Tag Archives: Cropredy

Day 8 – Toby To The Rescue

Today’s plan was a short hop to Cropredy, with an ETA of lunchtime. As always, it’s not easy getting Toby to get his lovely little bottom out of bed! We were just getting ready to cast off and a single handed green boat went past us – very much on the go slow – I did remind Toby of the early bird catching the worm!

We slowly made our way to Banbury following the green boat, we made it to the first lock and luckily for us, he wanted to go through the lock, wind and come back down – perfect! I had two willing little helpers, and dad to help push the gates.

We were soon through Banbury and out in the countryside again. Toby’s back is playing up, similar in location to his slipped disc, we we were back to our usual roles of Toby helming and me locking.

We came across this huge field planted densely with young trees. A local gentleman sat on the bench at the lock said it was HS2 who are planting new forests to replace those lost with the works.

Every passing boat advised of a very low water pound between Slat Mill Lock and Cropredy lock, and to keep to the middle channel. We could see how low the water level was with the exposed banks.

Some way back from the lock, we could see a queue of boats. Toby dropped me off at the bow and I went off to investigate , it was an old working boat with a deep draught that had got stuck, it had taken them 2 hours to travel between locks, something that should have taken only 15 mins. Three of us were pushing the boat using poles, and boat in front called Toby (sorry, no picture), was in full throttle and pulling the boat forward. We all made it round the next bend to chaos with another boat stuck and going from left to right, but unable to go forward. Once past the Cropredy lock, the water level was fine and we moored up.

We moored and had lunch on board – Toby’s freshly baked bread from this morning, some hummus and cheese. We wandered up to the local shop and topped up essential supplies (milk, bananas and 2 x choc orange fingers!). We couldn’t resist an ice cream on our way back to Oliver.

It was then time for some chores and getting Oliver ready for sale. I washed down the cratch cover and cleaned the kitchen cupboards, while Toby spruced up the bathroom radiator using crushed aluminium foil (an internet find) and brasso.

Day 4 – Role Reversal

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!