Yes, we are on the move at last! We are on our journey around the Thames Ring; well that's the plan. We left Yardley Wharf late this morning in bright sunshine, southerly winds and spring in the air. We were not deluded enough to think it was going to last but we did make the Stoke flight before it rained. And yes we are going north to the Oxford Canal and hoping to travel down the Thames.

Spring on the Grand Union near Yardley Gobion

There were plenty of young lambs in the fields around Grafton Regis but there was also a flock of swans eating oilseed rape in a field. Having eaten the odd rape leaf in my life, encouraged by a farming friend, it doesn't taste to bad to humans; must be delicious for swans.

Swans eating oilseed rape at Grafton Regis

The Stoke flight was relatively quiet. Nobody else was going up but we met the Admiralty Class working boat Collingwood coming south, complete with a full set of glass fibre blue covers. We also met two very inexperienced boaters coming down the flight taking it slowly. One was going through their very first lock - Stoke Top Lock. It was uncharacteristically quiet in Stoke so they didn't have to go through the lock with the usual audience.

Blisworth tunnel was also quiet, just one maintenance boat going south, and the "wet end" certainly lived up to its name. We moored up around 4:30 in Blisworth because it was clear that the rain was going to continue well into the evening, and it did.