Day 2, Stanground Lock to Ashton Lock, River Nene
Mainly though it is because of the locks, which are clearly the work of satan, designed to sap the will and induce despair in the most cheery of people. It’s not that they’re hard work – although some are – at least that provides a challenge and a sense of achievement. It’s not that there are lots of them – the Huddersfield Narrow has exactly twice as many, but is so, so much more rewarding and enjoyable. It’s not that they’re big or scary – though they can be, a bit. It’s not that they’re slow to fill or empty; they’re not. It’s that they’re just so bloody relentless. Every one has to be left empty, with the bottom gate open. I’m not sure which is worse; coming down like we did last year, when we had to fill every one before we could use it; or going up like we are now, having to empty every one after us. The worst one actually was the one that had been left full, so we had to empty it, go through, and then empty it again. They have standard V gates at the top, which are fine, but guillotine gates at the bottom, which take forever to open and close, whether electrified, or using the big, completely smooth stainless steel wheel specially designed so that it cannot injure the user in any way no matter how stupid they are, but an absolute pain to use.
Oh, enough moaning. We have made good progress today and are tied up in a nice spot just off the main navigation above Ashton Lock. I remembered it from last year. We came through Stanground at ten past nine this morning and travelled solidly for nine and a half hours. The engine temperature stayed at a lovely steady seventy throughout. What miracle could have wrought this? Perhaps taking the thermostat out this morning?
One other interesting thing I forgot to mention yesterday. John Shotbolt told me that Martin Duiker, who painted Warrior’s roses and castles, had been in touch with him, because he’d read that I’d written about him on here. It wasn’t
No picture tonight owing to lousy reception.