Friday, 30 September 2011

Autumn Cruise - Day 21

There was a fantastic sunset through the trees last night.

This morning it was misty again.  We didn't need to get going early, as the Claydon locks are opened only at 10am at the moment, because of water shortages.  Even so, while we got ready two boats went past.  When we got to the bottom of the flight, it appeared we were sixth in the queue.  It turned out that one of the boats wasn't going anywhere, so we were fifth.  In the event, the first boat was allowed to start up the locks at about 9.45, and we entered the bottom lock at 10.30.  By then boats were coming down, and we met southbound boats at every lock and got to the top in 45 minutes.

The summit pound was quite shallow, and going seemed very slow.  We went through the most northerly lift bridge, and then through the Fenny 'tunnel', which used to be a tunnel, but had the roof taken off.  There's a lovely little bridge which takes the towpath from one side to the other; it has a big road bridge towering over it.

We stopped for lunch at Fenny Compton, where there was plenty of room.  One of the boaters I'd taked to on the Claydon flight said the summit was a bit like a ghost town, and so it was: all the moorings you'd normally expect to be full were almost empty; we passed just a handful of boats going the other way, when normally you'd expect dozens.

Adrian went to the little shop at the Wharf Inn for eggs, then we set off again.  It was a beautiful day (if anything, too hot!) and the rolling Warwickshire countryside looked lovely.  At one point on this quiet, winding summit, there's a sign showing where the planned high speed rail line will cross the canal; as good a reason as any against it, I would have thought.

As we approached the end of today's journey, a hare ran alongside the canal.  I don't remember ever seeing one before, but they're easily identifiable as they're so much bigger than a rabbit.

We moored up at the top of the Napton Flight of locks, at Marson Doles.  There are restrictions with these locks too, and we're fourth in the queue for the morning.  Not long after we'd moored, a helicopter flew low along the canal and landed at the property on the offside.  It frightened another hare (or maybe the same one), giving me another opportunity to get a shot of it.

Once the temperature had dropped slightly, we washed the towpath side of the boat, which had got very dusty over the past three weeks.

12 miles, 5 locks.  (344 miles, 196 locks)

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