Braunston to Napton Bottom Lock
Me and Molly drove up first thing Tuesday morning and dropped the car off at Clattercote Wharf. Gregg kindly offered to taxi us up to Brauston and took the opportunity to bring me up to speed with the various political and local machinations (gossip!) around this part of the South Oxford Canal.
Me and Molly had a relaxed start, given that we were only aiming to reach Napton today. We left at 12.30pm, and maintaining a rip-roaring 2.5 mph, arrived at Bridge 101 within the hour, mooring in open countryside and bright sunshine for lunch.
From Bridge 101 to the Napton Bottom Lock is around 4 miles, achieved in around 2 hours.
Despite the photo above, given that this trip was close to the Easter Weekend – a traditional start to the boating season – this popular canal was surprisingly quiet. One bloke even called over as he passed, “Perverse you heading South, there’s no water you know!”. (Is it that the dire warnings of water shortages are having an impact and people aren’t moving at all – or is it as Gregg suspects that many people, forced by economic necessity, are desperately trying to sell up, in an already crowded boat market, and daren’t leave the marinas for fear of missing a sale?)
Despite not seeing many boat travelling, I expected to see a queue of boats at the bottom of the Napton flight, waiting for Marston Doles locks to re-open in the morning. Indeed, thinking there would be lots of boats close to the waterpoint on the sharp bend leading the Bottom Lock, we tied up at the far end of the pilings for the 14x day mooring. No need, there was ample space all evening. My anticipated line of boats never materialised.
Me and Mol went off to explore.