Last night we went to sleep with a star light sky, this morning we woke to rain.
We set off at 8-30 and had a pleasant run up to the first lock, Passing Jim Bates’s yard again. I really love his mooring bollards. It had stopped raining and was reasonably warm. What we found above lock 11 dampened my view somewhat. The next pound was so low that I just managed to clear the lock before coming to a standstill. Diana walked up to the next lock to let some water down and while I waited to move I called CRT to advise them of the situation. The young lady I spoke to was unable to put me through to the people concerned as she just got “Voice Mail” why they cant say answer phone I don’t know. So she said she would text them and ask them to ring me.
Then it started to rain. Eventually the boat moved and I chugged forward trying to stay in what channel there was. Its only a short pound but it took over half an hour to get to the next lock. I grounded again about ¼ of the way there and Diana had to let more water down. We only draw off the absolute minimum to float the boat as we don’t want to rob further up of water. The next pound was Ok but the one after that quite low, bit worrying as Diana was also on the boat so if we got stuck there would be no one to let water down, you can forget getting near the side to get off, this is what the lock landings looked like, 2” of water maybe. After this things improved quite a bit. At Bridge 5 CRT have been rebuilding the walls and have the road closed. They have made quite a bit of progress since we were this way Friday lunch time with just the capping bricks to bed on. Its a very tidy job I must say, much better than Bridge 14 a bit further down the arm.
By the time we got to Lock 3 there was loads of water so there is an awful lot of leakage down this canal. This is the lock that nearly filled my stern end coming down and this flow was without anyone dropping the staircase lock above. Now the Grand Union Main Line is just above the next lock through the bridge you can see, so with this sort of flow coming from it, its not surprising that when we reached the junction that was down a good 12” as well.
Once on the Main Line we turned left to head North again. This is the type of house they have built against the main line at the junction. The wooden doors on the outside of the glass doors and windows can only be opened from the outside which seemed a little strange to me. They even have lockable bolts.
Marsworth Top lock has only half the top gate paddles operational with one set of gate paddles and one ground paddle inoperative. The level between the top and bottom lock was quite low but passable, however once below the bottom lock it was fine. By now it was really raining and continued until after we stopped, when the sun came out. To the east of Marsworth locks is what looks like a ventilation tower with a tree growing out of it. I know its not a ventilation shaft and I have been told what it is but I can’t remember.
We pushed on in the rain meeting 4 boat, 3 of the single handed and all travelling up alone which helped us with the locks. The pound between Slapton and Church lock was particularly slow even though the level was just about on weir, so it must be in desperate need of dredging. These young Alpaca really didn’t seem to be liking the weather and who could blame them. We stopped for the night just above Grove Lock where there are mooring rings in a concrete edge. As we were mooring up a lady on a boat was frantically waving to me, I tried to indicate we didn’t want the lock and where mooring up for the night to no avail so I just went into the boat. When they left the lock I could see it was friends of ours, the ones we had been moored against all weekend at the Blue Lias, well it was raining wasn’t it. we had a chat as they passed on there way south.