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Autumn Colours on the Buckby Flight

Over last weekend we covered the final leg of our journey back to Kingfisher Marina. We arrived at Braunston on Friday lunchtime just in time to enjoy lunch at the Gongoozler's Rest. It was quite being half-term and with the imminent closure of  Long Buckby locks for maintenance. We went up the Braunston flight with a crew of two bearded men. I know that lots of male boaters are bearded but these two looked like brothers but who in fact weren't when Maggie questioned them.

Large & Small boats descending  Braunston Flight

Because plenty of boats were going down the flight we made good progress although this was somewhat marred at the fifth lock when it became clear that we had picked up something significant in the propeller. That significant object turned out to be a pipe fender and its lanyard. It took around 20 minutes to clear by which time our lock companions were well ahead in the tunnel. It was also beginning to get dark. We made good progress once the prop-fouling was cleared but found the tunnel full of smoke. As we made our way through the murk it appeared that there was boat in front coming towards us with and erratic light. Our assumption was wrong it was our companions from the Braunston flight who were making exceedingly slow progress in our direction; we ended up coasting in neutral until their boat suddenly accelerated and their exhaust magically became clear. We passed them in the gloom as they moored up just after the tunnel. They explained that their engine was struggling, presumably with something around the prop. We carried on in the dark using our navigation and tunnel lights until we moored up at Norton Junction. A trip to the New Inn followed.

The next day was misty to start with but the mist soon cleared and it was clear and bright. We travelled down the flight alone but made fair progress - the gates on the Buckby Flight are some of the heaviest we know.  A barge at Norton contained the gates ready for the work on Lock 12.

New lock gates ready for fitting

Lock 12 with its temporary gate repair
As we got to Brockhall we met the boat we had shared locks with on Friday - it was being towed. It appeared that their engine had expired after its earlier exertions. We passed them and then made for Weedon. At Dodford quite a plethora of interesting working boats has grown up over the last few years including Royalty Class boats, George, Mary and William. They had been joined temporarily by Mike Askins Victoria. Tim Carter popped his head of a boat to say hello. Their historic camping boat William looks very smart.

More historic boats

In glorious sunshine we finally made Stoke Bruerne in the late afternoon. It was too late to go down the flight so we moored up for the night. I was in  time to catch the Rugby World Cup Final in the public bar of The Boat. The resurgence of the Australia team in the second half made it thrilling and there was some good banter. That night we treated ourselves to an excellent take-away from the Spice of Bruerne.

On Sunday we took the short journey to Yardley Gobion. The weather was glorious and unseasonably warm. Going down the flight we met up with the crew of Silver Lady who were moving their boat from Fenny Compton to Kingfisher Marina. It turned out that their new mooring was just two boats away from ours. 

Its nice to have Albert back at her home moorings. We spent the rest of the day packing up, cleaning the boat, organising our power line and meeting the neighbours. It appears we are moored near a sociable group. We don't anticipate taking Albert for a summer break away next year.