17 miles, 13 locks
A lazy start to the day, not starting the engine until nearly 9am. Instead of the forecast rain, which drummed down at 3am instead, we awoke to glorious sunshine and so set off down the long pound towards Long Buckby, having breakfast on the go.
It was a very pleasant morning and early afternoon’s boating; the sun continued to shine, there was plenty of interest to look at, and we shared the steering. There was only one minor incident, when coming around a particularly tight blind corner near Stowe Hill wharf, and a hireboat came the other way at just the wrong moment, so there was a bit of mutual reversing, but we both got around without touching.
As we came towards Buckby, having a sandwich just before the flight, we pulled into the bottom lock only to see the two boats behind us moor up. Resolved to head up alone, and just about to shut the gate, we saw another boat heading towards us, and waited for them so as to share the lock. It was a Valley Cruises hireboat with four teenagers as crew- perfect company!
We proceeded to whizz up the flight together, with Amy being able to set ahead the few locks that didn’t have boats coming out. We were soon at the top, where we briefly saw fellow blogger and waterways celebrity Mortimer Bones- but our companions were keen to press on, so we went off towards the tunnel.
The tunnel itself was a bit eventful, with quite a bit of traffic coming the other way. We passed one boat right in the corkscrewing twist, without touching, but later had to pass a Hudson boat with one of my complete pet hates- a spotlight on the front shining right into oncoming steerers’ eyes. It was a case of aiming at the glare, coming out of gear, and hoping not to hit them too hard, as I couldn’t see where I was going at all. Luckily we didn’t touch them, and the rest of the tunnel was much less eventful.
Finally we were back out in the fresh air, and we proceeded efficiently down the Braunston locks in the late afternoon sunshine with the same hireboat, and moored up on the towpath just after the ladder bridge in Braunston itself at about half past 5.
It is great to have our own historic boat in Braunston, having been to so many festivals on other people’s boats, and even if the festival isn’t on it’s still a great place to be. As we came down he bottom lock, we saw Yarwood, with Lesley waving as we passed, and so we popped back to see them after mooring up.
We’re now in the Boathouse, waiting for our two-for-one meals to arrive. All in all, a good day’s boating.