The late summer continued, but our three week trip was coming to an end. There was a lovely sunrise this morning, and we were up and about fairly early, setting off just before 8am. We hadn't gone very far when the helmsman on a boat called Barbara Ann called across that he reads the blog.
When we got to the top of Hillmorton Locks, there was a boat going down, another waiting, and boats coming up too. There was a lock keeper on duty, who said we'd be ok to carry on down, as we'd meet a boat at each lock. Sure enough, we did. Hillmorton is famous for its radio masts - there are dozens of them. But they could soon be a thing of the past, as there's a planning application for a new town on the site of up to 6,200 houses.
At the bottom of the locks, we waved at Lynn and Paul from Piston Broke as we went past, then shortly afterwards passed Victoria and Phil from Clifton Wharf, who slightly confused me by not being on their own boat!
We had to stop just before Rugby to go down the weedhatch, and removed a bit of rope from the prop. Then we caught up with a couple of boats going very slowly. The leading boat pulled over at Newbold to let the two boats pass, but it turned out that the boat in front of us was equally slow. He also didn't realise that boats can pass in the Newbold Tunnel. On the other side of the tunnel, something similar seemed to be happening, only worse: there was a Rose Narrowboats day boat with five boats following. It looked like rush hour on the M25.
The final mile to Brinklow Marina took a good half hour, but soon we were making the turn under the bridge and discovering that even on a calm day it's windy in the marina. Adrian made a well executed approach to our pontoon, and we were soon tied up without any dramas. The original plan had been to move to Barby Moorings at the end of this trip; but the marina there is so far behind schedule (there are still no pontoons, for example, and electricity is available only 12 hours a day), that we've decided to stay at Brinklow.
11 miles, 3 locks. (365 miles, 208 locks)