Last night there was a dramatic thunder storm accompanied by extremely heavy rain. This morning was grey and drizzly to start, and we set off at 8. Neil and Kath's friends Rick and Marilyn, who live in Long Buckby, were due to come and help us up the Buckby flight, and we spotted them walking along the tow path well before the locks. For the locks, Kath took the tiller so I could have a go at swinging a windlass.
The bottom lock was against us, but there was no-one in sight coming down. We took our time getting the lock ready for us and no other boats were approaching along the straight, so we set off on our own. We also had to turn the second lock, but then started meeting boats coming down. In fact, we met a boat at every lock after that, so didn't have to turn any more. We got into a decent rhythm, and made good progress up the flight.
At the top, we were in need of tea and coffee, so we stopped on the water point so I could ensure I started the Crick weekend with a full tank. It didn't take long, so we pulled the boat forward onto the next moorings which were completely empty.
Refreshed with tea and cake (Rick had brought one of this famous seed cakes to add to our collection) we set off again and turned right at Norton Junction. The section from the junction to the locks always seems longer than it should. When we got to the locks, and were third in the queue - the boat immediately in front was the Wharf House show boat. Neil went to see the lock keeper who told us to go up the first two locks (which are individual ones) and wait below the staircase. Three boats were to come down, so we moored up and had a very convivial lunch.
Once the three boats had passed us we entered the staircase locks, which have been decorated for the jubilee. By then the rain had arrived.
We seem to have timed things very well. A hire boat which arrived at the top was told they'd have to wait until tomorrow, and we were told that a queue of nine boats had built up at the bottom, including two Steve Hudson show boats.
Crick Tunnel was fairly dry inside, then close to the marina we were greeted from the tow path by people pointing us towards our mooring. The space looked too short to me, but we got in with as much as half an inch to spare at each end. Actually, there's not that much space, because Briar Rose's bow fender overlaps with the stern fender of the boat in front.
Neil and Kath have been invaluable help and great company, and I'm very grateful to them for giving up their time to make the trip. It was also great to meet Rick and Marilyn, who are also very entertaining.
Tomorrow I'll hope to get into the show site, and may even be able to start looking at boats. I've got twenty mini boat reviews to do, so any head start will be a help.
12 miles, 14 locks. (27 miles, 21 locks)