London, Scotland and Some Canals

Stratford Upon Avon to Banbury - II

Thursday 6th October 2022
Friday 7th October 2022
Saturday 8th October2022
Sunday 9th October 2022 2022
Monday 10th October 2022 2022

Thursday 6th October, 2022

Grand Union Canal

Grand Union Canal

Drop Cap oday I walked the first three locks in lovely sunny weather, then settled in to watch the world go by. We reached the junction at Kingswood at lunch time, then did a pumpout at the CART station. Lunch was a creamy mushroom and garlic pie with tomato and cucumber salad and a warm sherry trifle topped with meringue. Most of our lunches have been vegetarian, which suits Sean who is a vego. I don't mind either, as long as it has taste! And Natalie's cooking is certainly tasty!

Hatton Flight

Beginning the Hatton Flight

Drop Cap fter lunch we turned off on to the Grand Union Canal, a first time for us, a lovely broad canal, lined with huge oaks and other trees I knew not. Very attractive. Brian had wanted to reach the top lock of the Hatton Flight by 1600 and then do the first fifteen of them by day's end. We are running quite a bit behind schedule. But we got stuck behind a very slow boat and didn't get to the lock until 1700. So we moored up and tomorrow we will have to do the whole twenty one! Shades of Tardebigge.

Drop Cap ac and I walked down to look at the lock flight. Unlike the locks we have done so far the Hatton Flight are broad locks so we can put both boats in breasted up which will be much quicker than having to double every lock.

We haven't found a pub since Stratford, so have no idea what is happening on the outside. Maybe tomorrow.

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Friday 7th October, 2022

Signage at Hatton

Signage at Hatton Top Lock

Drop Cap ell, today we did the Hatton Flight of twenty one locks. The day started out beautifully with sun and a fresh wind, but deteriorating to heavy rain after lunch. Unlike the Tardebigge which started with little fanfare beyond a general feeling of "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" the Hatton had lots of boater amenities, café, parks and information signage. Of course, being broad, there was more room and the Grand Union Canal, being broad, is more like a river in some parts.

Hatton Flight

Broad Locks on the Hatton Flight

Drop Cap orking steadily we made it down the flight, breasted up, so only having to do them once, in what Brian says was record time for him. Having several boats come up, leaving the gates open, also helped, but without Elizabeth, Mac, Sean and even David 1 for a while, it would have taken much longer.

Hatton Locks

Lockfall (Some Maintenance Needed)

Drop Cap e had lunch on the outskirts of Warwick, mooring close to a gigantic Tesco where Natalie and Richard did a load of shopping and Mac and I went also because I needed a few things.

Hatton Flight

Room for Nature in the Midst of Locks

Drop Cap fter lunch, pea and ham soup, fresh rolls and nectarines in rose wine, there was a long lock free pound through Leamington Spa and Mac and I rested in our cabin. I actually fell asleep while it was pouring rain, and woke an hour later to brilliant sunshine. I thought I must have slept over night!

A few more locks led up to the Stockton locks which promise another busy day tomorrow.

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Saturday 8th October, 2022


Bulrushes on the Towpath

Drop Cap glorious day from the off. A few locks in quick succession. Then a break for a couple of miles which Mac and I walked, for exercise (for me at least), he's had plenty more than enough exercise this trip.


Locking Again

Drop Cap e headed up the Stockton Flight which terminated at a boatyard with a waterpoint so we moored and filled up while we ate a ploughman's followed by lemon syllabub. There was quite a long pound before the next locks so we enjoyed sitting in the sun and relaxing.


Flourishing Nature in the Locks

Drop Cap hen we reached the junction and turned on to the South Oxford Canal we started for Napton, passing the famous windmill as we went. We soon started climbing locks again. The country was lovely and rural, we saw a herd of water buffalo, very strange in that scene. Natalie made delicious strawberry cream cupcakes for afternoon tea, which were most appreciated by the weary lockers, (who actually included her). After one final lock we are hoping to moor somewhere pleasant and not too far from a pub. Don't bank on it though.

Drop Cap nevitably we moored in the country, not even a building in sight. We went for a short walk along the towpath as the sunset blazed, then the full moon rose, accompanied, I am told, by Jupiter. A spectacular evening. Dinner was chicken caesar salad, filo wrapped salmon with new potatoes, baby corn and sugar snap peas, followed by baba au rhum. And very nice too.

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Sunday 9th October, 2022

Sunlit Canal

Sunlit Canal

Drop Cap nother lovely day, but one which pointed up the problems caused by fine sunny days. We had to wait for the locks at Napton to open because they are running restricted hours to save water. Once through there was nearly the whole day of meandering along the contour Oxford Canal which is so shallow that Mac had to pole us off a couple of times when we grounded.

Canal Building

Old Canalside Building

Drop Cap he wind was quite chill, despite the sun, so we went inside and enjoyed it under glass as we passed through pleasant bucolic scenery, very green despite the alleged lack of rain. We passed some old buildings and new works for the controversial Hs2 (high speed rail line) which is being built through the country with a bridge over the canal. We passed a "Glamping" park complete with residential tepee, and a strange field which held a pond containing a narrowboat, beside but not part of the canal.

Glamping Tepee

Tepee in Glamping Ground

Drop Cap e ate lunch on the move, vegetable frittata and salad, plus oranges in cointreau, very good, but had to go very slowly past many moored boats and groundings so we did not make the Claydon locks before they closed at 1500.

Claydon Flight

Too Late!

Drop Cap o we moored close to the top of the lock flight hoping to be off early tomorrow. With luck we will make Banbury tomorrow night. And it will be over.

Dinner tonight was roast tomato soup, roast beef, yorkshire puds, roast potatoes etc, and bakewell tart and custard. Yum.

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Monday 10th October, 2022

Lock Cottage

Bridge Cottage

Drop Cap he last day dawned brightly although it had rained during the night. We set off for the three Claydon locks and then had a quite good run in towards Banbury. On the way we passed some pretty scenery and picturesque lock cottages, in one of which was parked a gypsy caravan on wheels.

Marina Boatyard

Marina Boatyard

Drop Cap e called in to a major marina and boatyard with lots of resident boats and boater facilities. These complexes are springing up everywhere on the canals, we have noticed, probably due to CART regulations which enforce a permanent mooring for all boats except continuous cruisers. I wish there were also more visitor moorings on the towpath.

At Banbury

Richard Checks it out at Banbury

Drop Cap e were going quite well after lunch when there was a problem at one of the locks. The butty was caught up on the lock gate and then shaken off to fall a couple of feet. This caused the top pintle to jump out of the rudder and will probably need a boatyard with a crane to fix. We did not have time to go back to the one earlier. Nevertheless we carried on and finally moored in Castle Quay on the outskirts of the city of Banbury.

Crown Quay Banbury

Crown Quay Banbury

Drop Cap t may be a bit of a hike to the Railway Station tomorrow but at least it will be on footpaths not towpaths. We discovered the way to the Station was easy, just down the marina towpath, past the locks and there we will be, apparently. We are moored on a very brightly lit marina complete with shopping centre and leisure centre which incorporates a bowling alley. We aren't trying to find wifi tonight, too tired and have to pack up. It can wait until London when we will see what has been happening while we have been incommunicado.

It was lovely to see Rosie again as she joined us at the marina. Last supper tonight was camembert baked in filo, chicken, rice and vegs, and profiteroles with cream and chocolate. Yum! The buck stops right here! Or at any rate, when we get home and get on the scales!!!

To London tomorrow. Hope there aren't any strikes.

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