Third Up. 11th September

Lock 17 to Gayton Junction, Grand Union Canal

Tea in bed with the Saturday newspaper! Followed by a cooked breakfast, no fresh tomatoes on board so beans took their place on the plate. Yum.

Hmmmm Yummmm

Then we joined the Geraghty zoom, much of the conversation this week was about the queen and a memorial for archaeologist. It was good to see everyone as always.

Binty Bint has been busy adding bees

Time to get a move on, we’d already been passed by NB Ivy May and just before we started to roll up the covers a cruiser came past, so any advantage of the locks having drained overnight or from a late night boater coming down the flight went to Ivy May. There is also another way of looking at it, if there was lack of water on the flight, they would need to sort it.

The flight is known for it’s weed

The first four locks are quite a distance from each other. Here depth is lacking. I think it’s always shallow, just exacerbated from having spent most of the last 19 weeks on rivers with plenty of water under Oleanna’s hull. Add in the amount of reeds floating around and you make slow progress. Mick only had to go down the weed hatch the once though.

A charred border to the canal

Along the off side bank there seems to have been a fire recently, lot of the sideways trees and friendly cover burnt to a char. It appears that there have been two such fires in the area when the ground was so dry, maybe even started deliberately.

Rising up

Once under the M1 the thick of the flight starts. The murals under the bridge reminded me that next time we are down this way we’ll need to spend a few days in Northampton to explore properly.

The M1 from below

The bottom gates have their handrails on the other side to normal, so my kicking the gates open method was not going to work, or it would end up giving me aches in my knees, not what is needed at the best of times let alone in the run up to Panto. I don’t step across the bottom gates as many do, the railings prohibiting this also. I did however have an idea that might save walking round the lock for a second time.

Mick closing up

Maybe the boat hook could be of use. I requested it and managed to pull the off side gate closed, however the gates were just that bit too heavy to push open with the hook. I was very glad of my very grippy shoes as I pulled the gates closed, we’ll see what muscles ache in the morning.

Setting the lock above

After a bit of thinking we got our rhythm back again, me walking ahead to set the next lock as the one below filled, not wasting any precious water. Mick closing up the lock below once Oleanna had risen and exited the lock.

Only one boat came down the flight, the boat ahead getting the advantage of any empty locks apart from one for us.


The higher we got the better the views across Northamptonshire.

At the bridge below the second to last lock a figure stood looking down the flight, waving cars on as they arrived. This could only be one person, Leon. We met Leon eight years ago when we brought Lillian up the flight after just buying her, he helped with a few locks that day.

Leon on the bridge

Today there was a lot of banter and I’m certain it wasn’t water in Leon’s water bottle! He is well known in these parts and apparently very handy with a windlass, he’s been known to assist boaters far and wide, he just asks for 24 hours notice.

Last lock of the flight

As we rose in the last lock of the flight a Diamond Resorts boat arrived under tuition. They proceeded to wind in front of us as we waited in the lock. They were followed by another boat who did the same, don’t mind us we’ll just wait here! It was a bit of a shame that neither boat had let us pass as we now followed them both at a crawling pace back to Gayton Marina, where they both pulled in.

Slowly does it

Should we top up on water? We decided that it could wait for tomorrow if there was space around the corner to moor. Sure enough there was, we turned right and pulled into the first space available, just far enough away from the road for Tilly to go out.

A very welcome cuppa followed, then a shower, then a touch of work, followed by roast pork and a glass or two of wine to celebrate reaching the Grand Union Canal proper and being just a touch ahead of schedule.

16 locks, 4.87 miles, 1 right, 2 ahead, 1 coming down, 1st cooked breakfast in an age, 1 Leon, 1 joint of pork, 1 crabbies, 2 glasses of wine, 2 hours shore leave.

3 thoughts on “Third Up. 11th September

  1. Anonymous

    Decent looking breakfast your yum.
    Better looking than my Campervan effort but you’ve had much more practice!

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