Matt and Ali arrived just after 9am having had to be guided in to the Red Lion by phone. We were soon sorted and set off behind a newish Kingsground boat with whom we shared the first two locks. They were pleased as we had four crew to their two so were able to set ahead. Just as we passed Pitstone wharf a day-trip boat pulled out between us so we ended up sharing Seabrook, Ivinghoe, Horton and Slapton with them until we caught a solo boat at Church lock and so changed partners once again. Our new partner was pulling into the new marina at Grove so we waited for the day-trippers to join us in Grove lock. Having gone down through Grove lock they then decided to stop at the pub and then return to base from there, why they didn’t do this ABOVE the lock I do not know, and so we continued on solo through the last four locks of the day. During all this time Ali was being coached in both steering and working the locks as it was her first visit aboard.
She wrote in the log book “ I had a lovely day on Jannock today, it was the first time I’ve been on the boat. We had fantastic sunshine and great company. I had to drive the boat and was surprised how well I got on with it. Opening and closing locks was a good experience, really hard work and almost a little ‘work-out’ ”
At Soulbury we were third in the queue for the top lock. The two boats in front of us were descending through the top lock to wind in the top pound and then return up again so we switched the engine off and patiently waited for this manoeuvre to complete. Once we had started to descend the C&RT lockie was concerned as the water level in the first (pub) pound was too high and if the middle lock was emptied too quickly then the seating area on the towpath would flood so we descended very slowly and had one of the slowest passages through the three locks that we have ever experienced.
Onto Stoke Hammond and as we were mooring up I noticed an un-usual craft messing about on the other side of the bridge. It resembled a childs go-cart frame fitted with large black plastic wheels that not only provided flotation but also had paddle webs built in to provide propulsion. It did appear to move the craft forward OK but made a lot of splashing in the process.