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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Cropredy to Just past Wormleighton.

Wednesday 4th February.

Cropredy to Just past Wormleighton, 9.1 miles and 9 locks.

The day could not have begun any better than it did, because as I walked Paddy I saw the pair of foxes I had seen the other night, but this time they were much closer. One of them even stopped to stare at me for a few seconds before disappearing into the undergrowth. They are such majestic creatures, with a beauty all of their own.
We decided that we would make a move, as conditions under foot were much better, even though we had, had a heavy frost overnight and the canal was once again frozen. So at 9am we set off to firstly take on water, empty a toilet cassette and get rid of rubbish.Although the conditions were better, I did not take it for granted that it was still slippery in places, and so great care was taken at the locks. We got to Elkington Lock and Keith had to enter the weed hatch, because there was something around the prop.There is nothing worse than having to delve into icy cold water, but it had to be done.
We were very fortunate to have all the locks with us, which made my life a heck of a lot easier.We cleared all nine locks, finishing with Claydon Top Lock at midday, with some stunning views across the countryside, still covered in snow.The weather was splendid for cruising, with wall to wall sunshine and no wind. The surrounding countryside looked so beautiful covered in snow.We were given a bit of entertainment by a Canada goose, which was walking up the canal on the ice in front of us. The problem the goose had was there was no where for it to get into water, so it was strolling on the ice. Even though we were coming up behind it, it carried on walking or should I say sliding because at times it looked like it was drunk, for a further 100 metres before climbing off of the canal, allowing us to pass it by and carve a channel of water for it to swim in.As we approached Fenny Compton tunnel cutting, we noticed that workmen were busy at work, cutting back the undergrowth and trees. It really looks so much better and you can actually see the towpath now. There were plenty of logs piled up, but unfortunately no where for us to pull in and take them.At times we were breaking ice up to ½ inch thick, but in other places it was completely clear. It was a really enjoyable days cruising, with some coal sold along the way. We finished our days cruising at 2.40pm at our favourite mooring place between Knotts Bridge 130 and Ladder Bridge 129 on the Oxford Canal, with magnificent views across the valley to Napton Windmill.

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