On Tuesday evening our friends Edward & Anne Winter joined us at Braunston for a local trip and our journey back to Yardley Gobion. We had a very good "Two for One" at the Boathouse, having moved Albert up to the moorings right outside the pub. Good to see it was busy. Working boat Towcester arrived for local deliveries to residential boats in the Stockton area. We managed to squeeze a 65ft Alvechurch boat into the remaining 63ft space outside the pub by judicious positioning of boat bows. The Swedish crew were delighted by the British resolve to fit them in.

On Wednesday morning we decided to travel up onto the Oxford Canal summit. We had a very pleasant trip in sunshine to Napton and then climbed the Napton flight behind several other boats, often in a queue. There were tales of broken paddles, boats stuck in locks and other reasons for the queues but the BW staff carrying out maintenance (they had just changed some lock beams) said it was just traffic volume.

Napton flight bottom lock

Maggie taking Albert into a lock - Napton Flight

We moved onto to a favourite mooring close to Bridge 131 near Wormleighton. Last time we were here in April there were just two boats, this time there were six - summer cruising. Many of the cereal fields were being harvested well into the evening - catching up in the dry weather.

On Thursday we got up early to different weather, wet. Our aim was to turn Albert and then go down the flight to Braunston. There are few winding holes on the Oxford summit so we had to go to Fenny Compton and turn by the wharf. This took in total three hours after which we were ready for breakfast. We moored up near the delightfully named Wedding Footbridge. We then retraced our steps of Wednesday and reached Marston Doles mid afternoon. BW staff were painting the new lock beams and carrying out some running repairs on one lock. It appears they were fixing the metal plate that is fitted to the wooden device that protects the cill. We asked the name and got a confusing answer - "babbie or maybe barby". Will have to carry out some research to find out.

Lock maintainence during the cruising season

As we left the flight at Napton and made our way towards Shuckborough the clouds began to look like a scene from the movie Independence Day! We came upon a group of cyclists who had stopped rather suddenly, one of their group had found one of the many potholes in the towpath and had ended up in the cut! We stopped to help him recover his sleeping bag which had also ended up in the cut. Then a loud clap of thunder announced a huge downpour and we left for Braunston. The steerer got very wet but everyone else didn't so I suppose it wasn't such a bad journey. By the time we reached Braunston the rain had abated and we were lucky to find a mooring right outside The Boathouse - time for another very welcome "Two for One".

Towcester loaded with coal, diesel, and gas