Sunday, 5 May 2013

Racing… This time……

“They’re under starters orders for the Napton Cup and Wigrams Stakes” 

The race is unusual because boats are arriving from both directions. Two prizes are being contested today. The Napton Cup is awarded to the boater who can make it from Wigrams turn to the top of the Napton Flight in the shortest time. The Wigrams Stakes will be won by the boater who can leave the top of the Napton Flight and get the best mooring at Wigrams Turn.

[the gun fires]

“They’re off!”   “First out of the mooring is nb Speedy Gonzales followed by Arrogant Clot and Ignorant Pig.  At the bend Speedy ignores moored Waiouru whilst Arrogant Clot makes a token effort on the throttle.  Ignorant Pig ignores us and maintains his speed!” 

“Back in the field nb Full thrust is making a valiant effort to catch the leaders whilst Partytime is content to run a spoiler strategy attempting to disrupt the race.”

The long weekends certainly bring out the obnoxious personality in some boaters.  We made the right decision to seek a safe (ish) towpath mooring and wait for the “crazy’s” to go home on Tuesday!

We spent last night moored in a pound between locks 10 and 11 on the Napton Flight.  Water levels between the flight and Marston Doles were quite low and we were a little concerned we may be affected depending upon the number of boat movements.  The assumption was there would be more boats attempting to go up the flight than down and this would further reduce the water levels.  Everything appeared to be all right when we headed to bed at 10.00pm but both of us were woken from a deep sleep by a loud “BANG” at midnight to find Waiouru had quite a list (lean).  My initial (half asleep) though was one of the anchor dollies had snapped off under the strain of holding Waiouru.  However we quickly realised the noise had been caused by the bathroom door slamming shut.  After adjusting the mooring ropes we got Waiouru level.  Before heading back to sleep we discussed whether it might be prudent to finish the flight first thing in the morning rather than being “trapped” in an empty pound.

At 6.00am we woke and had breakfast before preparing to move off.  Just as Jan was about to go forward and set up the lock she noticed a boat was coming up.  They filled the lock which again grounded Waiouru and it took me some time to get her free.  The boat coming up was nb Marmite and as they passed they mentioned they read our blog.  With everything that was going on I failed to ask their names.  Sorry about that!  Nice to know someone actually takes an interest in these ramblings!

Just below the bottom lock a hire boater obviously couldn’t believe his luck after arriving late yesterday to find one of the best moorings vacant.  And it even had bollards!  Duh….. You’re not supposed to moor on the water point!  Despite this we had room to top up the tank before moving off to look for another suitable mooring.  Jan thought she had seen one at the end of a row of moored boats but the gap was opposite the winding hole.  We moved on eventually finding a length of armco piling just before the Napton Inn.

The new view from the side hatch.  I’ve always wanted to get a closer look at the iconic windmill which is frequently associated with the canal at Napton.  We hadn’t been moored very long when nb Faraway passed.  More Aussies to abuse through the side hatch.  Don’t mention the cricket!

After looking at the online Open Street Map (OSM) and the Ordnance Survey maps I identified three footpaths at Napton which are not shown on the OSM.  So the plan for the afternoon was to record them with the Garmin gps.  Jan stayed with Waiouru and kept one eye on the Kipor generator as we had it running to complete the scheduled monthly full float charge on the domestic battery bank.  We also used it to to heat the calorifier water using the 240v immersion element.

The walk was reasonably interesting although the reverse side of Napton on the Hill wasn’t worth commenting about.  In the end I only recorded two footpaths as the 3rd didn’t exist.

We are moored at the left arrow.  The middle arrow points to the windmill.  The two recorded footpaths are shown in red.  The right arrow points to a service station which is selling red diesel at 90p a litre.  At that price it might be worth getting out the sack truck and containers.

The first footpath took me to the church on top of the hill.  Two years of walking in the relatively flat Kennet Valley has taken the edge off my fitness as I found myself puffing up the last section to the church.

The meadows around the top of the hill have a rather strange but regular vertical undulation.  It looks ‘man made’.  But why?  Perhaps part of some medieval allotment system?

The windmill actually looks exactly as you would expect.  But this isn’t the usual view from the canal.

There’s a small rest area beside the road to the windmill with a seat and plaque.

Flat plains to the north mean it would have been quite easy to see massive fires at Coventry from this position.  From the top of the ridge it was possible to look down to Wigram’s Turn where the canal branches north to Warwick or heads straight on to Braunston. 

The bridge at the junction can be seen in the bottom left corner of the photo. 

Maintenance day tomorrow (maybe!).


Adam said...

Ridge and furrow. You'll see lots of fields like that in the Braunston area.

Lynda said...

I was told the reason for the ridge and furrow fields was they have more surface area therefore more grass.

Ken & Lynda nb Amarantine.