As we'd made such good progress yesterday, there was no need to make a flying start this morning. Even so, we were up at about 8, and ready to set off at 9. The forecast was for rain all day, but it was dry and relatively warm. Naturally, I took the inevitable photo of the mill at Blisworth as we headed for the tunnel.
At Blisworth tunnel, everyone seemed to have had the idea of getting through early. We passed five boats coming the other way. Most were passed without incident; the second boat was a hire boat who appeared to have come to a stop, so his bow had drifted out into the middle and there was something of a coming together. He'd have been better off to keep going, to retain some steering.
I was on the look out for the side tunnel I'd seen last time we passed thorough Blisworth, and had primed Neil to look out for it too. I saw it again, but Neil didn't, so there's still no independent verification that I'm not just imagining things! If anyone else is coming this way, could you look out for it please? Coming south, the side tunnel goes off to the left about two thirds of the way through (that's in the brick part south of the concrete section). It looks like a small tunnel, and appears to be illuminated.
At Stoke Bruerne, boats have begun gathering for the Gala Weekend this weekend. We saw the cheese boat and a candy floss boat, and several old working boats, including the imposing Victoria.
At the locks, the first lock was empty. We were pretty sure there were no boats close behind us in the tunnel, and none of the moored boats were likely to be coming down, so we turned the lock and hoped to catch up a boat going down ahead. In spite of the uninspiring weather, there were some hardy half-term gongoozlers to watch us go down.
We met boats coming up at some locks, and eventually the lock keeper asked the boat in front to wait for us. The third lock down has a ground paddle out of action, and the lock took an age to come to a level. All in all, it seemed to be a bitty passage down the locks -- without the quick and smooth progress of yesterday.
Shortly after the locks were behind us, the rain began. It wasn't that hard, and it wasn't windy, which was welcome when we reached Thrupp Wharf Marina. The entrance is angled backwards and rather tricky, and reversing into our berth can also be difficult. In addition, I had Neil and Kath, experienced boaters, on board, watching my every move. Fortunately, all manoeuvres were completed in a satisfactory manner, and we were soon secured on the jetty. Once we were inside, the downpour really started, and had continued on and off all afternoon.
We had lunch, I put some washing on, then got the car out the car park and drove Kath and Neil back to Crick. Work to dismantle the show was well underway; a narrowboat and a widebeam were on the backs of lorries, a huge crane was there, and another widebeam appeared to be waiting to be lifted out. While I was at Crick Marina, I bought some kindling so I could light the fire when I got back to the boat. It's actually not that cold, but it's very damp and I need to help the washing dry.
9 miles, 7 locks (54 miles, 42 locks)