Perfect day for doing locks and cruising. Our distance today is not great, maybe three miles but another ten locks.
Di didn’t mean to sound aghast in the video at the locks ahead as she does like the challenge of doing them – well, driving through them – not the actually lock gates and paddles themselves.
This pub was a couple of locks up the flight and we had frequented it back in 2019. Guess many of you are wondering if we are raving alcoholics considering how many pubs we have frequented on this trip. Often, we just pop in for a shandy at the end of the day and then back to the boat to have dinner. We usually eat at the pubs when we have company.
So, as you can see, it is quite the plethora of boats. For non boaters, this looks like total chaos. But this is all very orderly and by using common sense and politeness, it all goes smoothly. It also helps if you are the first up the flight as it much easier for many reasons.
This bridge denotes that you are halfway through the Stockton Locks which is the name of the flight we are doing today. So, we are currently still climbing up the Grand Union canal.
This particular hire boat did give Di and Janet some grief as there were six people on it of which everyone of them was the captain yelling orders at the driver who only knew two speeds – ramming speed and stop. At one stage he smacked into the wall with his nose nearly throwing an elderly lady standing on the front of the boat into the water. The best action to take in this case is to stay weellll back and wait until they are safely secured to the side of the canal.
Coming to the end of the locks now and the last time that we will get the opportunity to do dual entry into a double lock as going forward we have single locks until we get onto the Thames River. Once on the Thames, they are locks that are automated and huge.
Dave and Janet are heading down to Southampton tomorrow by car for a couple of days to look after two of their grandchildren whilst the parents go off to celebrate their wedding anniversary. They have booked the boat into a marina for the four nights that they are away.
A couple of old beauties which were being driven by a very young couple. They had the old two stroke engines in them which give off a distinctive thud, thud sound. We have often spoken about how we would cope with this sound which sits in your chest even when you pass them. Goodness knows what it would be like if you were constantly in contact with it.
We continued a little further up the canal and put on some diesel and water as well as have some lunch. We had to cruise up to where the Grand Union joins the top of the Oxford Canal as there were no suitable moorings.
We walked back to the marina where Janet and Dave had booked into and joined them for a final cup of tea and a hug from Toby. It has been a wonderful few days with the guys with lots of laughs and fun card games. We are sure we will meet them again somewhere. They have been advised that we stick like velcro to our friends and there is no detaching yourself from us.