Thursday, 21 May 2015

Pre Crick: Day 2

We were told to expect the RCR engineer between 9.30 and 10, and he arrived at 9.30.  Having listened to the engine trying to start he diagnosed an underpowered starter battery.  He'd brought with him a machine for jump starting the engine, and when it had run for a few minutes, our battery had enough juice to start the engine again.  We've had a long run today, so it should be ok in the morning.  The engineer said they normally last three or four years; this one was in the boat when we bought it four years ago, and it has a 2007 date printed on the side, so it really doesn't owe us anything.  We'll probably buy a new one at the show.

All this meant it was 10am before we left the marina.  It was sunny, but with a brisk and cool breeze.  The usual hour and a half later we were at the bottom of Stoke Bruerne locks.  A previous boat test boat, Willow Two, was on the water point.  Two boats were going up the bottom lock, so we had to turn it.  By the time we were up, another two boats had arrived at the bottom, so we carried on alone.  The boats in front were rather slow, and while we were waiting for the third lock, another single boat arrived at the bottom.  So one of the pair behind came with us, while the other waited for the single boat.

Our locking partners were an experienced boat share couple out of Gayton, and with boats heading down the locks, we made decent progress.  Some of the pounds look rather full when there are two uphill and two downhill boats swapping locks.

At the penultimate lock, our lock companions were joined by their daughter and three year old grandson.  He's got three years experience of boating, and like pushing lock gates!

It was 1pm by the time we got to the top, and we pressed on through the tunnel.  Adrian made lunch, but I waited until we were through the tunnel before eating mine -- not just because of the dark, but because of the danger of it being dripped on!

At Blisworth, another boat test boat was moored: the eyecatching widebeam, Valhalla.  The long lock free pound stretched ahead.  I steered while Adrian did some work.  Past Stowe Hill, a cow was using a bit of old machinery to scratch its head.

The stretch through Stowe Hill and Weedon seems to take ages, thanks to all the moored boats.  Time was getting on, so we decided we'd probably stop at the bottom of Buckby locks.  A couple of miles before we got there, I liked the look of a tree in a field of oilseed rape.  It's not quite as rural as it looks, though.  With a closer look you can see the M1 just the other side of the field.

It was almost 6pm when we moored in a sunny spot below the locks.  A hire boat in front appeared to be heading up them, but we decided to stop for the night.  To be honest, it's not the most peaceful of spots.  The M1 is on one side (although roadworks are keeping people's speed down), while on the other side is the West Coast Mainline, with Vigin trains speeding past every few minutes.

Tomorrow, we'll aim to get going fairly promptly to get up the locks in good time.

20 miles, 7 locks.


Leo No2 said...

Sorry I was out - hopefully see you on the way back. If you txt me from the bottom of Buckby I'll put some cheese scones in the oven.

Halfie said...

Glad you got it sorted. Our domestic and engine battery isolators are next to each other; if our starter battery should ever fail there's a short link which can connect the domestic bank to the starter for long enough to get the engine going - not that we've had to use it yet. Could you have done the same on BR?