Sunday 16th July
Shortly after I sent my last post we heard the distinctive “Chuff, chuff, whiffle” of a Bolinder semi-diesel engine and there was the impressive sight of Royalty Class boat William approaching.
They moored behind us and I discovered that William is operated by Inland Navigators as a ‘back to basics’ canal camping boat and is the only boat of its type, currently available for skippered charter.
In the morning there was no doubt when they were getting ready to leave, although not being driven as enthusiastically as in the video below!
I should have said we are now on the Grand Union canal which has locks big enough for two narrowboats side by side. We had heard murmurings that there were problems with one of the locks at Braunston so we reconnoitred as far as the Admiral Nelson last night and found all was now well, so we set off up the [double] locks alone this morning which went well until the last one where an oncoming boater thought he should bring his boat in before we had exited.
Then it was through the 2,042 yard tunnel, which was fairly dry, only meeting one boat on the way and moored at Norton Junction where we decided to have lunch at the New Inn Long Buckby Wharf. Their on-line menu looked promising and we chose our food beforehand but on arriving found only their Sunday Roasts or snacks were available. What a pity they didn’t state that on their website, so we settled for a drink and ate on board. [for reference their full menu is not available on Sundays OR Mondays.]
Monday 17th July
We now headed off up the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union, called at Welton Haven Marina for diesel and a pump out and were soon alongside the roar of the M1 and Watford Gap Services. When we arrived at Watford Locks there was a queue so we had a bacon & egg brunch while we waited about 1½ hours until it was our turn. The volunteer lockies were most efficient and with Joy at the helm we accomplished the seven locks in an incredible 45 minutes according to my GPS.
We covered another 5 miles through some pleasant countryside, through the not-so-dry Crick Tunnel, past the adjacent Crack Hill with its beacon and found a sunny mooring at Yelvertoft Wharf for a day or two.