Our mooring at Nether Heyford was very quiet and peaceful, and we slept well. First thing this morning, the sun was shining; by the time we set off at 8.30 the cloud had moved in and it was pretty overcast.
After Furnace Lane Wharf we passed Morgana Le Fey moored up, then at Bugbrooke we passed Lois Jane and I was able to have a quick chat with Debbie as we drifted by. Next we passed Baleine, and Toby and Susan came out to say hello and goodbye.
Along this stretch there are a variety of bridges, some of which are impossible to see through. The worst (perhaps not surprisingly) is Skew Bridge. It's not too bad from the other direction, but heading south there's no visibility at all.
We saw our first ducklings yesterday, and there were more today. One clutch were being particularly closely marshalled by mother.
After a couple of hours we were at Blisworth Tunnel. Just as we turned in, we could see a light reflecting on the wall, and sure enough there was a boat about forty yards or so from the portal.
We didn't pass another boat until right at the other end. En route, we got very wet thanks to all the water pouring from the roof, and we managed to spot the side shaft (but not get a photo of it, this time).
We went down the first two locks, and moored for lunch in the long pound, which was virtually deserted. At the second lock, a boat arrived to come up. The crew came up to the lock, and I left them to it as Adrian brought Briar Rose out. Next thing, the crew shut the gate on their own boat, and started filling the lock! The steerer wasn't impressed.
We'd just finished washing up after lunch when a boat passed heading for the next lock down, so we got organised and joined them. In fact, we'd probably have made quicker progress on our own. At the penultimate lock, Adrian spotted a familiar figure parking a car. It was Richard from Indigo Dream doing a car shuffle. He chatted to us as we dropped down the last lock, then went off on his bike to meet Sue and the boat, heading our way.
We moored up on the first bit of piling we saw after Bridge 56, and waited for Indigo Dream's arrival, which happened within a few minutes. Sue and Richard tied up behind us, and we had a brief towpath chat, and a show around Briar Rose; they haven't seen her since we've owned her.
Sue and Richard had an appointment to keep in Stoke Bruerne, so headed off after fifteen or twenty minutes. It's amazing how much catching up you can do in such a short time, and it was great to see them.
By now the wind was really strong, and at times during the rest of the journey, the direction of steering and direction of travel had little in common. We crabbed along the canal, battling the wind. The turn into the marina was very tricky, and I had no choice but to plant the nose and turn that way. But the wind was straight down the pontoons, so I took the decision to spin the boat and reverse into our berth as normal, and it all went surprisingly well.
Adrian had been packing up as we came along, so we were soon ready to leave. We set off in the car at 4pm, and got home a couple of hours later.
15 miles, 7 locks. (31 miles, 14 locks)