Summer Cruise – Day 81

Wednesday 26th August – Day 79

Having moored two locks down the flight I figured that as soon as I saw the first boats coming up we would leave, as this would ensure the locks were set right for us, but the best-laid plans of mice & men were thwarted when a boat went down the locks far too early.

We waited for the expected convoy to start appearing, but then I got impatient and dropped down Adkins Lock as there is a gap before the next lock. This strategy paid off as a boat was just leaving the next lock as we arrived, this happened all the way down the flight and with Iona’s help too we were at the bottom by 10:20. We topped up with water and carried on safe in the knowledge that there were no more locks today.

We soon reached Wigrams Turn (aka Napton Junction) and spotted a boat named Jenny Wren (not that uncommon, in fact, there are at least 63 of them listed here) but when someone called “Chris” I realised it was our friends Graham & Judy who we met on the Grand Union canal back in 2010 details here. A stop and a chat were obviously in order as we hadn’t seen them since August 2010 but had kept in touch with Christmas cards and knew that they had been boatless for a while, but now own Jenny Wren!

A trip down the weed-hatch revealed a length of orange rope around the prop shaft, progress was much smoother with that removed!

We followed them for a while until they moored near Bridge 102, then blow me we hadn’t gone another mile when a familiar boat appeared from behind a clump of reeds, it was nb Celendine with Barry & Ruth from Upper Heyford on board, so another stop was called for. Tea & cake were shared and I cleaned out our Fuel Guard water trap/sedimenter and removed some gunge.

We left them about 3:30 and motored on to Braunston where we turned left and found a mooring just after London Road Bridge.

Thursday 27th August – Day 80

I made an early start today at 7:30, with Joy & Iona still in bed as we wanted to be moored in Rugby by lunchtime so that the girls could do the regular Thursday on-line art lesson.

We reached Hilmorton Top Lock by 10:00 and at length my crew emerged but a kind gent who was walking his dog opened to top gate for me and we exchanged locks with oncoming boats through all the locks.

These are ‘paired’ locks but one of each pair was out of action but work had begun replacing a broken paddle on the bottom lock and repairs on the others planned to follow.

Onwards through the building works of the new town of Houlton & it’s ugly new bridge, past Clifton Cruisers and just after 11:00 we were in Rugby.

We were getting low on diesel and gas so I phoned around to check where I could get some and was amazed at the responses:

  • Willow Wren: “We only keep stock for our hire fleet.”
  • Rose Narrowboats: “We haven’t found a way to make sales Covid secure.”
  • Lime Farm Marina: Didn’t answer the phone or respond to my message left on voicemail.

The only positive response was Armada Boat Hire, but they were only open until 1:00 pm on Saturday when we would be passing.

Then I had a brainwave where was Fuelboat Auriga? A quick check on Facebook showed he was at Sutton Stop and would be at Newbold tomorrow. Result!

Friday 28th August – Day 81

A dash down to Tesco between the showers and we were away, a short hop to Newbold to meet up with Rick on fuel boat Auriga this afternoon.

We had been moored an hour or so when nb Katherine moored behind us which used to be Graham & Judy’s boat. Then nb Keeping Up went past who we bought a fridge from a few years ago, what coincidences.

Now all fueled up ready to head for home.

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