Last night about 11-30 pm a boat came along the canal and moored behind us, it was a very quiet boat unlike the crew. Overnight the wind picked up and we had some rain but it has stayed dry today.
The first job this morning was to bodge the speed control on the engine in lieu of proper bits from Halfords yesterday, it seems to be working well.
We still managed to leave at 10 am and made our way down to Braunston Marina to empty the loo tank, following this we went along the Grand Union/South Oxford canal as far as Shuckburgh where we stopped for lunch. While we were here we received the news that our friends wouldn’t be joining us for a few days this week. We were just getting ready to leave when a boat came up behind us under bridge 104. as he got really close, like half way passed I could see a boat following him, it looked like he was on cross straps as he was less than a meter from the front boats fender. The steerer commented that he had been following like that for ages, at the same time there were two boats coming the other way and I expected to see one hit the other up the backside. Once they had passed we set off, CRT had 4 work
boats moored a short way ahead as they are installing some new bank protection, its like a fine net with pockets in it, a wooden stake it slid though the pocket and driven into the canal bed, it is them backfilled with mud. When we reached Wigrams Turn I could see the hire boat was still right close to the boat in front, but then he turned off down the Grand Union Canal towards Calcutt whereas the front boat carried on along the S Oxford.
A short way before the Napton Bottom Lock is a winding hole and on the off side for some reason there are a couple of mooring rings, this notice on the fence by these rings always amuses me. We caught him up at the Napton Locks where there was a volunteer lock keeper on duty at the bottom lock. This is the first lock a lot of hirers have ever seen or worked so he tried to put them straight, as we passed Napton Narrowboats there were three boats about to set off, of course then may not come this way, but he had already helped several first time hires today.
The flight was incredibly slow, 3¼ hrs. the boat ahead of us was single handing but even so we were held up by boats ahead of him and oncoming boats that were all met in the wrong place and most of them very slow. It was 6 pm when we cleared Marston Doles top lock, we collected another boat ahead of us who had been moored on the lock landing above Napton Top who pulled away as the boat ahead of us was almost up. As dinner was in the slow cooker we decided to push on a bit, as many of you will have seen someone has dug their own basin off the canal in a field to keep their boat in. I wonder what sort of planning consent they have as I don’t see how they can claim its a visitor mooring. We only went a bit passed this before we pulled over just through bridge 123 for the night, the sun was going down and I just noticed this bit of colour in the sky.
13½ Miles, 3 canals 2 junctions and 9 locks in 7¾ hours