We've had a very busy couple of days and have finally done some real travelling for a change.
Yesterday was lovely. We left early in the sunshine. There was a bit of a nip in the air and you certainly know that autumn is coming, but it was great to feel a bit of warmth for a change. We had a long stretch with no locks, so I took the opportunity to stay inside for a bit and do some writing. Persi number three is coming along nicely.
5We were approaching Husbands Bosworth tunnel and the trees were giving us a preview of what it would be like! Even with all of them overhanging you can still see that it's sunny above.
Before we knew where we were we arrived at the top of Foxton Locks. These were the first locks I ever went through and I can remember the lock-keeper explaining how to manage the boat in a lock and I've always tried to do it as he told me. We had to join a queue and we were number five. There were two boats coming up so we had to wait for them. For those who don't know, Foxton is a set of ten locks, set in two staircases of five locks each. There's a space for a couple of boats to cross in the centre but otherwise, once you start you just keep going from one chamber to the next.
Rather lovely statue at the top of Foxton Locks. Surprised how big the horses were, but then given the job they had to do I suppose they were pretty big.
Coming into the top lock, fantastic view! Beautiful day.
When you're in a staircase lock chamber the up gate is necessarily very tall. I was a bit worried at the leaks coming from this one. When you know that there's all that height of water behind you, you want it to stay there!
John was joined by a lovely young couple who were on honeymoon. He was a civil engineer and was fascinated by the locks and how they all worked. They ended up going down the whole flight with John, helping out with opening and shutting the other gate, and John explained exactly how it all worked to them.
We went over to the pub by the lock for a meal last night which was lovely. Not sure what's happening to me but I had fish! I'd also had fish for lunch. This is not like me at all.
We went for a walk this morning as I wanted to go to the museum to buy a plaque for the back door of the boat showing we'd done the locks. Another one for the collection.
I was able to see the locks from a slightly different angle. This was from one of the bridges by the gates, looking up to the top five locks.
Today wasn't so nice as yesterday but at least it stayed dry for us.
We came through another tunnel today, there are quite a few on this stretch, each getting slightly shorter as we go further north, for some reason.
We came around a corner to the first lock of the day and there was a hire boat waiting to go in. We shared the lock and I was chatting to the lady on the boat about them wanting to get their own boat and saying how we had been in the same position. John was chatting happily to the guy as they did the gates. We left first at their suggestion saying that we'd prepare the next lock for them.
We got there, got the lock full (we'd been following a boat going down so they were against us) and I got the boat in, no sign of them. John held the boat while I ran back until I could see the lock but no sign of the boat, so we went on, on our own. Very strange. Neither of us got the impression that they weren't happy locking with us.
We stopped for lunch and another boat went past us, but not them. When we started out again we found that boat mooring up and I called out to the woman if she'd seen the boat, Apparently they moored up just under the lock!
We got to the next set of locks to find two boats waiting. Apparently CRT were having to run some water through because some little darlings in Leicester had opened some gates so there was an empty pound further down.
Here we are moored up against the second boat that was waiting.
Here are the two boats setting off once the CRT had come up and shut the paddles again. The couple on the blue boat had only bought the boat a couple of days ago and they had a lovely little dog called Sherlock!
Look carefully and you can see a little hairy dog peering around the edge of the boat looking for me. I see this so many times each day but it still makes me smile.
As I came out of the lock I had to get into the side because two boats were coming through breasted up together. They found they couldn't quite get through the bridge together and so they had to untie. One boat had broken down, the young couple had only bought it a few days before and were having to get it to a boatyard where it could be repaired, poor things. It reminded me of us having to tow a young couple in exactly the same situation, luckily with no locks. This couple had to pull the boat into the lock and presumably tie up again when they got through. We didn't like to tell them that there are some really narrow stretches ahead of them, with deep reed beds on the tow path.
These locks fill up really quickly until the last couple of inches when the pressure is low. Here I am a couple of yards away waiting for the lock to fill. It occurred to me that this is probably an angle that not too many people would have seen before.
This is something I haven't seen before. Plants growing so far down in a lock. I wonder if it's because the locks tend to leak so much that the walls are damp but not underwater like most locks would be when the locks are left full.
We were hoping to moor between this lock and the next but there were no pilings just deep reeds. Luckily there was just a boats length at the end of the lock mooring and we managed to squeeze in there. Very luckily as it turned out because by the time we got moored and the back up, it had started to rain. We've got Leicester to get through probably on Sunday, and everyone has warned us not to moor there, so we're trying to work out how to time it right. Just hope that it isn't raining.