We woke to a beautiful sunny day. With only about three hours of boating to do and all day to do it in, we had a pretty leisurely start and left our mooring at around 9.30, just after a couple of boats had come down the lock. That meant it was set for us.
As we rose in the lock, we could see someone was working the top lock; when the two boats were down they left a gate open for us. By the time we'd gone up the top lock, a little cruiser and a narrowboat were ready to come down.
As we entered Blisworth Tunnel, I couldn't see the far end. I knew there was a boat in front, but that wasn't the only reason; the middle section was very murky, with a mix of mist and engine fumes -- which probably came from the 1931 boat, William, which is now a camping boat, and had left from the long pound before us. At the far end of the tunnel, the boats which had come through had brought the fumes with them, and they were hanging in the air of the cutting for the next fifty metres or so.
At the far side of Blisworth, a boat test boat, Posh Fox, was moored up, and I said hello to the owners who were sitting in the well deck. Gayton Junction was slightly chaotic. As we passed Blisworth Marina, a boat moored on the towpath side decided to set off when we were just a few feet behind him. He waved us past, but still kept the boat in gear. At the same time, a boat was coming through the junction bridge and then wanted to turn into the marina. He was bow thrusting furiously to help him get round in the limited space -- but the wrong way. The boat now just behind us told him he was pressing the wrong button. Through the bridge, there was one boat on the services, and two more waiting. Then the boat behind wanted to use the junction to turn around; I was glad we were going straight on. Maffi was moored just along from the junction. Near Bugbrook was a boat with the most remarkable artwork on all sides.
We carried on in really lovely sunshine, although it was at times very breezy. It was so nice, we went past our destination for a bit, and moored up for lunch in a nice spot. At around 2.30, we set off again and used the winding hole just through the next bridge at Furnace Wharf to turn around. The sunshine was great, the sky was blue, and the clouds were white and fluffy.
We arrived at Heyford Fields Marina, home of Boating Leisure Services, ready for the work they're going to be starting tomorrow. We then drove back to our Marina, where Adrian's car was. We'll be back later in the week for the return journey.
9 miles, 2 locks. (14 miles, 7 locks)