Saturday, 5 June 2010

Weedon - (Change for Crick)

Although our route today would take us through Crick, where the Crick Boat Show was taking place, we assumed (wrongly as it turned out) that tying up there would be a nightmare so we had planned to carry on to somewhere where Kris could pick us up and take us to the show by car the following day. An early start took us straight into Husbands Bosworth tunnel, through North Kilworth and past the junction with the Welford arm. 
At Yelvertoft I thought this bridge looked familiar
A trawl through some of the old 35mm slides that I've digitised recently showed that I had been here before - in 1973!
The occasion was a trip from Leighton Buzzard to Nottingham on a pair of camping boats "Elstree" and "Lyra" and I think the photo was taken to record a spot of difficulty we were having negotiating the bridge, which was being rebuilt. Although memorable, that trip hasn't exactly gone down as one of the best I've ever had and I may get round to telling the tale one day.
Although the canal at Yelvertoft and towards Crick was lined with moored boats, when we actually got there we found that we could have had a choice of mooring spots within easy walking distance of the show. However having made arrangements for tomorrow we had to carry on.
We were heading for a lunch stop at Watford locks. Watford is a sort of smaller version of Foxton, albeit even more complicated. From the top there is a single lock, followed by a four-rise staircase then two single locks. As at Foxton there is a queuing system but here there are two passing places: above and below the staircase. 
Sunshine at the top of the four-rise staircase at Watford
There was a line of five boats waiting to descend when we arrived and I was a bit surprised to be told to follow on down after the boat in front - an ex-Challenger shared ownership boat we were to meet again. Perhaps it was shift-change time, but there seemed to be at least three lock-keepers in attendance and communication between them could have been better! Having been told to follow the boat in front, we were then told to wait above the staircase, before finally being instructed to carry on down. The boat behind us was told to wait for an uphill boat, which resulted in me telling the boat waiting at the bottom that we were the last ones through, only to find that the boat behind was actually following us down!
At the bottom of the flight a gap in the hedgerow gives access to Watford Gap services on the M1! Not the sort of place you'd choose to spend much time at, but handy for toilets, showers and basic shopping and we duly took advantage before carrying on to Norton Junction, where we turned left and went down the locks to Weedon.

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