Saturday, 4 May 2013

The moving mast

After cruising the length of canal between Fenny Compton and Marston Doles six years ago we remembered it was going to twist and bend.  Last time we were unfortunate enough to meet oncoming boats.  Usually on a tight bend!  So the plan for today was to top up the water tank at Fenny Compton around 8,00am and be one of the first boats away.  Hopefully this would minimise the likelihood of meeting an oncoming boat for at least the first part of the journey.  We intended to stop for the day at Marston Doles having cruised three hours.

The original canal builders minimised the need for locks by following the contours of the land.  As a result the canal seems to double back on itself.  The banks are tree lined and the boat is travelling slowly so it’s not readily apparent how the canal twists until you notice the tall radio mast on the horizon.  It’s on the left…

No…… It’s on the right!

No…. It’s on the left!

Why doesn’t the bloody thing stay still!

Another question.  Why are half the bridges built on a tight corner where they obstruct the view of any oncoming boats?

I remembered the very tight blind bend from six years ago and took it very slowly.  Last time the bow of an oncoming boat appeared in the bridge hole just as we were approaching.  My heart bounced off the roof of my mouth on that occasion.  If I recall correctly, I almost choked swallowing it!

We didn’t remember the moorings at Marston Doles otherwise we’d never have planned to stop there.  Only room for three boats and they were all occupied.

Onwards to the Napton flight of locks.  The exceptionally wet weather has had an impact upon the local livestock.  Some of the cattle appear to be adapting to the conditions.

We did the top three locks of the flight and decided to call it a day.  The water level in the pounds was very low.  Looking at the bank I’d estimate it’s down 30cm (1ft).  At times we appeared to almost be scraping the bottom.  We’re now moored in the pound along with two other boats.  We probably won’t move again until Tuesday unless the volume of boats going up the flight drains the pound.

Looking down the flight

Napton.  with the landmark white sails of the windmill on the skylight at top left

The remainder of the afternoon was spent washing the port side of Waiouru followed by two coats of wax.  Now buggered… time for a beer!

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