We set off at 8.15 this morning. It was grey, fairly cold, but reasonably still. It took about 45 minutes to get to the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne flight. There were no other boats in sight so we set off up the locks on our own.
We met boats coming down at three locks, so it was fairly efficient, and we were at the top in no time. Then it was the familiar trip through the tunnel, dodging what water cascades I could, but still getting pretty wet.
At Gayton Junction, we found a couple of familiar boats moored: Matilda Rose, and No Problem. We moored up and went to MR for tea and biscuits and a catch up chat. The last time I saw Jill and Graham was more than a year ago; I saw Sue and Vic last September, while I was crewing for Chance through Droitwich. We were there for about an hour, setting off again just before 1pm. We then had lunch on the move.
While we'd been moored up, loads of boats had gone past, including Muchgigglin, who we shared locks with down to Marsworth Junction a couple of weeks ago. As we neared Tarry's coal yard at Furnace Wharf, Muchgigglin was just leaving the service wharf in front of us. The day was getting much brighter, and the sun was coming out -- although it still seemed pretty cold and a bit breezy too. We decided that as we were making good progress, we'd carry on as far as we could: if Muchgigglin were going up the Buckby locks, we'd go with them, and if they weren't we'd stop at the bottom. They were going up, and seemed pleased to have us as locking partners again. We had a few things to catch up on, including their evening at Paddington with my colleague with the famous voice.
We made quick progress up the locks. Tone and Julie had a friend staying with them, so there was always someone to go up and get the next lock ready. By now the sun was so bright it was being a problem!
We stopped six locks up, in the long pound below the top lock. The water level was pretty low, but the back-pumping scheme has been working and we're afloat at the moment. I suspect there's a chance we could be aground by the morning. It's quite a nice spot here, with a nice outlook; the sound of the M1 and the Virgin trains is in the background, but not too bad.
20 miles, 13 locks. (21 miles, 13 locks)