Lunch With The Sheep, 27th August

Norton Junction to Cracks Hill, Leicester Section

Wish the sun was out

A couple of boats came past and turned left at the junction before we pushed off, this suggested we’d be in a queue for the locks. Oh well! We pushed off and turned left too, only to pull in almost straight away to top up on water. A load in the washing machine had just finished so the dishwasher went on.


The two boats ahead of us were both filling with diesel at Welton Hythe , the first one winding too, maybe our luck would be in. Soon we were passing the service station at Watford Gap then ducking under the road bridge.

Hang on! The Thai/Chinese restaurant that has been gradually been getting more and more dilapidated is having a make over. Painted grey with new windows and fencing along the canal edge. I wonder what it will be?

Bloomin Watford

As we approached the bottom of Watford a boat was just coming out from the bottom lock and there was no queue, we hadn’t even moored up before a Lockie waved us in, a first for us. We ascended then swapped over with another boat in the next pound, ascended the second lock and then pulled in to wait for the last downhill boat to finish in the staircase.

Watford Staircase

The volunteer Lockie stood and chatted for a while. Today we were the third boat to go up, a very quiet day. They had started with one of the side ponds virtually empty so the downhill traffic had helped fill it, even so they’d had a boat ground on one of the cills going into a lock.

Gates and bricks

This chap had been on duty the day the sink hole appeared on the flight. A little hole had appeared just by the towpath side gate. He said they stood there and prodded it with their windlasses, wondering what it was. Then they poked a stick down it, six to eight feet deep! More of the top surface fell away and the locks were closed for a while to access them. For a while that lock had to be manned, ropes used to open and close the gate. The hole was then filled with large chunks of aggregate and then bonded together with resin. The top surface filled with concrete and bricks to match what had been there.

All that’s visible now

It is thought that the sink hole was created by water coming in from a red paddle and making its way through the brickwork on the opposite side of the lock. This then over time has scoured out a cavity behind the lock wall eventually giving way. Thank goodness no one was stood on it when it happened!

Going up

It being lunchtime we were left to do the staircase by ourselves, they checked we knew which order to do the paddles in first. ‘Red before white and you’ll be alright’, yep we were fine, I quite like doing the staircase on our own.

What a lovely flight, shame about the noise!

The levels were a bit down but we managed over the cills fine, we’d been warned of quite a leek on one of the gates and to stay back in the lock to avoid it. The chaps had just finished eating in time to close the top lock gates for us.

Still going up

Rubbish was deposited as we rose up the final lock of the flight and then we were off aiming to moor for our own lunch with the sheep before Crick Tunnel. Plenty of space with a few sheep to keep us company across the way.

With coats and life jackets on we entered Crick Tunnel, prepared to get wet towards the far end. We passed three boats, one with a very smoky engine and the last one had just entered the tunnel.


ABNB, where we bought and sold NB Lillyanne, have moved to North Kilworth, the pool in front of the old office now almost empty. Signs are advertising the moorings.

Looking unkempt and locked off

The Moorings bistro alongside Bridge 12 has now sadly closed. Signs say you can only moor for water and elsan. Another sign advertises The Red Lion in the village, well worth a visit especially if it’s pie night! We’d booked ourselves a Sainsburys delivery to The Moorings, but we soon noticed a gate across the entrance. Our shopping is now cancelled and we’re looking for another handy spot to moor for a delivery.

A new building on the far side of Crick Marina

We looked for familiar boats, they all seem to have had a bit of a mix up since we were last here, no one where they used to be in Crick Marina. During the show a lot of boats get moved to make space for the show boats, usually to the far end of the main pool.

Space for a friend

Pootling onwards we hoped for space at Cracks Hill and we were lucky. Here you get about half the amount of dog walkers you do nearer the village so it’s a touch more friendly for Tilly. We pulled to the back of the rings, hoping we’d get a neighbour this evening.

Cracks Hill

7 locks, 5.75 miles, 1 left, 1 tunnel passing 3, 0 mysterons, 1 full water tank, 1 pesky gate, 7 sheep, 1 mooring for 2, 3.5 hours, 1 rendez vous awaited, 1 test result in.

PS For Karen, here is a link to the Szechuan Pork recipe I made the other day. I didn’t have proper Szechuan peppercorns but used Rainbow peppercorns, which are a mix of black, pink, green and white peppercorns with All Spice and Coriander seeds. Enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Lunch With The Sheep, 27th August

    1. Pip Post author

      And we’ve just missed you by another day and a half too! We’ll be following you for a while, but at a slower pace I suspect. Enjoy Hatton tomorrow

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