Norton Junction - Buckby Flight

We left Bugbrooke at 9:00 today in sunshine and headed north. The forecast was for heavy showers from around midday. We had a pleasant trip through Heyford and exchanged quick words in passing with Colin Dundas at High House Wharf about painting Albert’s bow flares. We got to Whilton (Buckby bottom lock) about 11:30 and found ourselves going up as a single boat. After the third lock the rain started. Hailstones to start, followed by heavy rain and then very dramatic thunder and lightning. Good job we have got all the waterproof gear! 

Newly refurbished coal & fuel boat at Weedon

Floating arbour at Whilton - it used to be a dinghy

The locks have had some maintenance done on them over the winter but operating them you wouldn't know. The gates are as heavy and difficult to operate as always. The third and fourth locks in particular are pigs! The bottom gates are very heavy to move and the top gates won’t stay shut! Do those specifying and carrying out maintenance ever operate the locks?

Locking in a hailstorm on the Buckby Flight

Arrived at the moorings just below the top lock at Norton Junction at around 1:30 and called it a day, we aren’t due into Braunston until tomorrow. The weather then cheered up but as we got towards evening the heavy rain returned. We took the opportunity to polish the internal brass. Got the engine looking good – with lots of elbow grease.

Couldn’t resist an evening meal in the New Inn. We both had gammon – large portions so a doggy bag came in handy. It was cosy in the pub with a large game of Northamptonshire skittles (hood skittles according to Wikipedia) in progress. Good to see the pub busy after its recent closure.