Monday, 30 June 2014

Through to Crick

Day 4: Weedon Bec to Crick
Leaving Weedon Bec will take us along the Grand Union main line for a while before turning right at Norton Junction up the Leicester arm.
It rained last night, heavily at times, and just as several things have already malfunctioned (shower pump, engine mounting, the log ...) we realise there is a faint drip around the chimney and the fridge is warming instead of cooling. The milk is already sour.
After a body and hair wash in the basin we're off, sandwiched at times between west coast trains and M1 traffic but heading north towards Braunston as all the milestones tell us. We spot a surprising number of old working boats with their long cargo holds and small cabins and we shoot through seven locks partnered by a young couple with an immaculate working boat - A and N Buckle from The Nene - to reach the New Inn at Norton Junction for lunch at 12.30.

Norton Junction
The Fish and chips are good, the waitress hard working, the barman lugubrious and often disappearing as soon as customers enter the pub. We attempt to bid him a cheery farewell but he avoids our gaze as if we'd taken advantage of him. Don't go there if you're looking for bonhomie.
Now the decision is whether to crack on and climb the seven locks at Watford or to moor at the bottom and reserve the pleasure of climbing to the next day. At this point the insistent rain clears for awhile and we decide to motor on.

Watford locks is a set of six partly in a staircase (where the top of one acts as the bottom of the other) and as I opt to do the locking for a change I'm greatly relieved to find that there is a lock keeper willing to help us on our way. Malcolm is a friendly and able CRT volunteer who knows what he's doing and guides me through the red and white side paddles as we work our way slowly uphill.
Crick Tunnel
And so to the top and on a short way to Crick through the Crick Tunnel, gloomy and dripping but literally with a light at the end of the tunnel, which is reassuring. Do wear waterproofs as you go through.
The Moorings restaurant at Crick

And finally we are out at the Crick marina with only a short trip to Welford tomorrow.
Apart from lunchtime the rain has held off, but the fridge has definitely given up the ghost. Nevertheless Patience has done well and the end of the journey is in sight. It's been attractive country scenes and tow path all the way and tonight we can relax in peaceful moorings (it's quietest after the bridge and a little away from it).
In the evening to a very busy Friday evening at the Red Lion, where it is too hot to stay long, and we are thoroughly soaked in a sudden downpour on the way back to the boat.
Today: 10 miles, 14 locks, 6.5 hours

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