IT was another bright morning when we awoke – a bit more cloud, but still warm and sunny. We set off at about 9.30 – this seems to be becoming our normal time this trip. I walked Ozzy along the towpath for a while, and was hailed by Tom and Jan on nb Waiouru, who had leapfrogged us as we were about to set off. I was assured that Rog hadn’t abandoned me – he was following. An hour of so later we were at Hillmorton locks. We again encountered nb Waiouru, and slowed for a quick chat. I was hanging out the laundry in the front cratch and Tom paid me back for yesterdays photo of their laundry by taking one of ours! They had charged their batteries and had decided to stop above the locks for the rest of the day. Tom very kindly came and worked the first lock for us. For the uninitiated of our readers, Hillmorton locks are ‘twinned’ – 2 locks at each level – it makes for a very fast passage as there is almost always one ready. Sorry, no photo today as I didn’t have my camera in my pocket, but here’s one from last year.
The sun was shining last September when I took this – today the clouds had rolled in.
There were 2 lockies on duty, one at the middle lock and one at the bottom. Now, I know they are volunteers and don’t get paid, but I sometimes question C & RT’s wisdom at using 2 lockies at what are probably the easiest and fastest locks on the system, but none on the Buckby flight and only one miserable sod at Braunston – surely they would be better employed elsewhere, at least at this time of year. I understand that these locks might be a little confusing at first to holiday boaters, and can see that they might be needed in August, but on the 2nd June, in a very quiet period? No, not necessary.
On the moorings just below the bottom lock, we again encountered Sanity Again, who must have passed us this morning while we were still in bed!
We had the normal slow crawl through skanky Rugby, and on to Newbold and the lit-up tunnel. Over the years the bulbs have blown and not been replaced, now there are just 3 lit.
There used to be pink, green, purple and blue, but the 3 that remain are all blue.
As we exited the tunnel we spotted a boat adrift across the canal ahead, with another boat coming towards us. Throttle back to tickover and we crept towards it. Just before we reached it somebody appeared on the back and it straightened up. As we passed there was a poor bloke, soaking wet and covered in oil – he’d had something around his prop and had to get head first down the weed hatch. A single-hander, he’d had no way of getting to the bank so he’d just had to let it drift while he untangled whatever it was.
No harm done and he was on his way again, very wet, dirty and bedraggled, but none the worse for his ordeal.
We are now moored in Brinklow Marina for the night. Brinklow is to be Windsong’s new home from October, so as we were passing we thought we’d drop off our application form in person, and the harbour-master very kindly offered us a free berth for the night, so we accepted as there are very few decent mooring spots between here and Hawkesbury Junction.
11.2 miles and 3 locks