Miles covered: 3.16 (7 locks)
It’s time to move on once more.. we’ve been at Norton Junction for 2 weeks now – happily using the new armco and towpath that the CRT put in in the last 12 months (not sure when, but when we were last here on the way south over a year ago – this stretch was banking and pin outs.. with very little safe mooring.. but now.. its a pleasure to be here.. nice long stretch with lots of space for boats)
We did a water run last weekend – don’t have a GPS track for that as it was an up to the lock and back again to the same spot.. reversing through 3 abreast moored work boats was interesting, but done without any bangs..
The 7 locks for Buckby are now closed between Jan 7th and Jan 28th whist they work on locks 9 and 13 (gate relining) – so there should be no issues in getting water this weekend just above lock 7 as there should be no boats moving with the lock top gates firmly padlocked shut.. There is a boat on the water point.. possibly waiting to go down when they re-open – but there’s enough room for us to get in and top off the tank, so no issues there 🙂
The second hire car this month has now gone back – thanks again to Enterprise Daventry for yet more excellent service! We will need to get some miles in before the next one, as the nearest enterprise is up in Leicester.. so its to there that we start moving to..
But first.. water tank so we can get some washing done whilst moving.. toilet tank emptied at Weltonfield Narrowboats service point and onward to the Watford staircase of locks..
Arrived at the bottom lock, walked up the whole flight and checked in with the lock keepers.. as if boats are coming down, you cant go up as all the locks are joined and there is nowhere to move a boat to one side to let another pass.. so once they know were coming up, they will stop any from going down until were out and clear.
Got back to the boat – found that a cat had escaped! So after some swift cat wrangling, we were OK to start up the flight..
The first two locks are standard locks with normal paddles and pounds between, so nothing out of the normal there.. Met the lock keepers at lock 2, and they had already got the gates to the staircase open, so out of lock 2 and into lock three to 6 (4 locks in total, all joined together where the top gate of one lock is the bottom gate of the next one). With this flight, there is no need to “prep” the locks above either, as there are side pounds to store water in.. so the red paddles connect to the pounds to let the stored water in or out. With other staircase locks that don’t have side pounds.. you have to ensure that all the locks (other than the bottom one) are full.. as you will be emptying the one above to fill the one you are in.. get it wrong, and there will be no water to go up with!
There’s a little rhyme that goes with some staircase locks – if they have multiple sets of paddles (where the normal white paddles are there to let water from one lock into the other) – there are also a set of red ones and let water into or out of the side pound into or out of the lock..
White before Red and the boat could end up dead
Well.. not as bad as that.. but it could be sitting on the lock floor with no water to float it, or not enough water to clear the gate footings.. So its always – if there are red paddles on a staircase.. open them first.. then the white ones..
Once up and through the locks, its clear sailing now for the next 20 miles as there are no more locks until we get to Foxton Flight of locks at Foxton Junction.. and that one has two flights of 5 locks each and is always a tourist attraction.. but more on that when we get closer to Market Harborough..
It was starting to get a bit dark, and the thought of Crick tunnel at dusk is not one I like to think about.. so its time to think about mooring up..
And.. there was a very familiar boat moored on the stretch we puled in at..
Kevin Shelley popped his head out when we started to reverse back (as I over shot the mooring!) and lent a hand to pull Emmeline in as its a bit shallow at the back of this mooring.
For those of you who don’t know the boat.. That’s Aslan.. Kevin’s 45ft narrowboat.. Started having a chat, and found that he’s planning on going down the Oxford, down the Thames and running the K&A this year during summer. Started talking about our run last year over the K&A, and the Caen Hill flight – so passed on some advice we learned travelling that way.. so look out for some excellent videos to come from Kevin.. If you want to see more, please have a look and subscribe to his Vimeo channel –
We settled down after getting the fire done, and had a look at Dixies now weeping face where the abscess has come back.. apologies to all those around that had to suffer the sound of a screaming dog (we were not killing her – even though she may disagree!). Anna was asking about Kevin, so we reviewed his recent video on YouTube where new years of 2017/2018 he was attacked and mugged.. Anna being Anna, she intuited something, and popped over to see him before we settled down for the night with a lovely stir fry..
All for now.. More to follow when we get to Crick either tomorrow – or not.. depending on the weather..
And.. as a side note.. we were snapped by another YouTuber when we were moored in Braunston.. David Johns from “Cruising the Cut” caught us on the only spot with a signal!..