We started the day with a flight of seven locks, including the one that had been out of action for four days. We paired up with another boat to go through the locks, and the skipper reminisced about the time they had waited sixteen days for a lock repair on the Kennet and Avon Canal. Locks involve a fair amount of physical labor hoisting paddles up and down and opening and closing gates. Paula does all of this. I just deliver the boat to the right place, and try not to get caught on the cill or the lock gates and sink the boat.
Going through locks you want lots of traffic coming the other way, so the water level will already be OK for you to enter the lock. Tunnels not so much. We were unlucky today, and had five boats coming the other way in the Braunston tunnel which is a bit over a mile long. A couple of them had super bright tunnel lights guaranteed to blind oncoming traffic. Damn you, LEDs. I’m already pining for the days of dim twelve volt incandescent bulbs. Another month on the cut and I’ll be talking about the good old days of oil lamps.
Anyhow, we scraped by the oncoming traffic in the tunnel and then discovered that we had another six locks to go down. We had not noticed this perviously because we had been using a Pearson’s canal guide, and unlike pretty much every other cartographer in the world, Mr. Pearson no reason to put north at the top of the map. Like it says in Hunting of the Snark, “What use are Mercator’s North Poles and Equators?” Actually, the North Pole on a Mercator projection is infinitely far away, which is where I would send Pearson’s cartographer. Six locks downhill we moored at Braunston Marina, where we met my cousin Mary and her husband, so today’s post will be truncated after a few more pictures.