Or at least it seems that way! As planned we were away this morning in good time, and made rapid progress down the remaining four Napton Locks.
Waiting at Lock 11, and it’s already pretty warm
Away from the bottom lock.
No need to stop for the services, having filled the water tank yesterday. A quick trot across to the bins while the lock was emptying sufficed.
The canal swings around Napton Hill giving a view of the restored windmill on the top.
There were boats moving, heading towards the locks, and one in particular caught my eye. Glossy paintwork and polished brasswork gleaming in the sun, hallmarks of Del and Al’s care in looking after Derwent 6. We weren’t looking out for them, we didn’t even know they were in this neck of the woods!
We had 5 minutes of catching up, drifting in the channel, before an approaching boat put an end to the meeting. But it was great to see them again, however briefly!
We timed it well to pass Napton Marina when most of the returning hire boats were back, and this week’s hirers had yet to take possession.
Napton Junction, aka Wigrams Turn
Here, under the bridge to the left, the Grand Union Main Line heads off to Leamington Spa, Warwick and Birmingham. The Oxford Canal from here to Braunston turn was incorporated into the GU in the late 1920s, along with the other individual canals that went up to make the major transport route between London and Birmingham.
Up until that point the Oxford Canal Company charged extortionate tolls for traffic using this 5 mile stretch, to offset the loss in trade to the new Grand Junction Canal which ran in a much more direct line to London than their own navigation which snaked it’s way to Oxford and the Thames.
It was also much improved in width and depth, although some of the old twists and turns still remain…
Under the A425
There are several stretches of good moorings after Lower Shuckburgh, and we were intending to stop on those near Bridge 100. But I was getting hot and the canal was getting busy, so we pulled in a mile earlier just past Bridge 103.
This will do us for tomorrow; on Monday we’ll head into Braunston. There’s the mail to collect and we’re running short of supplies.
Locks 4, miles 5