Adrian came up to the boat after work yesterday evening, and picked up my car which had been at Milton Keynes station car park since last Saturday. I was on night shifts, so came up this morning. I got away early, so arrived on the train at Wolverton just before 8am. Adrian had already done a Tesco shop when he picked me up.
Adrian is actually working today, and had a few calls to make. The first was at 9 so while he did that I got the boat ready and set off. There was a brisk breeze in just the wrong direction for the double-back-on-yourself turn out of the marina going north. It took a while to get round. I couldn’t get over how quiet the canal was. We saw no moving boats until we got to Stoke Bruerne Locks, and even lots of usually popular mooring spots were nearly empty. When we got to the locks, two boats had just come down so we headed up.
The first three locks were empty and ready for us, then we met a boat coming down. They’d left a gate open on the fifth lock up so it was set for us — but then crew from a couple of boats coming down turned the lock on us. If that hadn’t happened, we have been up the five locks in record time. We tied up in the long pound as Adrian had another call at 12, and when that was done we had lunch. There was a question mark over Adrian’s 1.30 call, and confirmation that it was off came just too late for us to join a boat which was heading up the final two locks. We waited a few minutes and went up after them.
In Blisworth Tunnel we passed two boats. The first one was fine, we both kept going at a reasonable speed and slipped by each other. The second one, which I could see from the round window at the front was a Gayton hire boat was going very slowly, and as we got closer he all but stopped, meaning his bow swung out and gave us a clonk.
We carried on through Blisworth and moored at a regular spot just before Bridge 49. The sun keeps coming out, but in between the clouds are big and rather black.
This is the start of this year’s main trip. It won’t be as long as the previous few years, because Adrian’s new job meant he could only get a couple of weeks. Nevertheless, we’ll still be trying out some new waters.
9 miles, 7 locks.