Posts Tagged ‘south oxford’

Day 47 – Napton on the Hill to Cropredy

Sunday 9 August, 2009

Griggs didn’t like the early alarm but still managed to emerge in time for locking bleary eyed. Michael was up and out preparing to set off immediately after the alarm and we were on our way very shortly after 7.00. We passed many moored boats en route to the locks and found another boat just starting to ascend as we arrived.

We made reasonable progress until boats moored in the flight starting pulling out in front of us. At Marston Doles (the last two locks before the summit pound) we rounded the corner to find a very long queue and were the sixth lockful through. We breakfasted and Nick managed a shower while we waited.

Good progress was made across the summit we considered stopping for a lunchtime pint at the Wharf in Fenny Compton but pressed on to the Claydon flight. Again progress was slow because many boats were on the move. We struck up a regular (lock-by-lock) conversation with boat in front Selene Rose and enjoyed chocolate brownies bought at the top lock. It was very hot and there was little shelter from the burning sun.

Varney’s Lock had bunches of flowers laid at it. A couple of weeks ago a lady lost her life here when falling off the back of her boat and getting tangled up in the propellor.

Cropedy is full of boats in anticipation of the annual Fairport Convention festival. There are no moorings to be found at all so our regular overnight stop here (and trip to the Red Lion) had to be missed this time. We moved down towards Slat Mill lock and moored up just before (at the second attempt after finding a wasps’ nest).

Menu: bacon sandwiches or cereal and toast; pork and egg slice with salad; poppadums, chicken rogan josh with sweet potato and cauliflower baltis.

Day 46 – Brinklow to Napton on the Hill

Saturday 8 August, 2009

We headed to Newbold on Avon after an oil change, hopefully the last of the voyage. Here we met Chris Griggs and Nick Balderson who were to join us for the remainder of our trip. We watered, dumped rubbish and recycled numerous empty bottles before the four of us moved on south through Rugby to Hillmorton Locks.

Tardebigge entered the bottom lock shortly after a hire boat had entered the adjacent paired lock. We almost instantly overtook them and made good progress to the top of the three locks. For several days we have been following Yalding around. Michael chatted with them at the top lock and we passed them at Braunston for the last time. They were heading to Calcutt but we carried on to Napton. A message was relayed to Nisha beyond Braunston that Yalding was on its way.

After a failed attempt to stop at a pub for a lunchtime beer (due to lack of mooring opportunities) we drank onboard and lunched on the move. We passed a remarkable number of boats between Hillmorton and Napton, often in conveys of four. We’re a little bit concerned that our passage up the Napton flight tomorrow could be very slow due to the number of boats on the move. An early start has been decreed!

We temporarily tied up a long way short of the Bridge Inn to investigate moorings but found nothing nearer the pub so the temporary mooring became our overnight spot. The pub was closed until 6pm so Chris, Nick and Michael ventured into the village for refreshment before returning later where they were joined by Bernard.

Menu: cooked breakfast or cereal and toast; pork pie and ham salad; roast leg of lamb followed by cheese and port.

Day 3 – Napton Bridge to Bulkington Bridge

Friday 26 June, 2009

We’re not in the pub tonight. It looks very boarded up.

This morning was very misty and we experienced a mighty downpour just before Wigram’s Turn. It was just after this that there were three skylarks vying for the highest point in the sky. We passed through Braunston without incident (just). It was only afterwards that we encountered many and various boats heading for the rally – Hilmorton locks were extremely busy.

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Wildlife watch: somewhere between Hilmorton and Rugby, we saw a red woodpecker! Fortunately the ant count has been somewhat lower today (probably a result of Bernard’s “kill one at a time” policy).

We moored for water at Rugby, and made a stop for provisions (adding to our steadily growing herb garden). Unfortunately the weather changed drastically at this point, and an unplanned lunch-stop was called for whilst the rain abated.

Newbold Tunnel

Newbold Tunnel

Luke got very excited about his first journey through a tunnel, but the expected rabbit warren turned out to be a long bridge with exciting lights (which extinguished themselves as we left, leaving the next boat in darkness).

Careful planning ensured that Michael joined within seconds of our arrival (on time) at the agreed meeting point.

Warp 9

Warp 9

Table for four, please

Table for four, please

Today’s menus: Various breakfasty sandwiches, lunch – pork and mustard sausages and assorted salads, dinner – steak and leek casserole with an oriental twist followed by melon and a choice of cheeses with port, and finally single malt whiskies.

Tonight’s sleeping arrangements will involve the extra excitement of an added snorer. Luke’s experiment with anti-snore spray last night was applauded (nobody in neighbouring boats was awakened) but only partially successful. Further trials continue.

Day 2 – Cropredy to Napton Bridge Inn

Thursday 25 June, 2009
Heading up the Claydon flight

Heading up the Claydon flight

Hooray – we’re at a pub!

We got under way at about 7.10 this morning. Stopped at Cropedy where Luke purchased “essential” supplies. The shop no longer stocks Calor gas so we continued on with an empty bottle. Reasonable progress until reaching the Claydon Flight where things slowed down somewhat. Pulling in at Fenny Compton we managed to succeed in our gas mission and now have two full bottles aboard. A new crew member also joined us here.


Luke relaxing on the Napton flight

Luke relaxing on the Napton flight

Luke reckons he has eaten his bodyweight in flies (so much for the vegetarianism). This probably happened on  the Oxford Summit as there wasn’t much else to do.

The Napton flight saw us slowing down again. At the first lock we found two boats ahead of us and a number of others followed us all the way down. At the last lock we received some much appreciated help from the BW staff.

Bernard pulling in to a lock.

Bernard pulling in to a lock.

Shortly after getting to the bottom it was decided that our 10 hours running time was well over so we moored up. Fortunately we managed to find a mooring spot that was well-equipped with both mooring rings and a pub. Bernard and I quickly headed up there to sample a few pints of Alton’s Pride (and meet a dog called Sidney) leaving Luke to prepare tonights culinary adventure.

Today’s menus: various breakfasty sandwiches, boat-cooked gammon sandwiches with salad and runny egg mayonnaise for lunch, and Khutti Dhal, Mattar Paneer and sticky rice for dinner. Dessert is best described as chocolate brownie pudding with ginger custard.

Reports are that Braunston is heaving with boats so another early start tomorrow to make sure we don’t get stuck in that.

Day 1 – Lower Heyford to Cropredy

Wednesday 24 June, 2009

After months of preparation, the Tardebigge centenary tour finally got underway just before midday today. Quite a slow start up through the Heyfords but after getting away from slow boats ahead of us near Somerton Deep we made good progress. We didn’t quite make it to Cropredy but have made it to Slat Mill Lock and are moored up just before bridge 156. Luke has had his first go on the tiller and has so far avoided any major incidents. The wildlife count is high – kite, kingfisher, heron, and plenty of ants on board. A spider seems to have already taken up residence on the bike.

Today’s menus: lunch – tuna salad, dinner – gammon steak in cider with mushrooms, Sichuan pepper and herby mustard sauce and fresh vegetables. Cheese followed.

Early start tomorrow to stock up at Cropredy then on to the Oxford Summit aiming for Napton bottom lock or Braunston.