The next stage of the canal boat "Princess" was to the Blisworth Tunnel and the village of Blisworth. The tunnel was completed and opened in 1805 after a disaster during the building of the tunnel when 14 navvies were said to have died in a rock fall. It is said that the candles from the navvies can still be seen in the tunnel haunting the waterways.
The tunnel is 3.076 yards long ( almost two miles) and is dark, cold and damp. Mention in the book is made of "legging it", the principle of two men lying on two planks held out from the boat and by the use of the legs, walking the boat through the tunnel. The horses were walked over the hill to the other entrance. Recent times have seen the legend of a new ghost. That of Sister Mary Ward, a nurse who was known locally as The Florence Nightingale of the canals. Men get 'pinched' near the entrance and it is said that she was always 'pinching' the males. Hence the reference to Sister Mary..
At the end of the tunnel is the small friendly village of Blisworth. Only one pub is located in the village itself. The Royal Oak, with it's white facade and thatched roof it blends into the village style. The pub serves six traditional ales along with the other beers. The food is good and the atmosphere pleasant. A camping site is close by.
The only other hotel The Walnut Tree Hotel is situated about half a mile away from the The Royal Oak on Station Road and is famous for the music evenings. It has individually styled guest rooms which are very popular. Part of the hotel retains it's old charm with bar games. It now produces it's own news letter giving details of the forthcoming musical events. The events are usually free but you need to book a table well in advance, or so I am told.
Both of the hotels are mentioned in the book 'A Time for Living' and if you are ever in the area well worth a visit. I understand that The Royal Oak is now on facebook
Next week we will continue the journey to Warwick.
Remember to make a comment if you like. Special thanks to Jill of Sydney, Australia who made one last week in the "Narrowboat" article and for the five star review she gave of the book.
If you have a moment to spare, run along my pages to SA (Struggling Authors) books and read about another SA.