Well the plan almost worked without modification. We were all ready a bit early, one member went ahead and set the bottom lock while Mike and Alan cast off, while they were doing this a hire boat came by and went straight into the open lock. Neal seeing this happen shot off his moorings, passed all the other club members who were wondering what was happening, winded and shot back past Steve who was extracting his boat from the inside to go up next, passed mike and Alan who were sitting outside the bottom lock to share with the hire boat. The result being Neal and the hire boat went up in double quick time, followed by Mike and Alan, right behind them was Steve and myself.Even after all that we were probably in the lock about 8 am. With all crews working together we went up in good time on a damp and drizzly morning.
At Calcutt locks we caught up with Mike and Alan again just as they were entering the lock, we had passed Neil moored up a short way above the Stockton Flight. Tying Harnser below the locks I walked up to lend a hand, to say the first pound was a bit low was an understatement, the boat moored there was high and dry, but luckily there was enough water in the channel for us all to get through.
At Wigrams Turn Steve went off to the right back to Cropredy where as we turned left keeping south on the Grand Union Canal. This section is quite wide and deep and I was able to make 4 MPH other than passing moored boats, A short slow section at Shuckburgh where CRT are repairing the bank using dredgings form the canal. The dredger is built with hydraulic legs so it jacks up from the canal bed to give a stable platform.
Not long after this we joined bit of a convoy into Braunston but one by one they stopped or turned off so when we reached The Braunston Locks we were all alone. As we waited at the bottom of the locks for 2 boats coming down it started to rain and I mean rain, throwing it down. We had a good run up the flight not having to turn a lock until near the top. A clean run through Braunston Tunnel not following or catching any boats until we were near where the Daventry Arm is due to be cut where we caught up with a boat that we followed to Norton junction where they turned left. Just after Norton Junction we met a boat so were surprised to find Buckby Top against us. moored waiting to get onto the water point were friends of ours from the River Lark so we lay against them while Diana turned the lock,needless to say as soon as she opened the top gates a boater came up the steps from below. Again a good run not turning any locks meeting several boats returning from Stoke Bruerne including Victoria who luckily was in the bridge hole well before I got there.
Once clear of the flight we had a steady run down passing this chap sitting on the bank at Dodford Bridge, he seemed quiet enough and then through Weedon to finally moor just before 6-30 at Stow Hill opposite the camp site.