It appeared to have rained in the night, which wasn’t forecast, and it was still dull and dank this morning. We set off at 8, along the familiar waters to Blisworth Tunnel. Three boats came out just before we got there. As we went through, I could see a light behind us. At Stoke Bruerne Locks, the top lock was ready for an upcoming boat, so we waited a few minutes, by which time the boat behind us had arrived. It was Elk, who’d been at the Crick Show.
There were several volunteer lock keepers on duty, all in radio contact, so all the lock were set for us. Things were going well until the penultimate lock, which always takes a while as there’s only one bottom paddle. It seemed to be particularly slow, however, and we couldn’t get the bottom gates open. Then I noticed that the pound below was getting lower and lower, so walked down to see what was happening at the bottom lock. It was set for us, but the volunteer had left a paddle half up, gradually draining the pound and meaning our lock was unable to make a level. I pointed it out and he closed it, and by the time I’d walked back up to the previous lock the gates had been opened. As the boats came into the lock, the volunteer came up with a story about how the previous lock gates sometimes close in such a way that they’re then difficult to open. It’s funny how him closing a paddle he’d missed sorted it all out though.
The five miles back to the marina took the usual hour and a half. I did a good turn into the marina, but could have done with some more help from the wind to reverse into the berth. We had lunch, packed up (although Adrian had already done most of it), and set off in the car,
10 miles, 7 locks. (96 miles, 44 locks)