Squeeeezing Through Cropredy. 1st August

Sovereign Wharf to Top Lock Claydon

With breakfast out of the way Mick headed to meet our Sainsburys delivery. The chap had followed his sat nav and was in a residential cul-de-sac that I’d never heard of. A quick look at a map and phone call later he knew where to head and could be seen arriving through the hedge. Mick transported everything back to the boat on a trolley. As I stowed everything he topped up the water tank, time for us to head onwards.

Every lock out from Banbury we would meet a boat coming downhill today, no need to reset the levels and always someone around to help close the bottom gates.

Looking that bit tidier than a month ago

The house at Bourton Lock has had a touch of TLC in the last month. The shutters have a fresh coat of paint and the scrawled graffitti has vanished. I wonder if one day anyone will live there again.

As we passed crews they all exclaimed at how busy it was in Cropredy, boats breasted up and only a gnats hair to get through in places! There was certainly plenty of traffic, three boats awaiting their turn above Slat Mill Lock, our arrival perfectly timed.

Now the towpath was filled with boats, only a few spaces left. Rounding the bend by the cow field a boat coming towards us went aground on the silt, it’s alway deceptive that bend. As we got closer we realised who it was, Paul the boat mover again. He’d been trying to take a photo of us and found the bottom a bit too quickly. See you somewhere, sometime no doubt Paul.

Slow going, no let up on moored boats. It’s still about ten days before Cropredy Festival, hopefully everyone who wants a mooring has arrived. NB Watt Way was tucked in amongst the boats, we’d been on the Great Ouse with her last year. NB Derwent 6 with Del and Al were chatting away to a walker. By the services trading boats had taken root, add to this kids eager to go canoeing and an off side mooring it made for a touch of squeezing past. Busy busy!


The lock cottage by Cropredy Lock had a big banner pinned to it, Rock at the Lock and the lock gates had posters for various events this coming weekend, both shows from Mikron will be here, sadly we won’t be, we’re just that bit too far ahead of Mikrons tour this year. We did wonder where Tyseley would be moored, hope someone gives them an off side mooring.

Once past the marina the moored boats thinned out, but we still met plenty of downhill boats, most heading onwards to Banbury today. We looked back, all the moorings taken in Cropredy, the 24hr moorings (we speculated) would have the same boats on them for the next ten days.

We rounded the bend below Claydon Locks and pulled in for some lunch, blimey that had taken what felt like forever to get this far. Tilly’s excitement and near dash for the front door was thwarted, we needed to move some more today, the sideways trees would still be there next time.

Photo for Adam

Only one down hill boat on the Claydon flight NB Debdale just dropping down the bottom lock. Pounds were low between most locks the levels a good foot down. Instead of walking on ahead leaving Mick to close up behind, I stayed incase he grounded, but thankfully the levels weren’t that low.

Claydon Top Lock

Up the last lock onto the summit pound we pulled in at the far end of the visitor moorings, plenty of space here. Tilly was given a couple of hours to explore and she made the most of her time. Mick looked at details of how to install our Nebo link.

Gluten free Toad in the Hole, click photo for recipe

As today is Yorkshire Day our evening meal had to contain some Yorkshire Pudding, so I made up a Toad in the Hole. The sausages took quite a while to brown off, but the gluten free batter rose wonderfully. Happy Yorkshire Day.

12 locks, 7.2 miles, 2 many boats everywhere, 1 reader, 24hrs my foot! 2.5 hours, 1 summit reached, 1 skein of yarn not wound that’ll be rectified tomorrow, 1 big tray of Yorkshire Pud.