Yesterday started out a bit damp and gloomy, but brightened up later. We didn’t move, and, when the sun made an appearance, we were serenaded by a chaffinch in the hedge alongside.
This morning we had a bright start as we set off at half past nine.
We met a boat at the first bridge we came to and thought that this would set the tone for the day. But it was fairly quiet, no more than a handful of boats coming the other way till we got to Claydon Locks.
The canal does a long loop around Wormleighton Hill, passing the meadow where Wormeighton village used to be located. All that remains now is a few humps and bumps.
Wormleighton village, almost lost without trace.
There is a new Wormleighton village, just over the tree-clad ridge.
The central shires seem to have a fair number of abandoned medieval villages. Changes in climate meant that water tables rose or fell making wells run dry or pastures impossibly boggy, the ravages of several plague epidemics left some villages short of labour to work the fields, and some settlements were even relocated by landlords who wanted the area for an ornamental or deer park!
We wound and twisted our way to Fenny Compton Wharf, where we took on water, disposed of rubbish, and bought a loaf of bread in the Wharf Shop. Bad planning, that. We’d have run out of bread later today. I was going to make a loaf but the little shop in the pub made that unnecessary.
Fenny Compton Wharf
We nearly stopped for diesel at the marina, but they’re not open on Mondays. Aynho it is, then. Leaving the marina behind, the canal dives into the cutting leading to Fenny Compton Tunnel-that-was-but-isn’t-any more.
Not a good place to meet another boat…
We did come across a boat, but they paused in one of the wider bits for us to pass.
A sigh of relief as we came out of the narrows without having to dive into the vegetation, then we were crossing the border from Warwickshire into Oxfordshire.
Boundary Lift Bridge, No 141
A little further on we were passing an assortment of moored boats on the offside near the feeder from Wormleighton Reservoir.
Coal and diesel boat Gosty Hill, still for sale.
We bought coal and diesel from Iain and Alison on several occasions when they were still trading on the Ashby and Coventry Canals.
Just around the corner was the top of the Claydon flight of five locks, the start of the long descent to the Thames valley.
Claydon Top Lock
There were two boats ahead of us, so it wasn’t the fastest descent, but we got to the bottom in the end and moored on the straight below.
Coming down, the chap on the boat behind mentioned that the canal was a bit bosky in places. An unusual turn of phrase but one that I’ve been using recently. It all became clear when he told me he reads this blog!
Hi both, NB Paneke. Sorry, didn’t ask your names but you know who you are…
A little research threw up the names Jane and Roger, I hope that’s right? Good to meet you.
Oh, and today's trip's EWBS rating? 2 ½ on average!
Tomorrow we may make Banbury…
Locks 5, miles 7