Sunday, 4 June 2017

North to Hillmorton

It's been another day of two halves. We got away in good time and checked with the other boats moored above the lock that none were planning to set off just then. So we worked down the top lock alone and then waited for a boat to come up the one below. This allowed Penguin to catch up with us, having come through the tunnel whilst we were locking down.

They proved to be excellent locking partners, very experienced and relaxed in their boating. Indeed, the steerer had been boating for 60 years and had a fund of stories of the last years of carrying. We crossed with several other boats on the way down and reached the bottom by half nine.

Sheila, who had been lockwheeling, rejoined and did lookout through Braunston, which was pretty quiet for the time of year. My only problem was a boat awkwardly tied on the offside service point just beyond Midland Chandlers. Its bow was projecting into the fairway such that I only just managed to thread Sanity Again through and had to come perilously close to the boats tied on the towpath to do so. I managed without touching any of them and we were soon headed out into the countryside north of the village.

The weather was bright and sunny, though breezy and cool, for most of the trip. Sheila got the washing machine going as we went, though the forecast rain meant little chance of drying the load outside. We calculated that we'd likely arrive at Hillmorton top just on 12, so Sheila took over steering for a bit before then to let me get outside a peanut butter sandwich to keep me going.

The rain arrived early, as we were getting close to the boatyard by the Old Royal Oak, so we got togged up in waterproofs and kept going. However, when we got to the locks, there was yet another queue extending back onto the visitor moorings and it was indeed midday. Amazingly, there were no boats actually tied on the VMs. Normally, these are pretty full, which is why we always plan to work down and tie at the bottom.

Under the circumstances, there was no reason to do so today, especially as it meant getting wet and hungry in the process, so we've stopped at the top again. As I write this, we're still the only boat here, very strange.

We've taken advantage of a gap in the showers to walk down the flight and dump some rubbish. Tomorrow, we'll lock down, stop off at Brownsover to go to Tesco and then merrily on to Newbold for the night.


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