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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Cropredy to Wormleighton

Monday 7th July.

Cropredy to Ladder Bridge 129 near the Medieval Village of Wormleighton. 8.7 miles and 9 locks.


At bedtime last night we set our clock for 6 am hoping for an early start, so as to avoid all the boats out and about at the moment.
The alarm went at 6 am and we both struggled out of bed, even Marmite was none to sprightly. No sooner had I put on my waterproof trousers, I heard pitter patter of rain drops on the boats roof arghhhhh, so much for getting a dry start. We had breakfast and I took Paddy for his walk, he had to endure a walk in the rain. He loathed it so much all’s he could muster was a quick wee and then he was off back to the boat for his biscuits. By the time we got back on the boat, Keith had Hadar started and was ready for the off. It now being 6.50 am and the rain was still falling. I walked up to the first lock of the nine Cropredy Lock and opened the gates ready for Hadar’s entrance. The one thing I love about early starts is the fact that nearly everyone else is still in their beds, I say nearly because as we were leaving Cropredy another boat was coming towards us. Someone else with an early morning in mind it seemed.
Due to the rain there were no photo’s and we have covered this ground many times before, the last time being back in February/March.
The scenery looks so different now from then due to the greenery and the flowers, but the views are still the same.
If you’re in need of fenders, a windlass etc the shop at Broadmoor Lock is useful. Not far from Varney’s and Elkington locks you can see the ridge and furrow fields of old. The fields were done this way, in order to cover more acreage with grass or crops and it has carried on to this day. We arrived at Claydon and the five locks which took us onto the summit. Claydon itself is an old village with brown stone houses and its church which has parts of it dating back to the 12th-C. Claydon also has The Bygones Museum. The museum houses local relics and has a recreation of a 19th-C cottage kitchen. There are lots of old tractors etc to be seen and it is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10.30am. Sadly we would not see it this time.The canal does twist a bit after the locks and with Hadar being 70ft it meant Keith had to have his wits about him, as we did meet other boats coming towards us.
We were then into the Fenny Compton Tunnel, which is now a thickly wooded cutting. Bridge 137 will always be etched into my brain, because this was the bridge we became wedged with a Napton hire boat back at the beginning of the year, although it has to be said with it now being July and the trees and bushes are now in leaf it looks so different, to that cold dull day. Thankfully this time we met no one coming in the other direction. We pushed on past Fenny Marina, which is closed on Monday’s, not that we needed anything and then onwards past Fenny Compton Wharf and The Medieval Village of Wormleighton, which is now home to sheep, before we got to our mooring for the rest of the day. From the moor we can look across the valley to Napton-on-the-hill and its windmill, which will be our destination tomorrow. Having moored at up11.20 am, we got chatting to another boater already moored up, I made us some lunch and now the day was our own. The sun was out and it looked beautiful across the valley, so Paddy got a run out across the field, which pleased him no end, but from a distance I was watching a huge swathe of dark ominous cloud, trudging its way towards us, so we were soon back to the boat. Firstly it was working its way to the farm.As it engulfed the farm, the clouds grew ever dark and more menacing. On the back edge of the dark clouds I was watching the rain falling on top of someone in the distance and this was going to be dropped onto us.No sooner had I shut all of the doors on the boat, did it come crashing down. This was more like April and not July. So much for the great British Summer.Watching the progress of this dark cloud system was really quite interesting, I could see it was not just any old rain cloud; this one had thunder and lightening in mind. The dark clouds then let out a thunderous roar as it dumped its load onto us and the surrounding countryside. Just as the thunder began a boat cruised past us, with all crew members huddled together under an umbrella ha ha ha. It’s just a drop of rain. Like my husband tells people “We are waterproof, it’s our clothes that are not”. That is so very true.
With only GPRS today it has taken an age to load this so todays efforts will have to wait till another day........

1 comment:

MortimerBones said...

I LOVE the light in those photographs! Absolutely fantastic!!!!!