Friday 17 May 2024

Pre-Crick: Day 2

We had a pretty relaxed start to the day, and left the marina just before 9.  It was already sunny and quite warm, with none of the mist which had been forecast.

We soon caught up with a boat which we gained on even when we were on tickover, but he let us pass.  When we got to the bottom of the locks, a man was just opening the second top gate for a downhill boat, which was in the next lock up.  This one is notoriously slow to empty, and it wasn’t helped when the lock above that was emptied, sending more water over the top gates.  Eventually the lock made a level, and the widebeam could come out.  It was a big one.

By the time the widebeam was down the bottom lock, the boat we’d passed had arrived, so we thought they could come up with us — but they wanted to fill with water first so we went up alone.  The second lock had been left for us, with a boat waiting above; then the volunteer lock keeper asked us if we would wait, as another uphill boat had arrived.  Things seemed to be taking a long time at the bottom lock, so I went down to investigate.  The boat wasn’t even in the lock yet — and then the watering boat had finished and was going to join them — so the lockie changed him mind and said we should carry on.  The people waiting for the lock were relieved that things were finally moving.

We swapped with a boat further up, then at the penultimate lock a boat was coming out.  It turned out to be Burnt Oak, with Marina and John, with whom we did a very quick Hatton flight a few years ago.  In the long pound, a swan was making an effort to take off, but then changed his mind.

Boats were also coming out of the top lock.  At the top, we had a quick chat with Kathryn.

We carried on through the tunnel.  It was exceptionally wet inside, with water pouring down in places I don’t remember previously.  Adrian made lunch while we were inside, which we had once we’d come out the other end.  We continued through Blisworth to Gayton Junction.  We were hoping for a mooring as near to the junction as possible because we need to head back tomorrow, and fortunately we got one.

This afternoon we have done bits of cleaning of the boat, but it’s been a bit too warm to do much.  We have been visited by ducklings and cygnets, and there have been plenty of boats through the junction.

After 3pm, the hire boats started being released from Gayton Marina.  I’d gone up to the bridge to take a photo of us across the junction, when this hire boat came by, which I thought made a nice addition to the picture.  I went down the steps to get another shot, when the steerer said ‘We are going the right way for Banbury aren’t we?’  They weren’t.  There then followed more than 15 minutes of turning around, not helped by another boat which almost made the same mistake.

This evening, Catherine and Nigel are coming for a drink.

9 miles, 7 locks.

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