We said fare well to our friends' garden mooring early this morning (Sorry to disturb you!) and plied our way past the maturing Kingsbury Water Park with their varied habitats for various species of bird and mammal. We could see goose pond and swan lake. We heard the raucous alarm calling of coots on their preferred patch of water and saw the little isles that terns colonize in the spring and early summer. The Summer visitors that probably inhabited the reed and brush have gone now, leaving the willow and hawthorn to perhaps a wintering shrike or hawfinches. The sand has been taken and one conveyor bridge has gone too. I could not see any remaining sand cliff to attract sand martins but who knows what is out there. Most pits are water filled now.
After the sands of the Thame valley we come to the rise out of it up Curdworth Locks, 11 in all. We didn't have to empty any of them! The first boat to meet us was nb Mad Hatter, who are members of our fellowship. They are doing the Warwick ring to finish off their summer cruising, as you do.
We have been this way before: in the opposite direction on our very first waterways holiday in 1999 and several other times too. I love the peace on the water and in the fields when only a couple of hundred yards from the morning madness of the M42.
|Peace and calm, Curdworth Locks|
There will be more noisy interruptions to the peace of the waterway when HS2 roars over lock 8!
|zoom in to see the sign "HS2 bridge starts here"|
They soon gave way to us and moved on to the next lock. Waiting for them to clear the way gave an ideal time for a bacon roll and a cup of coffee. We followed the work boat through Curdworth Tunnel and they pulled over to let us pass.
Minworth locks are protected by antivandal devices which sent us scurrying into the boat for a "handcuff key". I am not sure that these are effective but certainly inconvenienced us! The top lock at Minworth also had workmen in attendance. This time a contractor sealing behind the brickwork to stop sidewall leakage. After the bottom lock we looked for a mooring. The towpath refurb has provided lovely concrete coping stones and all weather surface but it is not suitable for driving a mooring pin into . Not boat friendly as they say! So we had to continue to the black and white bollards just south of Butler's Bridge (A38 Kingsbury Road).
From there a long walk to the 110 bus for the ride back to Fazeley and the car! Home to a take away tandoori!
9 miles, 14 locks, 6 hours