Early shout this morning as people wanted to be on there way and as we were moored 3 deep some shuffling was in order. Enseabee on the inside of us wanted to be away at about half nine, but we had the bows of two boat overlapping us, one at each end. NB Helmsman had already wriggled out from inside Lord Toulouse and had winded and was heading back up passed the fleet. I thought the easiest thing to do would to be to join them up the flight, so Jannock dropped off our stern to the off side and we slipped out backwards to follow Helmsman to the bottom lock. We weren't expecting a very good run as NB Rosy had left much earlier and went up alone, but luck was with us and we met 6 boats in the flight so lock turning was kept to a minimum and leaving gates open became the order of the day. We lead the way to the Calcutt three where our luck ran out as we now had a boat ahead of us and had to turn every one.
At Wigrams Turn Helmsman went to the left and we went to the right. There were only a couple of boats moored outside The Bridge Inn but the pub has an interesting selection of chalk boards outside inviting people in. Passing the winding hole just prior to The Folly Pub a boat coming towards us told us the flight was closed due to a boat getting stuck under Shut Bridge trying to get into the lock. This information was repeated as we passed the many moored boats with advice to moor as soon as we found space, but as we required water we carried on hoping to be able to get near a tap. When we rounded the bend there were only 3 boats waiting for the locks so the water point was free. Before we had finished filling with water a boat came down, they had winched the offending motorised butty out backwards and she was making her way down the flight, but CaRT were expecting problems at the second lock as it turned out she got stuck there yesterday. We made our way up the flight with the CaRT supervisor who was going to flush her through, but before we even reached the second lock we could see clouds of smoke, a boat coming down with his fenders down had jammed solid. Once Steve from CaRT arrived they were soon on there way as he flushed them out with a fully drawn top paddle. As the boat passed me the chap was complaining about the narrow lock, I suggested it might be a good idea to lift his fenders before locking to which he replied that doing that risked damaging the hooks that his hood attached to. We met the butty two locks further up where they were waiting for Steve to supervise her backing down and for us to pass as all traffic behind us had been held at the bottom of the flight.
Once clear of Marston Doles locks we carried to find somewhere to moor, The moorings at the top of the lock were full as were the first section of piling, unfortunately that is on the outside of a long bend, where of course I met the only boat we saw coming the other way and I was well off the line.
We found a nice straight section of piling at Priors Hardwick and moored at quarter to five, a little later than we had planned.