It was a beautiful clear sunny morning when we woke up, although rathe chilly outside. With the sun low in the sky, the shadows across the fields were amazing as we set off just before 8.
We had a clear run until just before Braunston, when suddenly there seemed to be boats everywhere. Among those coming through bridge holes towards us was Armadillo. Once we'd picked our way through the crowds, we stopped at the water point at the junction to fill the tank and start a wash load. All that was done by 10.30, so we made our way up to the locks. A boat was almost up as we arrived, and as I walked up to the lock I realised it was a Braidbar Boat, Mister E, with Mike and a couple of friends on board. We've previously met Mike at Higher Poynton and at the Crick Show. They said they'd wait for us at the next lock, and I quickly dashed into the shop by the lock to add to Briar Rose's collection of brass canal plaques.
It was great fun sharing the locks with Mike and his friends. We met boats coming down, so progress was pretty quick.
Both boats went through the tunnel, and we stopped just before Norton Junction for lunch. Mister E went to the junction to turn around before also mooring up for lunch.
We headed for Buckby locks after lunch. A boat was going down the top lock, and the volunteer lock keeper asked the, to wait at the next lock. It turned out to be a couple on a Diamond Resorts boat from Gayton who knew what they were doing. There was even a bit of synchronised boating between locks.
Lock 12 is the one that had a stoppage a few weeks ago when one of the gates fell apart, having completely rotted through. The temporary fix is a significant metal collar to hold the gate together. I gather it was due for replacement this winter anyway.
As it was such a lovely afternoon, we decided to continue a little way, to get away from the M1. I was pleased to find a nice spot just beyond Bridge 23 was free. We've stopped here a couple of times before; the trains are fairly close, but that's usual round here, but there are nice views across farmland, and the neighbours across the towpath seem friendly enough.
15 miles, 13 locks. (322 miles, 262 locks)