Saturday, 8 August 2015

Full at Fenny Compton

Both of us awoke early but one decided to stay in bed and play possum.  By 8am we’d made the decision to cruise to Fenny Compton with the idea of finding a mooring for the weekend.  The timing of the departure was hastened when three boats passed our mooring.  Two were hire boats and likely to put in a long day, but it did remind us others would be looking for a mooring at Fenny Compton.

early birds

One of the early boaters

We had wanted to say farewell to Judith & John but their curtains were closed and there was no sign of movement.  Not wanting to disturb their sleep we decided to quietly slip away.  Well it didn’t quite work out like that because our departure must have rocked nb Serena and Judith appeared at the side hatch to wave goodbye.  Now we feel guilty about leaving!  Hopefully we will see them again later in the year.

Only the five locks of the Claydon flight to go up today.  I happened to notice the bottom gates on one lock were cast iron.  It’s the first time I can recall seeing iron gates and now wonder why there aren’t more of them.  Would they have a longer life?

cast iron lock gate

We caught up with the hire boat full of Queenslanders at the top lock.  They were more subdued than yesterday and the large Aussie flag at the bow had disappeared.  Something to do with the cricket?


It was possible to see Claydon Village from above the top lock.  When we were last this way in May 2013 and reader John left a comment <here> suggesting we visit the Bygone Days Museum At Claydon.  We didn’t have the time on that occasion and now the museum is permanently closed.

Near Boundary Lift Bridge we had to start avoiding rounds of timber floating in the canal.  One assumes some boater has lost all or part of their 2016 winter fuel stock.

log rounds

Shortly afterwards we entered Fenny Compton Tunnel. The tunnel was opened in 1776 and was 2.75m wide, 3.66m high and ran for a little over a kilometer. It wasn't very deep underground and had a number of wider sections to allow canal boats to pass each other. These were 4.87m wide. It also had rings mounted in the walls to help boatmen haul their craft through. The canal company went on to purchase the land above the tunnel and decided to remove the top.  This was completed by 1870.  All that can be seen today is a narrow straight with a couple of wide passing bays.  Near bridge 137 there is an overgrown track to the north which leads to an old brick kiln which was constructed to supply the bricks for the lining of the tunnel.  Bridge 137 is a footbridge which allows the towpath to cross from the north to the south side of the canal.

bridge 137

As you would expect, we met two oncoming boats at the entrance to the narrow portion.

topless tunnel

On reaching Fenny Compton it looked as If we might be out of luck finding a mooring.  It’s always frustrating seeing a boat in the middle of a gap. 

in the gap Waiouru didn’t fit into the first gap but we successfully squeezed into the gap behind.  We would be most reluctant to move another boat with out the owners permission but a following boat crew had no such qualms and pulled the blue boat in the above photo forward two metres to make room for themselves.  with their action they got the last vacant mooring.

We haven’t seen so many boats on the move for quite some time.  From the questions being asked by crews going in the opposite direction we assume a number are going to the festival at Cropedy.  It will probably get busier over the weekend so we have decided to stay on this 14 day mooring until Monday.

1 comment :

Judith Emery said...

Glad you found a mooring at Fenny it's not a bad mooring for the weekend. You didn't wake us I had just put the kettle on (first job of the day) when I heard the rudder move. Hope our paths cross again later in the year. Good cruising.
Judith & John