From Coast to Canal with Iona

Trip 3: The Paddocks , Stockton, Nth Hants.

Our second trip was to the Norfolk Coast and keeping to a water theme Trip 3 sees us headed to Stockton, Northants, next to the Grand Union Canal.

We had an uneventful trip down to Stockton until we were in Rugby and we got held up . It turned out to be a traveller or gypsy funeral, complete with horse drawn hurst and the congregation following on foot. It was quite a sight in many ways.

At the campsite which is a small holding, we found the only empty hardstanding pitch and made ourselves at home. There are two other Motorhomes here, both appear to be semi permanent. The owners were helpful because the site owner was not about when we arrived.

There is a new toilet and shower building that is immaculate, we have electric hookup and we are getting free BT Wi-Fi from somewhere and all for £12 per night.

The campsite is next to the Grand Union Canal so once we were settled in we went for a walk. We left the site and crossed over the canal as a boat came under the bridge.

The canal from bridge 20

Our short walk to get our bearings extended to be a 2 hour walk along the canal to Calcut locks. A total return walk of 4 miles.

At the top lock we got talking to a man from a boat. He was on a training refresher course with a friend. It was interesting to hear the ‘Captain’ explain certain points.

The boat from the training centre

One of the men recognised my Fulham FC beanie hat, he was a Crystal Palace fan/ season ticket holder. What a small world it is in Warwickshire miles from London. I shut the lock gate for them.

Helping to shut a lock gate

We passed two marinas, one had a superb display of daffodils at the entrance. Then along the canal were some very nice boats moored.

Another photo of the Marina

The boats moored along the canal were very varied from short narrow boats to a large barge.

Tonight for our meal we had a Gordon Ramsey style shepherds pie by Sue. Full.

Day 2:

A dull morning with rain forecast this afternoon. Today we are walking the canal again but in the opposite direction.

We started at the bridge and walked towards Stockton locks. We passed Nelson’s Marina and boating school where you can learn boating skills, mechanics, first aid or even get your Boat masters certificate.

The first bridge we came too was next to the Boat Inn, but it was still early so we walked on, passing many boats moored along the canal. We came to Stockton Locks, here there was an old building that looked like a stable.

There were also two cottages possibly for lock keepers but that would be a guess. When we got back to the campsite I looked on Google earth and found the cottages and there was no roadway to the cottages visible so they probably were lock keepers’ cottages.

Looking down the flight of Stockton locks

The flight of locks contains 8 locks. All of the lock gates had plaques listing when they were repaired or replaced. The first ones were in 2000 with the last set being dated 2002.

We continued past the locks a little way to a boat yard called Kaye’s. Here they also hire boats out. But we were not tempted. We turned around and headed back to the Blue Ilias Inn. This pub also has a campsite so we crossed the canal and went to have a look. The campsite is not open until April but we could see what it was like without it full of vans.

The Blue Lias pub

There was a road next to the pub leading to Stockton Reservoir so we went to have a look at that.

It was time to head back up the flight of locks to The Boat Inn.

This time we went in for a drink. Sue went for lemonade and I went for a pint of beer called Venture that they brew on the premises. It is the sort of pub that gives a homely feel and it is full of pub trinkets, adverts and bottles from all eras.

Unfortunately they only do food in the restaurant and we did not want a sit down meal. There were no bar snacks on offer so we carried on our walk back to our campsite.

The weather is still fairly mild although it started to spit with rain at around 15.30. Tonight we have a Curry for supper, but I forgot to take a photo.

Day 3:

It started to snow this morning at 08.00am but it did not last long and it had melted before I thought about taking a picture. The wind is stronger today and we have blue sky one side of Iona and dark grey sky on the other side.

Our neighbour packed up ready to leave but a bracket holding his silencer broke. He eventually got it mended just before a snow storm hit us. The wind is blowing the snow horizontally, once one lot melts another snow shower blows in.

We never left the van today because of all the wind and snow showers. We began to feel guilty as the day went on, but it was too cold to go anywhere.

Home tomorrow via the Autogas stockist for a fill up before our next trip, which will be wild camping without electric in the Peak District. Hopefully the snow will not return while we are away.

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