To Weedon (May 6)

It was windy and bright as we left Hillmorton. At the top of the lock flight we found NB Towcester preparing to leave. They moved off just before we left the lock and we followed them to Barby Wharf where they stopped to make one of their coal deliveries.

Working boat Towcester mooring up to make a coal delivery

In the process we passed another Albert. Ten years ago we used to see this Albert around Blisworth.

Another NB Albert

We followed a Napton hire boat all the way to Braunston. They turned into Braunston Marina for services and we went onto the lock flight. As we entered the bottom lock we note that NB Moriaty was out of the water being blacked.

It was quiet on the flight and we went up alone although we met some boats coming down towards the top and a pair of boats behind caught us up. The landslide by the tunnel still obstructs the entrance. We wonder when BW will manage to get it fixed. I gather it will take significant resources and this may take some time. We met three boats coming through the tunnel. The last had an annoying pencil beam light, but far worse was the million candle power hand-held lamp wielded by the steerer. He managed to blind Steve just at the critical moment and we managed to put a scratch along Albert’s gunwale. Luckily it is not a bad scratch, but fixing it is a job we could do without. Why do some boaters need to wave a lamp around in the tunnel? It might be “fun” to see some of the structures and interesting brickwork but it doesn’t help steering.

We passed the new towpath repairs between the tunnel and Norton Junction. It looks a good job. At Norton we met up with NB Chamille and went down the Buckby Flight with them. At Lock 8 only one upper gate was in action. It looked like the balance beam had been split. It was slow going down the flight because we followed a pair of single-handed boats and we also met some very slow crews coming up.

Descending the Buckby Flight

We moored up for the night by the bridge at Weedon. We hadn’t moored there for some time. We decided to eat at the Crossroads Hotel but when we arrived at the Watling Street entrance it looked closed with no lights, empty hanging baskets, missing letters on the pub sign, and the main door closed. However, there was a sign indicating that you could get into the building from the rear. Going round to the car park entrance we were relieved to find that it was in fact open and it was business as usual. We had a good meal but it struck us that they are not making the most of the site. At one time it was a very inviting establishment. Don’t they want passing trade?