We switched roles today, with Sarah doing the helming through the locks, and me doing the locks. I was all over the shop, even walking off leaving a gate open at one point – obviously short on practice!
The morning saw us cast off at an earlier than usual 8am, aiming to reach the Claydon flight not too long after their 10am opening time. With all the queues yesterday, we didn’t want to get stuck at the back and risk not getting through.
Getting up early does come with its risks – today a gentleman decided to dry off by the window, and hurriedly covered himself with his towel when he saw us go past. Sarah waved hello and then he swiftly closed the curtains with a big swish of his hands. Luckily we only saw his top half!
We were glad we’d stopped yesterday where we did, but there were plenty of moorings further on. Why one boat decided to moor on a bend, and a rather shallow one at that, was a mystery. They definitely weren’t going anywhere though, well secured for the night even if it were at a bit of an angle!
We passed through Fenny Compton, hoping to get rid of our rubbish but couldn’t find the bins anywhere, so carried on up through the narrows. A few boats had moored in the narrows, probably attracted by a rare stretch of armco railing. They didn’t leave much room for anyone to pass, but we breathed in and squeezed through.
We reached Claydon top lock at 10:30, only to find no queue at all. Rather surprised but delighted, we carried on. The next lock was closer to our original expectations, with a queue but only a few boats so very little delay compared to yesterday and we made short work of it, Sarah helming and me doing the locks
There was a very cute little tractor in the garden of one of the lock cottages, we both thought it quite sweet.
By the end of the flight, I was a bit more into the swing of things, kicking one gate open behind me as I stepped over to the other side (no jumping allowed!).
We stopped just after Cropredy marina, where it looks like they’re expanding to a third basin and just putting in some clay for the bottom. We remembered visiting the (new at the time) second basin when we purchased Oliver six years ago, but in the end Heyford Fields won out. Cropredy is going to absolutely massive when the third basin is done.
We moored up and headed to the shop for a much needed ice cream given the lovely warm and sunny day we’ve had, plus a few supplies. Then it was back to Oliver for a few hours to chill out, and then back into Cropredy for a pub meal in the evening – our first meal out for a very long time!