They arrived at around 10:30, and after a brew and bacon butties we moved down to the top of the locks. A boat was just going down the top lock, so we would either be very lucky or very unlucky. The luck held, we were told to join the end of the convoy of four downhill boats as no-one was waiting to come up.
Luke, Donna and Andy on the locks. Not forgetting Zac, of course.
The crowds on such a pleasant day got thicker and thicker the further we descended, I reckon Mags had her picture taken several dozen times. Video, too. We had our work cut actually operating the bottom lock, with so many gongoozlers leaning on the balance beams, peering into the lock chamber, and just generally getting in the way.
We pulled in on the main line, beyond Rainbow Bridge, and had lunch. I’d made a beef casserole with roast spuds and Yorkshire puds which went down well. There was even a bit left over for the four-legged crew members!
Of course the main event was Mags birthday! After a walk around the Inclined Plane site we returned to the boat and had a drink and birthday cake to celebrate.
Mags wants me to thank everyone who’ve sent their best wishes, so here you go – THANKYOU!!
Our visitors left us to it later in the afternoon, and I settled down to watch Lewis Hamilton, with a convincing win at the Singapore GP, take the lead in the F1 drivers championship. Team-mate and contender for the title Nico Rosberg struggled with his car’s reliability, and was forced to retire. What comes around goes around as they. Hamilton has had three DNFs to Rosberg’s two, now.
It was cool last night, as predicted, so I put a match to the fire in the evening. It was welcome first thing. Even though it’s been warm in the sunshine today, we’ve kept it in with a couple of logs. It’ll save me lighting it again tonight.
It was just after 10:00 when we got away this morning, the sun had cleared the thin cloud and it was turning into a lovely day.
Another GJCCo mile post where the pattern-maker will have struggled to get all the info on..
A fine morning, steadily warming up.
I don’t think I’d have moored there…
Passing Debdale Wharf, a narrowboat returns to the water.
The canal starts to twist and turn as it encounters the rising ground around Saddington Hill. It’s along here that the feeder from Saddington Reservoir comes in, and there’s a rather nice bit of bank here on the offside too…
A really pleasant mooring, especially if there’s no livestock in the field.
But we didn’t stop here today, pushing on around the bends to the cutting leading to Saddington Tunnel.
The tunnel runs for 880 yards under the hill, and like all of those along here is wider enough for two-way traffic. I half expected to meet another boat in there, after seeing nothing all morning, but we didn’t. The bore is high and brick lined, and with it’s orientation being NW-SE, the sun shines into the southern portal at certain times of year.
Dry at the south end, it’s wetter at the north, with some fine flowstone curtains on the walls. It’s also supposed to be home to bats, with bat-boxes placed along the tunnel roof, but I‘ve never seen one of the little critters.
We were thinking of stopping for the day at Fleckney, but it was such a fine afternoon (only just after 12, in fact) that we decided to push on and dropped down the first five of the thirty-nine broad locks that will take us down to the Trent. (For those that are now counting them, I‘ve not included the flood locks at Pillings, Kegworth and Redhill…).
Kibworth Top Lock and refurbished cottage.
We swapped locks here with NB Shy Girl, so the next was full, ready for us, and then there were a pair of boats coming up Kibworth Bottom, so a short wait before we could drop down that one.
Alongside the lock there’s a strange finger post. Directions and distances to Athens, John O’ Groats, the Olympic Park and Land’s End are shown, but I‘m not sure what the 2nd July 17:06 refers to…
Shapely fore-end, gate paddle rack and a pair of boots at Pywells Lock
Crane’s Lock was our last for the day. Although still well out in the sticks, the graffiti daubed balance beams and bridge indicate that we’re not far from “civilisation”.
We pulled in near Wistow at around half-one.
Mags modelling her latest wardrobe addition, from good friend Val.
“It’s lovely and warm, Val!”
On to Kilby Bridge tomorrow, I reckon.
Locks 15, miles 7