|"Chalice" passes "Badsey" and my brother Pete's old butty "Angel".|
|Wrong priorities - enough water is more important to boaters than poetry!|
|The problem with push tugs is the time necessary to rejoin them at each lock.|
However progress up the flight was painfully slow. It didn't need to have been so, but a number of things were not helping, including.....
1) Low pounds for much of the way up.
2) A single volunteer lock-keeper insisting on working a lock in the middle of the flight in a certain way, whilst there was no equivalent control at any of the other five locks.
3) A general reluctance by people to actually move their boats in or out of locks, even when gates were fully open, and they could have got going.
4) People "turning" locks in the face of boats coming the other way, even though it was not advantaging them at all, because all it meant was they might join the next queue slightly sooner than they might otherwise have done......
....... and breathe........
|One of the periods of waiting at Braunston locks|
At the locks at Long Buckby & Whilton, we did rather better, although once again low pounds were a common feature - is it really impossible for CRT to keep levels up in locks like these, given they are all supposed to be back-pumped? The people we shared with were happy to let us on our way first at the bottom of the flight, after which we pressed on determinedly.
By now we were starting to work out if we could possibly reach Stoke Bruerne - something that had seemed highly unlikely whilst crawling through Braunston locks. It might certainly be getting dark, but as the final two miles are mostly tunnel, darkness doesn't affect that bit of the trip. Fortunately someone is monitoring Stoke Bruerne visitor moorings since the changes made by CRT, and consistently reporting a surprisingly low occupancy. So we knew if we slipped through the tunnel late we would have no trouble finding a mooring.
In fact we made remarkably good progress, and it was still part light as we exited the tunnel, and quickly found a mooring.
After more than 12 hours of boating we now wanted an easy life, and this was provided by another excellent take-away from the Spice of Bruerne restaurant - not forgetting of course that the time they take to prepare your meal is ideal for slipping over to The Boat for a drink. We managed to avoid the considerable over-ordering we had done on the outward trip, and now have a fair idea how much to buy for a hungry crew of three!
Below Hillmorton Locks to Stoke Bruerne
Miles: 28.4 (Chalice), Locks: 16
Total Miles: 403.9, Locks: 220