Too Many Visitors! Breach 52. 10th June

Norton Junction to The Wharf, Bugbrooke to Evans Bridge 42

Well Shefali said it was going to be cloudy today. I for one was quite looking forward to not having to put sun cream on and having a day off from turning into a lobster. But as we woke there was still an amount of sunshine necessitating the application of cream.

Peeking through the bridge at the junction

A couple of boats came past over breakfast heading towards the junction, maybe they were early through the tunnel, but which way would they be going?

As we got ready to push off another boat from behind did the same, we hung onto our ropes and let them pass as they were just a little bit ahead of us. Would we have a partner for the Long Buckby flight? Or would they turn up the Leicester Section? Seven years ago to the day we came out from the Leicester Section on NB Lillyanne accompanied by NB Blackbird and turned towards Braunston at the start of our life afloat.

We followed the boat down towards the flight where another boat was tied up above the locks at the services. We pulled in at the water point and let the two boats ahead team up, assisted by a couple of volunteers. Never seen volunteers here before.

Ducking under the A5 after the top lock

We dealt with yellow water, fresh water and rubbish then pulled up towards the locks, the volunteers setting the lock for us. Someone came up to tell them that a pound in the flight was very low, possibly too low to navigate. Oleanna descended on her own as no other boat showed itself, I walked on down to set the lock ahead.

The pounds between the top four locks of the flight are quite long, certainly not close enough to walk on to set the next lock then walk back to open and close gates. Even though the bottom gates are very heavy I quite like these locks. Some graffiti brought smiles to us as we passed. We were back in our routine of going down hill, each of us knowing which job to do or leave for the other one.

Boats managing to get through the low pound

The volunteers walked down to check the level in the low pound ahead of us, although I think they had been beaten to it by a full time Lockie. At Lock 10 the bottom gates were open and soon a chap in blue arrived. We closed the bottom gates, leaving a paddle up on one gate then he lifted a paddle at the other end, sending water down. All we could do was wait and watch as the boats ahead of us made it into the next lock and then onwards.

Volunteers helping at Lock 11

The lockie walked back and forth, checking the troublesome pounds level and then that of the one above. After quite a wait he was happy for me to close the bottom paddle and fill the lock and be on our way.

Now on the flat we made our way with the noise from the M1 for accompaniment.

The towpaths were having a hair cut. A duck smoked a woodbine. We passed three Tilly boats. Batman and Robin rested their superhero bones and a koala peeked out from a welldeck.

Odd window out

At Weedon we noticed the nice metal windows on the back of a building for the first time. Have these always been here, but just covered in ivy and masked by trees. One window has been replaced, I quite like the difference.

Weedon Visitor Moorings empty

All the visitor moorings on the embankment were empty again, not even Heather Bleasdale was leaning out of her window to say hello.

Tilly watching the woofer

The diesel point at Rugby Boats was free so we pulled in to top up the tank, at 79.9p a litre this was far better than it would have been in Nuneaton. Tilly sat in the window and kept a very close eye on the dog. Sitting out of the water was NB Cream Cracker, we are pretty sure that seven and a bit years ago this was the first boat we looked at. She is currently under offer and presumably out of the water for a survey.

Onwards past a spillway where C&RT chaps were installing a dam. It looks like work has been done to one end of the spillway and they were about to start at the other end. Not sure if one chap was assisting in holding a scaff bar in place or had just come for a chat.


We soon arrived in Bugbrooke our stopping place for the night, a late lunch was followed by a sweep through and tidy up as we were expecting a visitor. Our friend Lizzie works for Unusual who are based just by the West Coast Main Line here in Bugbrooke.

Arc in need of some TLC

It was decided that we’d have a cheeky drink at the pub, so as soon as Tilly came home we locked the doors and headed over the bridge to find an outdoor table. After a couple of hours and a bottle of wine we were just about caught up on everyone’s news. Lovely to see Lizzie again, plans are being formed for a bit of a get together sometime later in the summer.

Shame Tilly wasn’t in the window

Back on Oleanna we were about to start cooking when Mick noticed that we had quite a few visitors. Somewhere on the bank there was an ants nest, most of the occupants were now having a great time on Oleanna! They marched in through the side hatch ready to explore further!

Despite a couple of glasses of wine we decided to move on getting away before news got back to the nest and more visitors might arrive. Being alongside the railway it took us a couple of miles before the track got to a distance we thought we could cope with, a handy M appeared on our map so we pulled in. The sheep behind the sideways trees filled the gaps between the trains going by. After sweeping down the outside of the cabin we finally sat down to eat at 8:50, Tescos Indian with homemade gluten free nan breads.

7 locks, 10.75 miles, 1 low pound, 3 coming up, 2 super heros, 1 stiff paddle, 4 train tickets, 2 nights hotel, 1 clean (inside) boat, 1 toy box opened up, 6 toys selected, 2 hours catching up, 1 bottle Pinot, 45636768235246 ants! 2 mains for £5, 2 homemade fluffy nans, 1 koala!

Breach Update from C&RT today

The Aire & Calder breach repairs remain on track and the navigation due for opening by mid-August.  During w/c 5 July a phased re-watering will commence, levels will be increased gradually and monitored by our engineers.  The cofferdams will remain in place until the phased rewatering is complete.  

We continue to do everything possible to get the navigation and towpath back open as soon as possible for everyone to enjoy.

Please see separate notices regarding arrangements to book passage through Pollington Lock and Sykehouse Lock.