Wednesday, 25 May 2016

One new balance beam for the Napton flight

We did a lot of boating today, getting from Cropredy to Braunston. Having decided to go to Crick for the boat show we thought we'd get there a day early. The outward journey from Braunston to Oxford took 17 days (including three days at home); the return journey has taken just three days!

Not long after setting off this morning I spotted another familiar blogger's boat.

If you don't recognise it, and to save you having to click on the photo, I can tell you that it's Herbie.

In Fenny Tunnel I pulled over and waited while what looked like a chopped-down former working boat came past.

My photos don't show the length of the boat - or lack of it. I asked the name of the boat; I heard "Penny", but I might have misheard. Update: I did mishear. Jan saw the name on the licence - it is "Fenny". I was close!

We stopped at Fenny Compton Wharf to look at the "Two for £10" menu and ended up eating an early lunch. We were under way again before 1300. At the end of the long, wiggly summit level we came to Marston Doles and the start of the Napton locks. Lock 13, part-way down the flight, is the subject of a CRT "notice alert" for tomorrow. The top gate balance beam is due to be replaced. The new oak beam is ready and waiting behind the rotten beam in the photo below.

CRT says there won't be a stoppage as such; while the old beam is off the gate can be opened and shut using a rope.

As we continued down the flight it was evident that Lock 13 isn't the only place where the woodwork has rotted. Some other balance beams seemed to be in as much a precarious state as the one being replaced. There was a friendly CRT chap whom we asked about this; he said they could only do one at a time. He set locks for us all the way to the bottom.

After turning onto the GU we saw no spaces in the length opposite the Boathouse pub, but there was a space right outside the pub itself, which we took. While deliberating over what to eat in the pub they switched off the carvery lights and informed me that the carvery was "finished". I could have had something else, of course, but we decided to return to the boat for a salad. Well, two cooked pub meals in one day would have been a little excessive!

Tomorrow, after a quick nip up to the shop for milk, we shall doubtless meet plenty of boats newly released from the hold-up at Buckby. That won't be a problem going up the Braunston locks, but there might be a queue at Watford. We shall see.

edited to add update above

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