With our aim to get to Lower Heyford by Sunday evening, we left early on Saturday morning (15th July) and climbed the last three to the top of the flight. The buffalo herd near the top of the flight were much in evidence.

Napton's Buffalo

After a short gap we reached Marston Doles flight and tried to fill up the water tank. The slow tap meant we gave up the unequal struggle. It then started drizzling as we tackled the Oxford summit and its twist and turns. I then got very wet at Fenny Compton when we finally took on water. I had decided to clean a mark off the bow flares using a diesel soaked rag. I placed the rag on the gas locker lid and then stepped on the lid. It was at that moment that things went pear-shaped. I slipped, span in the air and landed on my back in the canal and everything went green as I went under! I then stood up and contemplated life. I know how difficult it is getting out of the canal once in. but I quickly found part of the metal shuttering had a handy step so I was soon out and back on board having a shower. I think I was very lucky not to strain anything or even hit something solid. 

After a sandwich lunch we moved on and reached Claydon flight. The flight was about to be closed overnight (5:00 - 8:00) for water conservation. The trip down the flight was quite efficient with boats coming up. 

Claydon Top Lock

An interesting mooring on the Oxford Summit
(the boat is in water but the basin is not connected to the canal)

That night we moored up above Cropredy lock after juggling with moorings to get the maximum number of boats into a given space. We just had to go to the famous Red Lion for dinner. The inn is our favourite watering hole on the Oxford and of course has its place in waterways history being the inn where Tom & Angela Rolt visited on their first night on NB Cressy. E Temple Thurston in his 1911 book even dedicated a whole chapter to the inn in his book "Flower of Gloster"

We had a good meal and drinks in the restaurant (as opposed to the bar) and sat next two couples who appeared to be discussing boats and boating. It turned out that one of them was the actor David Suchet who, of course, is a well-known canal enthusiast.

Some trading boats were in the area of Cropredy preparing for the Fairport Convention festival and Maggie, who finds it difficult to find hats that fit, bought a knitted hat from on a woman on a boat.