Saturday, 3 June 2017

A bit further than we meant

You may be able to read this today (that is, Saturday), or you may have to wait until tomorrow. I'll explain in a bit. We had a very good start to the day after a peaceful night. Setting off just on eight, we got to the top of Watford 20 minutes later. The lockie told us we were the first boat of the day and that, though he knew we were experienced, he'd work us down so as to check the state of the flight.

At half past, Sanity Again entered the top lock. In the event, the lockie left us to it just above the bottom of the staircase as another boat had arrived at the top whose crew had never done the flight before. Although the pound was low between the last two locks, Sheila had no trouble in steering down, indeed her boat handling was exemplary throughout.

It was still a pleasantly sunny day, though rather fresher than recently, and boating was a real pleasure. This led us to ignore possible early stopping spots like the Armco outside Welton Hythe marina in the hope of getting a mooring at Norton Junction, but it was not to be. Those moorings were very full apart from the first bendy and gloomy bit.

I was steering in expectation of mooring, so I took us through the junction (no-one looking so another flawless performance, ahem) and we tried to tie a bit along the GU.

Not a chance, great lumps of fallen towpath coping underwater. I had a job to get Sanity Again back off and had to reverse well out into the middle of the cut in the end. On we went. We thought about stopping on the Armco at Welton Wharf, but decided we might as well carry on to Braunston and get our meat shopping done today rather than late tomorrow morning.

Sheila took over the tiller again for a rather fraught passage of the tunnel, which was very busy. At the other end, there was a substantial queue for the locks, at least eight boats ahead of us. It was now half eleven, so we tied where we were, back in the cutting, and stopped for lunch.

There is just about a 3 signal here, though nothing else, of course, so we've decided to stay put until tomorrow morning. After lunch, we shuffled the boat forward a length to a slightly better bit of towpath. We then walked down the flight to the Admiral Nelson and into the village along Dark Lane, a bit of a trek in the warm sun.

Shopping at the butcher and the BB shop was done before using the field path across the back of the houses to the bottom lock. Still feeling warm, we halted for an ice cream apiece from the shop there and then ambled back up the flight, passing several of the boats which had been in the queue before lunch, still working down.

If the signal is co-operating, I'll post this now, otherwise it will have to wait until tomorrow at Hillmorton.


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