Days 33 and 34: downhill all the way

July 28th, 2010

The summit of the Oxford canal is a long, winding stretch that spreads itself over two pages of the guidebook, looping back and forth around the contours. It’s also a bit shallow. There seemed to be a huge number of boats coming the other way – this being a Monday we reckoned a lot of people had started at the weekend from the huge numbers of marinas and hire yards along the canal between Napton and Northampton. This proved to be an advantage when we got to the Napton flight – there was a boat coming the other way at nearly every lock! Once safely moored in Napton village, which seems like something from a children’s book with its village on a pudding-basin hill capped by a windmill, we met up with Chris and Jen, who took us for a most excellent meal at a pub called the Red Lion in Hunningham, a short drive away. It was good to catch up, as I haven’t seen them since I brought Innocenti this way three years ago, on the way to Cambridge!

Day 33: Claydon Top Lock to Napton, 14 miles and 9 locks.

Today I’ve plodded on with the experimental part of the thesis and realised that a few more model runs would be nice. Fortunately I have everything with me to do that, so a day or two next week will be spent crunching a few more numbers. After lunch we cruised on to Napton Junction and joined the big, wide and deep Grand Union main line to head towards Warwick. We acquired a partner for Calcutt Locks, and then swiftly lost them again – they must have stopped for a late lunch. Fortunately, we acquired a cruiser to share with at Stockton top lock and rattled our way down the flight to Itchington Bottom Lock (no sniggering at the back there!) where I nipped to the handy newsagents for a bottle of milk. Long Itchington is busy and so we decided to press on to a more rural spot to moor. As we left the village it became clear that the pound was down by about 25cm (a lot, but then this section is pretty deep) and so it was unwise to moor in case the level dropped further. Instead, we squelched our way to Bascote – going aground briefly in another boat’s wake – and descended the rather nice locks, a staircase of two and then two separate ones. The pound below Bascote had lots of weedy reedy edges, so we finally moored on the pound between Welsh Road Lock and Wood Lock.
Tomorrow, Warwick and then Friday afternoon’s treat will be Hatton flight!

Day 34: Napton to Longhole Bridge, 7 miles and 18 locks.
Total so far: 377 miles, 236 locks. Thesis 10087 words and 58 pages.

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