Newton Harcourt (Summer’s still here)

We headed off for Newton Harcourt mid Tuesday morning.  Our friend Stuart, who lives nearby, had kindly sent us the grid reference of a spot that would make the most of the sunset.  He was absolutely right and we also got the chance to get the washing dried during the afternoon.

All the locks we went up seemed to have quaint names; the first was Double Rail lock with its elaborate overspill channel.

 Next was Kilby lock in the village of Kilby Bridge.

At Kilby Bridge we stopped for a while to dispose of our rubbish and visit the book swap stall.  We always enjoy the book swaps on the canal as we usually manage to pick up one or two books on our wanted list.  This time we got a Donna Tartt novel that was new to us – The Little Friend; like The Goldfinch it is daunting as the font size is so small and there are nearly 600 pages.

People who live along canals often leave boxes of excess fruit on the towpath and karen picked up some picking apples in Kilby.

The delightfully named Bumblebee lock was next and the bottom gates kept blowing open once the boat was in.  I held them together while Karen opened a paddle to start the filling operation that would keep them closed.

By the time we got to Tythorn lock Buddy made out he was exhausted.

As with Monday we only met one boat on the move all day which made it feel like winter rather than a late summer’s day. It was difficult to find anywhere to moor for lunch as the sides were either too shallow or reedy.  As it was so quiet we just stopped in a lock for lunch.  We sat outside so could see if a boat was coming either up or down but none came and we were able to eat undisturbed.  The next two locks were Turnover lock and Bottom Half Mile lock.

Half a mile further on we went up (the unsurprisingly named) Top Half Mile lock.  I made a basic schoolboy error here and forgot to continually check the line wasn’t too taught.  When Karen opened the gates I couldn’t release the line from the bollard and it was tilting the boat slightly.  So we had to close the gates again and let some water out to level the boat up.  The first time that has ever happened to us during thousands of lock operations shows why you always have to be vigilant.  In this instance I was chatting to a couple of passing walkers.

This is going through Wain Bridge where Karen and Buddy got off to go and get Spinney lock set for us.

The ninth and final lock of the day was Newton Top lock.

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