6 June 2018 This was getting serious. We got up early and drove to Cropredy where we left the car. Then slipped the mooring at 0615 and cruised in beautiful dry conditions to Fenny Compton Wharf. Getting into Cropredy lock was almost impossible in a 57 ft boat. One needs to line up and drive through a very overgrown thorn tree on entry. We went to the Wharf Inn and passed some time with the bar staff over a refillable Americano with milk. The boating had been uneventful, except for a need to give way at the "tunnel" where the veg has really taken over but we needed to make some progress and fulfill some responsibilities in Banbury. So we phone our favorite car company for a ride to get back to Cropredy. "There in 5 minutes!" the dispatcher informed us. How could this be? We are at least 20minutes form Banbury. But lo and behold the car came an disgorged two ladies who had just come form Banbury A & E> One was all plastered up having broken her wrist. We switched in Water chaplain mode, listened to the tale of woe that has shortened their holiday and prayed for complete healing. Then we got int he taxi and heard another tale of woe about the rigors of fasting during Ramadan in Summer from the driver. 6miles; 9 locks; 3.75hours
7 June 2018 Now we went for it. Most of you know that cars and boats do not mix bit sometimes it is necessary to put a car ahead so that one can get somewhere else. This morning we drove to Fenny Compton and we boarded Sonflower to find that the water pump was running and the water tank was empty. No particular problem, there is a very handy water point (or two) outside the Wharf Inn. So we mived a couple of boat lengths forward and the Best Mate stepped off the bowdeck of the boat, slipped on slimy wet towpath from the leaky tap and seriously cut and bruised her left shin.
|Fenny Compton shin|
After lunch we descended the flight.There was a volunteer at Marston Doles Lock No 16 clearing ivy from a shed wall. He donned his life saving necklace and operated the off side bottom gate fro which I was grateful as a boat was coming up. We worked down all the other licks with them set against us, following a slow hire boat with four elderly boaters. At lock 9 we were caught in a heavy rain shower and were drenched to the skin before we knew it. When the rain stopped as quickly as it started a volunteer came and did the same for lock 8 as the one at the top lock. After all there was another boat coming in!
We pulled over onto the long term moorings as I had a small job to do for a boater we are assisting that needed a stilson. Unfortunately, my stilson was too small and my inquiries from the CRT Volunteer, who had not yet left because his keyless ignition did not recognise his non-key and the AA were making alternative arrangements in consultation with the manufacturer, informed me that there are no tools of any use about these days.
So all we could do was change our clothes and go to The Folly Inn for the best steak dinner available on the canal.
After Dinner we toodled along the canal a bit and moored in the beautiful evening light a little short of Napton Junction 11miles, 9 locks , 10 hours
8 June 2018 Not such an early start today. We knew our target so no real pressure. We left our mooring at 0715and dawdled to Calcutt Locks passed the moored boats alongside the reservoir. An early starting hire crew on the "Warwick Ring in a Week" ticket had already worked the licks so we started with "a good road".
|Sonflower at Calcutt Lock 2|
|Wild Flowers Stockton Flight|
It did not last long as all the boats going our way were docking at Stockton Top Marina for change-over day.
|Starting Stockton Lock Flight|
No help after that either as we were following two pairs of working boats! The wild flowers
were really nice and we met dog walkers and other local boaters enjoying the tow-paths. But we achieved our aim. 4 miles, 13 locks, 3.3/4 hours
|Canal "view" from Fosse Middle lock|
The tow path had been mown though!
A mid-day lunch break at The Moorings one of our favorite canal-side lunch venues was in sight. We both enjoyed the fare and the pale ale from Wye Valley brewery was a delight. The Best Mate calmed herself with a Bombay Sapphire and Fevertree Mediterranean tonic.
That's what boating is about.
We topped off the day with a good mooring at Cape Visitor moorings and seamless bus journey back to Long Itchington and the car. The only drawback was that the Best Mate had forgotten her bus pass. A small price to pay for the wonders of a few days on the canal. 9.5 miles, 13 locks, 6.25 hours
Back in Banbury we had another G & T, put together a "what's in the fridge" curry and retired early.