some past alerts.  This was very interesting and I loved the pictures.  I just love it when you gals in England  (and I can't forget Guido, either) share bits of history and current times of your area.  It's like a travel log.   I may never get to England but I feel I know more than some who've been able to travel over there.    Linda in Washington state

cacklinrosie101 said...

40 minutes in a tunnel...lol...that would give some claustrophobia especially with the phantom lights.  The countryside is so pretty.  I love the passenger barges and the flowers on the top of the one.  Thanks for sharing this.  Love xx Chris