This is one of the few places on the canals that I have been where I can’t get a 3 internet signal so you will get this post sometime.
This morning several boats went by well spaced out, so after what I felt was a reasonable delay we set of at quarter to ten. As it turned out I timed it spot on, a few minutes after leaving a boat came round the bend behind us, you can just see him in this picture of our moorings, as a bonus as we reached pigeons Lock a boat was just coming out.
Passing the Tea garden on the left just before the lock it has expanded somewhat since last time we were this way with more tents with tables and chairs to partake of afternoon tea and watch the boats go by.
Below Pigeons Lock there was only one boat moored, this length is normally full. We found the same at many other spots where in the past there have been lots of moored boats, I know CRT is ensuring boats move on now, but where are they going to?
On the approach to Enslow there was an inflatable dingy hauled half onto the towpath, on the red out board engine it says “FIRE” At first I thought this a bit suspicious and was about to call the police, you don’t often see inflatable's just left half on the towpath and half in the canal, but as we got closer we could first hear and then see people with chainsaws working beyond the towpath. When we reached Enslow Wharf, a little over a quarter of a mile along the canal this came into view, so that explains half the mystery but what were the Fire Brigade doing with chainsaws down the tow path?
Caravan Lift Bridge looked in a bad way last time we were here and I said then I wouldn’t be surprised to see it all fall in, well this is what it looks like today. As we approached Thrupp a lot of the bank had collapsed along the front of one of the houses, I wonder if this is the householder’s responsibility or CRT’s?
We went just into Thrupp and winded before Aubrey’ Lift Bridge and then started heading north again to Stockton. On the towpath coming out of Thrupp the towpath is lined by lots of long term moorings interspersed with a few 14 day ones, again these were empty. In the photo below you can see the result of boats speeding passed moored boats, this looks like a section or very heave gauge steel pipe, possibly a scaffold pole. As we approached Shipton Lift Bridge it was open and a boat coming through from the opposite direction, it was the same boat that had followed us down the first lock this morning. The advantage for us was that his crew stayed sitting on the balance arm of the bridge holding it open so we could pass through as well.
Yesterday I mentioned a small fibreglass boat that the chap had built himself, well today we saw it again so I thought I would include a couple of photos.
As we came towards Lower Heyford we caught up with a hire boat who was just getting off the mud, as he went under the next bridge he pulled to the side and his wife hopped off with a rope, I assumed they were mooring up when in fact they were waiting for a boat coming the other way passed a line of moored boats, I only realised this as I went past them with a friendly wave. We made things right at Mill Lift bridge where Diana opened the bridge and I waved him passed also apologising to his wife who had walked up also to open the bridge. No sooner had I waved him by and I had to tell him to stop as a Shared Ownership boat coming the other way seeing the bridge open thought they may as well come through. In the end Diana held the bridge open for 4 boats because as I cleared the bridge another hire boat turned up going south so we just waved them through. We moored for the night just above Allen’s Lock and while we were here nb. Progress came by again looking very splendid, It wasn’t Chris Coburn onboard but speaking with the steerer he still owns her.
Our reason for mooring her is this evening we have a VIP visiting us, the famous Mort Bones with her dog Boots of canal magazine fame.
13 Miles and 9 Locks in 6½ hours