Vlog 142: The Ghost of Blisworth Tunnel

In this video I take my narrowboat on the Grand Union canal from near Gayton Junction to Stoke Bruerne, via Blisworth – and Blisworth tunnel – all 3,075 yards of it. Weirdly, as I went through, there was a bit of an unsettling ghostly apparition…

Start point: https://goo.gl/maps/K2KkfQSF47p
End point: https://goo.gl/maps/nJ9msf4nr5N2

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  1. Another explanation for the phantom light in the tunnel is that someone on the boat going in the same direction ahead of you had a flashlight on the stern and pointed it back down the tunnel for some unknown reason.

  2. As I work my way from VLOG 1 it is wonderful to get to Stoke Bruerne as we started our trip in July of 2019 here heading to Brentford and on to Kingston Upon Thames.
    We were on a hotel boat but I am not passive at all being a canal nut from Canada so I get all I can from the experience.
    A couple of things came to mind about the GUC from our trip.
    First of all hire boat companies seem to love to moor their boats abreast making the canal even narrower.
    Second, as you noted the off side brush could do with a good cutting back at many spots.
    Third, did you note that at bridges and often entering or leaving a lock the canal takes a sharp bend? Even exiting 15 at St. B you have to turn sharp right out of the lock to get to the next one?
    Finally, I love all these VLOGs David. Interesting and educational albeit at times I chuckle at some of the things you muck into.
    Keep them coming please.

  3. September 1861…Frightful accident in canal tunnel near Blisworth… two men suffocated in a tunnel on the Grand Union Canal (Birmingham Daily Post)

    “A barge called Wasp, fitted with a small screw propeller was on its journey from Birmingham to London having another boat in tow…. passing through at about 3mph, and stopped at a place called a “Stanks,” which is a number of piles driven in to afford a standing place for some workmen who were engaged in tunnel repair. They took on a man and proceeded on their way and met two other boats being worked by leggers and became entangled…. They were set free but the boat they were towing became unloosed and was left behind.

    The smoke from the engine became very dense and much affected the leggers… on the steam boat it suffocated two men, one of whom fell into the water, and was not found until some hours later…. arriving at the lock the awful catastrophe was revealed. The young carpenter was lying dead in the hold, and one man missing….

    (Its being so cheerful that keeps me going! All the best, Peter

  4. The bridge just south of Gayton Junction was a railway bridge – see https://maps.nls.uk/view/101575849. Incidentally, the old OS maps are one of my most favourite go-to sites for understanding remnants on or around the canals/

  5. As you were going through the tunnel I noticed a red glow on the left tunnel wall. I assumed this was a port navigation light, but I couldn’t see one on the boat you passed. What are the rules on the canal regarding navigation lights? Do you only need them if you go on rivers, or what?

    • Yes, you only need them for tidal rivers really but my boat happens to have them so I switch them on in the tunnels to help me see where the sides of the tunnel are.

  6. Very much enjoyed this one David; loved the little villages and the Herons as well. Thanks for sharing.

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