The locks were straightforward enough until we came to the second to last one (don't remember what number that is). As the chamber emptied slowly, it became quite clear that neither of the sluices was fully closed, despite the paddles being right down. I checked them, just in case. The sluice in the wall on the towing-path side was the worst, but both continued to pour water into the chamber at such a pace that we didn't think it was going to empty enough for me to open the bottom gates. Eventually, very slowly, it did, and Kantara made her way to the bottom lock.
The problem here was at least in part caused by the previous lock. I found the top gates closed, the chamber full, and the pound above it so full that water was pouring over the top gates into the chamber. Against that weight of water, I found it difficult to open the gates to let Kantara in. Once she was in, opening the bottom gate paddles started to lower the water in the lock. As you would expect. But then the lock above us, refilling because of the faulty top paddles, started to overflow at an alarming rate. And the level of the pound below rose to the point that the water again started to overflow our top gates and refill the chamber. Kantara rose slowly, and there was nothing I could do about it.
I was joined by one of the crew from a pair of boats who were now in the faulty lock above. It took him a while to grasp the situation, and it was amusing to watch him try to open a bottom gate against a huge weight of water. The time came, though, when the level of the top pound had dropped enough for it to stop filling our lock, and allowing the water to fall again. The bottom paddles were fully open, remember.
All seemed fine at last. The two boats left the lock above us and chugged down to wait to enter our lock in their turn. The lock they'd left would have to fill up again before it could overflow the gates, reflood the pound below, overflow our top gates and repeat the problem for us. All was well.
Until it became very obvious that the crew of those two boats had failed to close either of the bottom gates. So yet again, the water rushed over the top of our top gates and... you get the picture.
|Looking back at the offending lock|
The next day, Gayton Junction was the first place of any importance, being the entrance to the Northampton Arm of the GU. When we've wanted to use the services here in the past, there have been other craft moored there, and we've had to wait – where there isn't really anywhere to wait. That day, the moorings were vacant – and we didn't need them! Ironic.
Blisworth village has a small but usually useful general store, which was totally useless to us on this occasion, so we moved on to the tunnel. Two working boats were behind us as we approached it, and we allowed them to pass before entering. The extreme flooding we'd seen on YouTube had subsided, leaving behind grassy banks in muddy disarray. But the amount of water falling from the roof of the tunnel, throughout the 35 minutes we were in it, was soggily amazing.
Finding a good mooring in Stoke Bruerne shortly after exiting the tunnel, we tied up for the night. We like it here.