Up The Staircase. 29th June

Watling Street to Crick

Once the van was returned we had chores to do before we could make our way up the last lock of the Long Buckby flight. The first job was to put in the new fuse for the bow thruster so that it’s battery could be charged on our cruise today. A load of washing was put on and by the time we reached the water point above the lock it was nearly finished. We topped up the water tank and disposed of all our rubbish.

At the junction we turned right and headed towards Watford. Passing Welton Haven Marina I thought I caught a glimpse of Roger one of NB Winding Down syndicate members. But as we got closer we thought it couldn’t be him as the chap was busy cleaning a cream boat, not the green of WD. The hedge surrounding the marina is now far too well grown and the odd glimpse through to see which boats are at home are far too few to have a really good nosy.

P1060651smA steady stream of boats was coming towards us from the locks. All fairly close together, who ever was manning the flight today was moving boats through efficiently. There were a couple of boats moored up so we tucked ourselves in front of them so that we could have some lunch before we started our ascent. Another boat pulled up in front of us and went to check in, I soon followed to find the Lockie. Two were coming down and we were to wait for them before going up. The boat in front moved up the first lock and had been told to wait there until the two passed coming down. Mick nudged Oleanna up to nearer the lock gates to await our turn.

P1060667smP1060655smP1060658smAn Anglowelsh boat pulled up behind us wanting water before going up the locks. On board was Granny and Grandad, daughter, son-in-law and the two grand daughters along with two dogs. Mum was ever so chatty, so were the girls and all ever so enthusiastic. Tilly wasn’t too sure about them and gave their dogs a hiss through the window. Well they were outside and they had no intention of helping with the locks! Our turn came after a third boat came down the staircase, they’d snuck an extra one in! One of the girls from the hire boat ran up to work a paddle as Mick was entering the lock. Enthusiastic help is all great, but I still wanted to have my home at the top of the flight, so I called out for her to stop. She waited and wound the paddle up slowly as we wanted.

P1060671smOnce we were up into the next lock we were on our own as they all had to concentrate on their own boat now. Helped on and off by the lady lockie we worked our way up the staircase, her husband, also a lockie, keeping an eye on the hire boat below us. As the levels equalised on the top lock Mick checked our tunnel light focus before bringing Oleanna out.

P1060679smThis stretch is very familiar to us, but we’ve never done it at this time of year. Everything is so fat and green compared to two months ago. All the ewes have been shorn very recently, but their babies still have their tight fleeces. It just doesn’t seem right that these huge lambs are still suckling from their mothers who are just about the same size as them! We wondered whether to moor up for the night this side of the tunnel, but decided to carry on and reach Crick today.

With Mick’s new torch on the stern as we approached the really wet section of the tunnel we could see all the veins of deposits made by the water. It made me wonder if we were travelling through a giant Dr Who monster, all slimy and drooling. No photos as it is really wet in there!

P1060686smP1060697smP1060709smPopping out the other side and familiar boats seemed to surround us. NB Waiouru was sitting right outside the office of ABNB, the first boat you’d see. Then in the next section of the marina there was Lillian all jolly and yellow on such a grey drizzly day, she made us smile. We were wanting to moor up as far away from the road as possible for Tilly but a line of boats at that end of the moorings suggested there wouldn’t be space, but Mick spied a gap. The first boat in the line was NB Tyseley, the Mikron Theatre boat. Tyseley hasn’t been well of late, she broke down on the Soar on her way to meet the actors for this years tour. Since then she has had her engine rebuilt at Debdale. We had heard that she was back on the water and suspected that we would pass her somewhere on the Grand Union. The shows at the moment are on a short road tour, which was already planned. So Tyseley must be waiting for her crew of actors to come and meet her to cruise to the next set of waterways venues, most probably on the Thames.

P1060693smAfter mooring up and letting Tilly out we discovered that we had no internet or phone signal, not unusual for Crick. But there was a gap big enough for us at the far end of the moorings. Once Tilly was convinced to come home by the local magpies we moved up to be the end boat. Here we get a bit of signal, which is better than none! First we were spotted by Jane who we moored next to when we first bought Lillian and later on I received a message from Lizzie who had spotted Oleanna’s bow from NB Panda. We’re not as obvious as we once were, she did know that we were on our way.

DSCF7121sm8 locks, 5.41 miles, 1 full water tank, 1 empty yellow tank, 0 rubbish on board, 1 right, 1 wet tunnel, 0 mysterons, 1 hour wait, 1 Anglogerman hire boat, 6 ever so enthusiastic crew, 2 lockies, 2 poles in a rucksack, 2nd mooring better, 2 very chatty magpies!