Monday, 16 August 2010

Fenny to Newbold then to Fradley

This part of the Oxford canal must be the wiggliest, following the contour of the land. Just passed Wormleighton the radio mast comes into view, while travelling round the hill the mast is viewed from all four points of the compass. After motoring for miles and not getting very far we reached Marston Doles, this is a very well kept area with very well maintained buildings.
This is the top of the Napton flight that takes you down to the old quarry at the bottom. It looks like the quarry is now closed and being demolished, yet more industry bites the dust. From here to Braunston there's not much to see or talk about except a few wooden boats either sunk or see through. Turning left at Braunston turn and making our way to Newbold, this part of the canal, in fact all the way to "Sutton's Stop" has been re-routed quite a lot, it used to wander round every hill there is. Now it cuts through the hills, leaving redundant loops, some returning to nature and some being used for off line boat yards, such as Viking adrift, sorry afloat, and Brinklow boats. We got to Newbold around tea-time and got tied up just before the rush, by the time I'd done a few jobs around the boat, tapped the home brew, or is it boat brew now, we settled down for the night. Setting off early next morning hoping to make plenty of progress before the battle of the bridge hole started. We didn't get far before we caught up with Dad trying to teach son to steer, it was a bit like the blind leading the short and blind. We watched with amusement and plodded on behind. At "Sutton's Stop" they went round and round and finished up behind us, don't know how but did. The first bridge hole battle was at the narrow bit just on from the junction. A boat coming the other way obviously didn't see the narrow, he hit the wall at a good speed then gave us a good glancing blow. No damage done only to his pride and probably his crockery. After that, we had a steady run to Atherstone expecting to see queues at the locks, but nothing, amazing! As we descended boats came up just right enabling us to leave the exit gates open and entering a lock set for us. Until...we caught up we the boat crew from Benidorm. I'm not a snob by any means, but these people must have booked the wrong holiday.
The first episode was to virtually drain the pound between locks 8 and 9 then after my input, decided to be just bloody awkward at lock 10, to the point I had to open one top paddle to flush their boat out of the lock. At this point one of the day-glow-track-suited half breeds decides to square up to me and make an issue, he soon backed off and they went on their way, albeit very very slowly through the last lock. Not wanting the situation to get any worse we decided to hang back a little and let them get out of sight. We past them at Fazeley taking water, we just made eye contact and left it there. I was in the mood for cruising so we motored on, arriving at Fradley 12 minuets before time was called in the Swan.
All in all, it's been a good trip out but a bit busy for me.

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