Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Monday 26 March 2012

Blisworth to Marsworth

Blisworth Tunnel, north portal

Our journey last week brought us from Blisworth to Marsworth.  The tunnel at Blisworth is one of the longest on the waterways and in the 1980's the middle third was relined with large concrete rings like a jigsaw.  This system was also used for the channel tunnel.  We visited during the process and saw the magnificent tunnelling machine in action. The tunnel had been closed for some time because the brickwork was crumbling.
 The Grand Union canal down into London was built as a wide canal with wide locks and space for the locks to be paired with a single lock alongside. In most cases this never happened. 

Through Cosgrove,  with the tall poplars lining the way.

Fenny Stratford, has a lock with only a about a foot drop in height and a swingbridge across.

There are many double arched bridges, in readyness for the extra lock to be put in.

The Soulbury 3 locks, with the popular pub alongside,
and new bottom lock gates.
We followed these 3 BW working boats for a while, making slow progress until they pulled over and tied up.

At this lock you can see where a narrow lock was alongside the double.

More disused side ponds.

We hope to make our way up the locks at Marsworth and over the Tring summit in a few days. Hoping the water levels are keeping up alright.

Blisworth - Marsworth
33 miles, 25 locks, 1 tunnel, 2 bridges


  1. I do love to see a line of poplars along the banks of a waterway.

    It's interesting to see the preparations for the extra side locks which were never added. I assume they failed to get the necessary funding? Or was it all too late and the advent of the railways squashed the project?

    1. A bit of both I suspect. The Grand Union was upgraded as late as the 1930's to try to improve the situation for working boats, but there was still less traffic than there had been.