Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Post-Crick: Day 1

We were awake early this morning -- at least I was, which meant Adrian was too, eventually -- and we set off at around 7.15.

The first lock was in our favour, but the pound below was more than a foot down, because the next lock leaks. This is the lock they had a stoppage for, just before Crick, to try to prevent water loss. Whatever they did hasn't worked. The next few locks showed no rhyme or reason as to whether they'd be empty or full. At the penultimate lock, we found all the water missing from above. The lock was full with water pouring over the bottom gates, yet the pound was even fuller, meaning the gates wouldn't open because it was impossible to make a level. Counterintuitively, I had to raise a paddle atbthe other end and let some water flow through the lock, until the level in the pound above had dropped enough.

We completed all six locks in about an hour and a half. Unusually, all the 48 hour moorings just below the bottom lock were empty. A bit further along we passed a swan family, with all the cygnets wanting to hitch a ride. There wasn't room for all of them.

Weedon was really busy with boats, both moored and moving. At 11 we got to Heyford Fields Marina, and moored up on the outside, alongside another boat, so the BLS guys could have a look at our Eberspacher boiler. They took it out and diagnosed something that was worse than we'd hoped -- so they're keepimg it for a few days to get a part. We were there for about an hour, during which time lots of boats passed, and almost none slowed down.

Setting off again we made good progress. There was the odd shower, but sunshine in between. Between Blisworth and the tunnel there is a tree down from the offside. Someone, presumably a boater, has made just enough room to get past, but it's pretty tricky going south.

Before the tunnel a boat crew told us it was very wet in there, but actually I thought it was a lot drier than normal. We passed two boats, including the restaurant boat with a party in full swing, then another right at the far end. A boat was just about to come out the top lock when we got there, so they left the gate open for us. Another boat was coming up the second lock, so we left a gate for them. It turned out to be Julie and Tone on Muchgigglin, returning from their annual trip to London for Cavalcade and the Ivor Novello awards. We usually see them about this time.

We stopped after the second lock, in the long pound, at about 3pm. I washed and dried the towpath side of the boat, then got to work with the Craftmaster Carnuba polish we bought at Crick; the difference is amazing. Adrian ended up coming out to help with the polishing, but it's such nice polish it wouldn't take that long to do a whole boat side on your own. I ended up doing the stern doors and the forward bulkhead too, and sweeping the roof. It's turned into a nice afternoon, with the sun and blue sky appearing.

16 miles, 8 locks. (69 miles, 37 locks)

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