Monday, 4 October 2010

Captains Blog - Sunday 3rd October

Today is the big test of whether we can achieve the sort of distances set out in the plan we have for the cruise, 10 hours, 17 miles and 17 locks, also stop for meals. The daylight available is 12 hours 7am to 7pm.

Dressed in wet weather clothing - minus the hat as that picture censored
We woke up to a very wet day, Glyn started off at the helm at 7am, while I tried to sort the blog out, which was suffering from a poor phone signal. The first part of the journey between Fenny Compton and Croperdy consists of a flight of 5 locks then another 4. This was a bit more precarious in the wet as the leaping across the locks and jumping on and off the boat was more tricky and I gained lots of bruises, and there was copious amounts of swearing.

Breakfast was a splended affair, a full blown english boatmans breakfast. These are likely to be few and far between as Marilyn and Janet depart the boat today at Aynho until Thursday evening at Windsor.

The other big event of the day was that it was Tom Rolt's one hundredth birthday. Many years ago I was sorting through my dad's books and came across one written in 1944 called "Narrow Boat", in which Tom describes several trips on the canals. He set off from Tooley's boat yard in Banbury and the first part of the book describes the journey up to Napton. It is a great book that I have read several times and the one that inspired the journey, I didn't realise that Tom also inspired lots of other people and is often regarded as the founder of leisure holidays on the canal. In 1944 the canals were dying and in disrepair, as they were no longer commercially viable for trade.

So todays was Tom's bithday and a big event was held in Banbury. One additional thing I didn't realise is that Tom recruited "a young blonde in a white polo neck jumper" as crew, the best plans always fail through poor research.

Tom Rolt Day, Banbury - crowds greet our arrival
Nr Tooley's Boat Yard, Banbury

Tom Rolt Memorial Bridge no 164 in Banbury

We left Banbury towards our final destination Aynho Wharf,  the weather was getting steadily better, although very windy, I was at the helm for this stretch and Glyn was on lock duty. Some of the countryside is stunning and feels like it could be a thousand years ago, with little sign of human intervention.

Lots and lots of ducks .........
We got to Aynho Wier about 4pm having gone through a piece of canal that kept twisting back on itself we could see Ayhno church spire for almost two hours and didn't seem to get any nearer. We were however doing great against our schedule which inspires lots of confidence for the rest of the trip.

Aynho Wier where a stream crosses the canal

Some of the drops at the locks are very deep often with a bridge immediatly ahead which seems very peculiar.

"How are we going to get that down there"
Arrived at 5pm at Aynho Wharf, even a bit of sunshine, feeling we had achieved a good days endevour, Jim and Ruth arrived to pick up Marilyn and Janet, within a minute of our arrival and we all went off to the Great Western Arms where we had a fab meal, half of us Haddock and Chips the rest Sunday Roast Beef, they also had a beer festival so it was Old Hooky and Old Empire too, which was excellent, with that Glyn and I went back to the boat and were asleep by 9.


  1. Nick good to see you !,hope all is well in Cairns.

  2. I'm very suprised you didn't bump into Marti Pellow on Sunday?
    Good to hear you're on scehdule.

  3. Looks like you're having a good time! It must have ben bad weather if you were wearing a coat!

  4. Katie says... Never seen two better looking sailors. Much love to you both xxxxx

  5. Greetings from the other side of the world, with followers in Dubai and Australia your wanderings have a truly international appeal. That Kevin fella can't be Mr Lander still in Dubai? He must look like a dried up old prune by now!
    Aussie Nick the Carpetbagger

  6. Hi Nick good to hear from you does it make you homesick and you Kevin