It was time to leave Crick and head in the direction of Stoke Bruerne. Unfortunately the weather was not to impressive when I stepped off the boat with Paddy this morning at 7am for his walk. We were up early, because the idea was to set off early, so we would arrive at the Watford Locks early enough to fill up with water and get down the locks before the queue's start.
7.30am we left the mooring and crept past the moored boats, heading for Crick Tunnel. There were no other boats using the tunnel, but there were Bats flying up and down the tunnel keeping us company. It may well have been we woke them up. It is the first time we have ever seen Bats in Crick Tunnel, so maybe it is a new haunt for them. Crick Tunnel was built in 1814 by engineers James Barnes and Benjamin Bevan, and it is 1528 yards long. We arrived at Watford Locks and Terry the lock keeper was there and the locks were open. He informed us that a boat was coming up and we could then head down, so we decided to fill up the water tank and empty the rubbish whilst we waited. We also got to have a good old natter to Terry about allsorts of things, which included the state of the canals at the moment. Even Watford Locks is in need of some TLC. We waited for about and hour and then it was our turn to descend the flight with a couple of other boasts behind. Terry (lock keeper) told another boater he could come up the flight once we had all got down, but in the meantime, they could come up the first two locks and then pull into the layby. By the time we had worked our way down the staircase the hireboat was coming out of the second lock, but had not pulled into the layby as told, so I had to go and ask them to pullover and tie up, but they were struggling. With my instructions and guidance, I managed to get them to reverse their boat back towards the lock, so that I could grab their centre rope. I then hauled them into the layby and moored them up. Paddles up we descended the flight worked towards the last two locks. The gentleman on the hire boat, said "I now know why you wanted us out of the way, otherwise you would have collided with us". I explained to him, being 70ft we need all the water we can get, which made him laugh. I think it gave them a bit of excitement.
10.50am we arrived at Norton Junction and turned on to the main line heading towards the Buckby Flight. There was a boat already in the double lock and he was closing the gates, so Keith got on the Klaxon to let the gentleman know we were coming and would share the lock with him. He did wait for us, which was apprechiated. It soon became apparent that he was single handed and was grateful for our help, as he was a virgin boater of three weeks. David and his nb Mabel are heading for Milton Keynes and is as he put in on a learning curve. I can honestly say I worked flippin hard working all of the locks for both boats, but I still found it enjoyable. As Keith and David moved the boats, I walked between the locks on the flight. The pounds were very low for the first four locks, which is not good, especially with the amount of boats using the flight. When we arrived to work the last of the flight, there was a queue waiting to work up the flight. We said cheerio to David who moored up and wished him well as we carried on our way. I made lunch on the run as it was now 12.30pm and both of us needed something to eat. I reckon I worked off a few calories.
This boat caught my eye. It is a throw back to the 60's and 70's in its colour scheme. They clearly wanted the whole affect because the fenders are also very colourful. This boat made up a group of boats moored up together a long with a tented village, which has been developing over a few months. We passed our friends Hilary and Andy on nb The Maisibert, but there was no one around. We also passed our friends David and Elaine on their nb Patience, but once again no one at home.
At Bugbrooke there is a boater with a sense of humour. Or maybe he is really a Grumpy Old Git. We had a long day today travelling from Crick to Bridge 42 on the Grand Union Main line between Bugbrooke and Gayton junction. But it has been a pleasureable day cruising the 14.9 miles, I worked 14 locks, in 8hrs 20mins, phewww! Still just a short run tomorrow to Stoke Bruerne ready for the weekend, which we are both looking forward to ;0)