Upper Thames Prologue (Weedon)

So, we finally went boating this year after months of other activities including an extended tour of Scotland and a trip to Bruges and welcoming our new granddaughter. I had planned to start blogging on the day we left, or soon after, but it never appeared convenient. Boating should be about pleasure and I enjoy blogging about my passion but when on the move it must fit in and on this journey it just didn’t. As a result, I am resorting to posting blogs after the event – just like the early days of blogging before mobile internet and simplified posting software. As an early canal blogger I remember our summer journey in 2006 to the Fens and Middle level being a mixture of brief text posts via mobile phone followed by photos uploaded at home. How things have moved on!

This summer trip was organised around a visit to the Upper Thames. We last visited back in August 2007 just after the exceptional floods of July that year that caused such consternation. We had hoped that this year’s journey was going to be more relaxed than last time. In 2007, we took three days to reach Lechlade from Oxford and then found that with rain falling in the Cotswolds the navigation was due to close (red boards) so we came down stream to Kidlington in one day - a log-flume journey which included a very hairy negotiation of Radcot Bridge. However, once planned we found that our time was going to be limited to just two weeks from Yardley Gobion. Canal Planner indicated that we could make it to Lechlade (just) but, as you will hear, I hadn’t built in enough time for the important matter of meeting up with family and friends.

Stoke Bruerne Top Lock is somewhere ahead!

We left Yardley Gobion Wharf on July 13th at around 11:30 after taking on fuel and having a pump out. We had a good journey to Stoke Bruerne Bottom Lock but had a slow climb up the flight behind two boats. At the Top Lock we met Rob Westlake and Kathryn Dodington who were about to go to a meeting with CRT.
At Stoke Bruerne Top Lock

After waiting for trip boat Charlie to go in and out of Blisworth Tunnel we made good progress and finally called it a day at Weedon, just in time to listen to The Archers (but with no time to post). A good start.