Having arrived in the pound below Buckby Top Lock, we intended to stay put a couple of days due to forecast rain. We have stayed in this pound previously, and the water level does tend to drop during the day, as boats use the flight. This time however, everytime a boat came up the flight draining a lock of water from the pound, we found our boat listing quite severely. During Tuesday I had to run some water down from the top lock 4 or 5 times, just to maintain a reasonable level. Discussing the issue with the volunteer lock keepers the problem has been caused by CRT removing a course of bricks from the bywash, thereby lowering the maximum water level held in the pound. Consequently today we moved. Once through Buckby top lock, the last of the wide locks, it was only a few hundred yards to Norton Junction where we turned left onto the Leicester Line G.U. We moored in our usual spot, and are now well placed for our trip up the Watford flight, and on towards Yelvertoft tomorrow.
We spent a pleasant weekend moored close to Nether Heyford, but today it was time to move on. The mooring we had is now recorded in our book as a good spot, it is nice and rural, with some good walks and fairly close to a pub. The towpath is wide and grassy, so plenty of room for the four legged crew to play. The fishing however is rubbish. Three days spent, and not a single bite. Clearly all the boat traffic had an effect. On the Saturday we walked to the Old Dairy Farm in Upper Stowe. It was until that point, the hottest day of the year so far, and the clue was in the name, Upper. It was uphill all the way. The centre has a collection of small farm buildings surrounding a courtyard. There is a selection of arts and crafts shops to visit and also a restaurant for refreshments.
Yesterday’s trip to the New Inn for fish and chips ended with some amusement. During our time in the pub the level in the pound between the locks dropped over a foot. It had already been a bit on the low side, but this further drop had been too much for one of our mooring chains. It had snapped, and the base plate of the boat was 3 or 4 inches out of the water at the stern. So, I collected a windlass and returned to the top lock to run a little water down, whilst the crew retrieved the remainder of the snapped chain and our mooring rope. It was during my absence the crew took their first dip in the cut. Fortunately, it was not a full immersion as they somehow managed to throw themselves onto the bank. Sadly, a photo opportunity missed. Today we walked down the flight of locks to visit the chandlers at Whilton Marina, replacing the broken chain and obtaining a spare. We also found a farm shop a two minute walk from the canal. It was very well stocked with fresh meats, sweet and savoury pies and some home baked cakes and cookies. All the produce is direct from the farm. We like to support these small canal side businesses, and this is close enough for us to visit by car when we are back at our winter mooring in Yelvertoft.