I was just about to start cooking dinner last night when there was a knock on the roof: Kathryn had read the blog, and walked up to tell us about a stoppage at the top lock in the morning. It was due to start at 8am, and continue until 4.30. If only we'd gone down the top two lock like we normally do!
As it happened, Adrian had gone to the pub to use the wifi, and was planning to call on Kathryn on his way back. When he did, he was a bit surprised that she already knew where he'd been. Later in the evening, we went with Kathryn to The Navigation for a drink, and a very pleasant couple of hours chatting.
On the way back to the boat, I knocked on the roof of our neighbours (our locking partners for the Buckby flight), because I knewthe stoppage would disrupt their week's hire. We agreed that we'd set off together, early.
And so it was that at about 7.40 this morning, I was heading to the lock with a windlass in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. It was raining again. The CRT guys were already there to start work on the lock, to stop the bottom gates leaking so much. One of them told us it was pointless going down, as someone had been sent to lock the bottom lock, to stop people coming up. This seemed like a mad idea to me, as people could still come up to the long pound, or go down from it. Anyway, we filled the lock, got the boats in, and were down the lock before 8am. As he set off, Adrian told a couple of Wyvern hire boats behind us what was going on; they also got moving quickly, but I'm not sure whether they were quick enough.
Our locking partners moored up in the long pound, as they had friends meeting them for a bit of boating today. Fortunately, a boat had just set off from the same pound, so we teamed up with them for the remaining five locks.
The couple on the other boat had owned it for 25 years, and moor just this side of Marsworth. We had a very efficient and pleasant trip down the locks with them. There was an enormous amount of water down the flight. At some locks, not only was the water over the gates, it was also over the sides and flowing down the towpath. At the bottom, which we reached before 9am, we told a few crews about the stoppage. No-one knew it was happening, and there were no signs anywhere.
We had a very easy run back to the marina, arriving a bit after 10am. We were soon moored in our berth and had our stuff packed up. Within an hour, we were in the car heading home. We were saying as we drove that Crick is one of the most sociable times of the year, with plenty of meeting up with friends from around the system.
6 miles, 7 locks. (28 miles, 21 locks)