Thursday morning, and we were a little behind on our plan to get to Bugbrooke by Friday evening, so we quickly headed off to the top of the Watford Locks flight (a lock, a 4 chamber staircase, then two more locks) to find someone ahead of us just starting to head down. We thought we were in luck, but the lock-keeper had other ideas – he had a single-hander at the bottom who had been waiting a while, and was going to help him up the flight before allowing us down.
We’d waited here before! In better weather, it must be said. And if you want some pictures, there are doubtless some from September 2015 somewhere, but dinner’s just been served.
About 45 minutes later we got the metaphorical green light from the lock-keeper, and we headed on down. The paddle mantra here is slightly different from that at Foxton – “Red before White, you’ll be alright; White before Red, smack on the head”. We made it down without getting a headache.
Joining up with the Grand Union Main Line at Norton Junction, we decided we’d better bite the bullet and carry on down the Buckby flight of locks too. We’re back in wide beam territory, the seven locks are hard work, quite a few were against us, and we were glad to get down to the bottom.
The only problem is that the M1, the canal, the West Coast Mainline and the A5/Watling Street all run together within the width of couple of hundred yards. Tying up by Bridge 18, the M1 is almost next door, but the road works, a shiny road new surface and a thick hedgerow meant traffic noise was surprisingly low. The trains were another thing altogether but tail off overnight. No sooner had we packed up for the day than a farmer came to cut his hedge: really must be the season for it!
Anyway, after working 14 locks, we slept well despite Virgin Trains’ best efforts.