Locking Up

Now we are on the Leicester line of the Grand Union canal, or the Grand Junction carrying company, as it used to be known. we have almost reached our destination.

We are only planning 24 miles

We are booked to have the hull blacked at Debdale over the winter. And as luck would have it there are planned winter stoppages around Husbands Bosworth, which means we can’t hang around in case we got caught on the wrong side. No stormy clouds to start the day.

Looking northwards from the wooden bridge at Norton Junction, firecrest is third on the right

We pushed on and the day’s journey took us past the Watford Gap service station on the M1. And each time we wonder if those hurtling up and down the country have any idea that life in the slow lane is a mere stones throw over the barrier. Despite our gratitude to the haulage companies responsible for keeping the shelves stocked, we’re in no hurry to swap our 200 year old super highway for the modern version.

There’s a four lane motorway behind that hedge

We got to Watford flight nice and early before pening time at 10am, to be greeted by the volockies, “oh we’ve been here since 8, we always are.” Consequently instead of mooring up and enjoying a boaters breakfast, we set off up the flight straight away.

Half way up

It’s a very pretty flight of 7 locks, 5 being a staircase, which means extra care and attention is needed to manage the water flow. Instead of the water being directed into and out of the pond inbetween locks, there are side ponds.

Water whooshing into the side pond

It’s all very logical but countless people get confused and end up with no water in the lock they are aiming for or flooding the boat below, hence the reason no one is allowed to use them without a lock keeper. And to be honest i struggle to articulate how it all works, but I do know the correct sequence to get it right.
But it’s a pleasant flight and takes just over 30 minutes to reach the pond before the final lock.

Almost there

Then only a short hop to the Crick tunnel

The southern portal

but enough time for us to enjoy a Braunston Bacon Buttie.

You can’t beat a bacon buttie when you’re cruising

And onto some lovely rural countryside.

Just another lovely bridge

We decided not to stop in Crick this time, but pushed on to Yelvetoft, where the welcoming committee came to check us out.

Swanning around