We were up early again today, and before I'd even had breakfast I started making lunch! We set off about 7.45 in cool (no, it was actually cold) and blustery conditions. It appeared that if we.,d carried on round the corner yesterday we could have moored nearer the junctions, as boats which passed us yesterday evening were moored there -- including Blue Rover, and Lord Trimble's boat Sine Nomine.
The top lock of the Buckby flight needed filling, and we also got rid of rubbish while we were there. It meant we lingered for a while, waiting to see whether anyone else was heading down the locks this early. They weren't, so we set off on our own. The next three locks were all empty, with one or both bottom gates open. The next couple were full. This seems to be because these locks have no proper by-washes, so excess water goes through the paddle culverts and bubbles up into the lock; the effect is most visible when the lock is empty. One of these locks has some metal plates fixed to the wall, as an alternative to fixing the brick work.
It was really windy at times, but at least it wasn't raining as well. The blossom was all coming off the hedges, and in places the canal was completely covered in white petals.
The locks took a couple of hours, and we continued to Weedon where we moored up. I walked down to the little Tesco on the A45/A5 crossroads to get a few things we'd forgotten yesterday. Shortly after I got back, the rain started. The reason we'd stopped there was for a family visit. My sister and family arrived at about 12.30, en route from Cheshire to Kent. We noticed that the Alvechurch hire boat in front of us had come adrift at the stern; Ian helped pull it back it, we rescued the mooring stake, and hammered it back in. I also knocked the bow stake in a bit more, so it was more secure; I wonder if they noticed when they returned.
We gave the family lunch, then Ian took the car and the dog to Stowe Hill Bridge, while the rest of us went by boat. Emily, who's four, frankly found it a bit slow and boring; but Rachel, who's seven, enjoyed standing at the back with me, looking at the boats and the wildlife -- even though it was raining. We soon spotted Ian and the black lab, Harris, walking back along the towpath; when Harris saw Rachel on the boat, he jumped in and tried to swim over! When we reached Stowe Hill, the family disembarked, to continue their journey.
By now I was already wet, so thought we might as well put on a few more miles, so we're back at a reasonable time tomorrow. The rain was never heavy, just fairly steady, and the wind had dropped considerably. We tied up at the moorings just before Nightingales Bridge, at just after 4.30. In the same time, the family had reached the Dartford Crossing!
12 miles, 7 locks. (68 miles, 37 locks)