Daisypath Vacation tickers

Daisypath Vacation tickers

Saturday 8 October 2022

2022 soon came and went

I started out in May this year. slightly later than usual as I was waiting for two of my boating friends to bring their boats down to the Oxford Canal from Newark. They stopped off to nip up the Erewash where two other boaters joined them as far as Sandiacre. At this point Sylvia was called away to France on childcare duties, so Christine went up by car to move her boat to Langley Mill. Once there we were able to stay on said boat and we all walked the old Cromford Canal over two days. The weather was kind and we had good fun despite some of us (ahem!) being out of shape./p Linda arrived first and after a night at The Folly, Napton, she was joined by family and headed to Cropredy to await the rest of us. The next day Sylvia and Maggie arrived and we had another, rather merry, evening at The Folly. The next day was spent helping both boats up the flight to meet Olivia above Adkins Lock. Now our 2022 journey could really start. We did meet Linda at Cropredy. Actually she and Molly the dog walked to the top of Claydon flight to help us with the locks. The next week was spent travelling towards Oxford, sometimes we journeyed together and at other times various friends and family joined one or another and pressed on a bit more quickly. Most of us single handers (except for she who is known as the Duracell Bunny) like to do only two or three hours cruising each day but family like the full day experience! After all they only have a day or so on board. Anyway we are not with DB yet - we are meeting her at Reading.

We stopped a couple of days at Banbury which has changed a fair bit since my last visit. The new cinema/leisure complex was not yet open but it has certainly lit up the canalfront (It's called The Light and is also light by nature). We had a drink at Lock 29 which is also a new space containing food and drink outlets and had an evening's entertainment at The Mill, a venue which provides really good coffee. The many supermarkets meant that we could all top up our supplies..Most of our moorings were rural but Thrupp offers two pubs, a cafe and a Co-op not too far away.

When we reached Duke's Cut we headed up the Thames to see what Lechlade and the upper reaches were like. Moorings were few and far between but we found reasonable spaces eventually. The moorings at Lechlade are against a field of cattle that like to lick your boat, knock your plant pots over and chew up any rubber items you might have. Olivia was unscathed but the others all had incidents of varying degrees of destruction. You pay £5 a night for this pleasure so I was surprised when Linda and Sylvia decided to stay a second night. Maggie and I took off as she needed to head back up the Oxford and I was heading to Reading.

The journey downstream on the Thames was a pleasure. It was so calm and everywhere I wanted to stop had moorings available. Only had to pay at Wallingford and at £12 a night for not the best of moorings, I doubt I will stop there again. In fact, I only stopped there because Goring was closed due to works to the moorings themselves.

Above is a cheeky mooring I found at Oxford. I met DB at Reading and unusually there were moorings outside Tesco. We were joined by John who was also aiming for the Kennet and Avon like ourselves.

The next day was new territory for both of us and reading the guide books scares the wotsits out of you. Actually heading through Reading and up Fobney Lock was not as difficult as we expected. However, we had experienced very little rain, it would be another story following heavy rain. DB and I had arranged to leave our boats for a few days at Burghfield Boat Club as we had family events to attend. The people at the club were lovely and helped us reverse the boats (against the flow) to our alloted mooring spaces. It's convenient to get the bus to Reading Station too. Our few days away also gave Linda and Sylvia time to catch up with us.

By now it was the middle of June and we spent the next six weeks travelling to Bath and back to Reading and what a fantastic time we had. Moorings were few and far between to the East of Newbury and prospective mooring sites were mostly overgrown so would be difficult to get in and tie up without help from crew - which in our cases we didn't have. Hands up, I got a bit grumpy a couple of times.

One thing we couldn't fault this year was the weather, I think we only had two or three days of rain and not much wind. In fact the 40 degree days were a bit too much. Luckily we found a shady spot to sit it out. There was, of course, problems with lack of water. We also encountered pump failures on the system which closed both the Crofton flight and Caen Hill at various times.

The Wiltshire countryside is beautiful and I would definitely visit again but would not do it without a boat to share with. Some of those locks are heavy and difficult. There are also a couple where swing bridges have to be manipulated while dealing with fast flow and awkward lock approaches. Extra pairs of hands are always useful and sometimes essential.

The return journey was equally good, meeting up with Christine's friends from St Pancras cruising club at The Cunning Man near Reading and with two others at Wallingford. Yes despite what I said earlier we moored there again!! Once back on the Oxford we were heading for Cropredy festival where I moored below Slat Mill lock, a reasonable walk to the festival site. Much fun was had although it was a bit too hot for sitting in a field with very little shade. At least it wasn't cold or wet. Anyway I am running short of time so I had better sign off. Writing this made me realise that I don't take many hotos. Must do better.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Walsall, Stourport, Coventry and onwards

I went over to sort out Olivia on 13th April, the day after we were "allowed" to get back on our boats. She started well and didn't look too bad at all so I set off the very next day. My first deadline was to reach Hawkesbury Junction in time for Christine's birthday. I won't say which birthday it was save for the fact that I will be celebrating the very same milestone later this year!! We went for a very nice, socially distanced meal at The Greyhound. As there were eight of us, we sat at two tables for four and were able to chat across the 2 metre distance between us. Later we had a few drinks seated on the towpath in the unseasonably warm weather.

Our next destination was Birmingham as three of us had signed up to join the Walsall Campaign cruise in May. We met up with Katherine at Fazeley and took a leisurely journey down the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, stopping at Cuckoo Wharf before heading up Aston and Farmers lock flights and mooring outside the Arena.

After a few days in Birmingham, we took the Old Main line to Tipton where we met up with a couple of the other boats that were joining the campaign. The following day we made our way through Factory Locks along the New Main line to drop down the eight Ryders Green locks. There was quite a queue here as the number of campaign boats grew in number. There are several videos of the Campaign cruise one of which can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NhklBgtESc

Suffice to say that most, if not all, of the twenty eight boats that made their way along the Walsall Canal to the basin and then on the Curly Wyrley, paid many visits to their weedhatches. Duvets, coats, a paddling pool, rugs, wire and many plastic bags and some weed were the main culprits found on propellers. However, we boaters had a lot of fun despite having to socially distance and, therefore, without the usual big social evenings.

Once the weekend was over us three amigos decided to head through Netherton tunnel and onto Stourbridge, via Merry Hill and the Delph flight of locks. Weather was very unsettled with plenty of rain and it was quite chilly. None of us had visited the Stourbridge Arm before and found good moorings for all three boats. The town is quite sweet with many independent shops and we all liked Grandad's Attic next to the Bonded Warehouse. We also found a very nice patisserie for our morning coffee (and treats). It was soon time for Katherine to leave us and turn right at Stourton Junction. She had an appointment with the NHS vaccine clinic. Christine and I turned left heading for Stourport.

The journey down towards the Severn is really pretty and we had stops at Kinver and Wolverley before reaching Stourport and bagging a nice mooring just north of the basin. We met up with another couple of boaters and discovered a nice place to eat which is part of The Swan pub. They have made part of their establishment into a bistro called Mimi's. Christine and I decided to have a busman's holiday by going out on the trip boat. We are making a habit of this as we did the same when we were in Stratford last year.

We turned to go back up the Staffs and Worcs as Christine needed to go up the Wolverhampton 21 while I carried on Northwards before leaving Olivia while I went home for family birthday celebrations. On my return I carried on up to Penkridge where John (John's Canopies) came out to first fit my new back cover. I had been measured up for this last year as a friend was having her cover fitted so I asked John to measure mine. It's the perfect colour for Olivia and is much needed as my old one has shrunk and ripped and is really beyond repair. Onward to Great Haywood, turned right and made my way to Fradley where I met up with Katherine at her mooring. She has been painting her boat so I thought it was about time I thought about touching up mine. When I reached Atherstone, we had a spell of calm, warm weather so I had a go at painting the back rails and around the counter before getting the cover fitted. Soon John came and fitted the cover and very nice it looks too. In between time I had taken the rear wooden seat home, planed it to get rid of the tatty, weathered surface and then gave it some coats of danish oil. I am much happier with it.

An arrangement was made for some of us to go to Coventry basin to immerse ourselves in the City of Culture (2021). This year the Canal River Trust have instigated a booking system so we got ourselves booked in during the hottest spell of the Summer. I enjoyed the Two Tone exhibition at the Art Gallery and we booked two events in the Spigeltent at the Assembly Festival garden. The first was Choir of Man which was several young men singing and having good fun and the second was Circolumbia which was energetic and some moves seemingly impossible. We found a really nice restaurant/bar called Metropolis. The food was tasty and plentiful and the atmosphere relaxed. We were joined in the Basin by Maggie on her boat Puzzle. We all had a nice time at the Transport Museum and back at the Art Gallery/Museum as well.

We were joined by Katherine on our last night together (and also Collette and George with Lily the dog) so a couple of Gin and Tonics were the order of the day - actually evening. Maggie had to scoot off as she was booked into Brinklow Marina for a short stay, Christine had to head back towards Birmingham as she will be heading to Worcester for the IWA Festival of Water, Katherine and I headed towards Braunston where she headed off up the locks to join the Leicester line while I made my way to Napton on my way to Cropredy. The festival was cancelled but I heard that the Brasenose was carrying on with the fringe so I thought I may as well go to that.

Tuesday 2 February 2021

Plans for 2021

Normally, by this time of year I would have my year planner out, have the festivals pencilled in and be starting to plan my journeys for the year ahead. This year, alas, my planner is blank, my calendar empty, my diary tedious. We are all awaiting the outcome of Lockdown 3.0. I want to see my family and my friends. I am missing art galleries, museums, theatre and cinema. I didn't think I was much into pubs but I am missing the freedom to pop in for a glass of wine or a refreshing half of cider and to imbibe the atmosphere and banter.

Following my post last Autumn, I and several friends (all socially distanced in our own boats) went up the Ashby and enjoyed a month of walking, eating out to help out, a bit of cycling, a ride on a steam train and foraging for blackberries and sloes. We visited the far end of the Ashby at Moira and look forward to further development there. We (five boats) went down to moor in Coventry Basin - a first for most of us. 2021 sees Coventry as City of Culture. It would be nice to pop to events there but will any of them actually go ahead?

In September I had a new sliding hatch fabricated as the old wooden one was rotting and well past its prime and I took on a mooring for the first time in years (normally I just have a winter mooring for three months). I am happy that Olivia is in a safer place as I have had to leave her alone for long periods this winter with all the restrictions.

My friends and family are all beginnng to get their Covid jabs and I look forward to when I will be able to get mine. Hoefully then I will be able to get to work on my year planner.

Take care all and all the best for 2021.

Tuesday 11 August 2020


Sooooo, I bought a Gold Licence this year with the plan to go down the South Oxford, nip up to Lechlade, down to the River Wey and the Basey (Basingstoke Canal) and back up the Oxford in time for Cropredy Convention. Oh how the plans changed. As I was unable to start cruising until 4th July (following Government guidelines) I had to knock those plans on the head. Please note Environment Agency that I have involuntarily donated about £300 to you this year and I don't suppose I will get the free month from CRT either. If anyone knows please comment below.Still that's not as bad as some friends of mine who were due to ship their boat to Belgium this year for a three month stay.

However, we have made the best of the past month by cruising down to Stratford upon Avon, which was quite pleasant with the fewer tourists. We even acted as tourists ourselves by going for a boat trip on the River Avon. I have been travelling in tandem with Christine and have met up with another of our friends, Sylvia, and made new friends along the way.

This was us on 5th July:

Well I had to show the most important character.

The pubs and shops have all felt very safe with one way systems, sanitiser and so forth. I have even got used to this:

Here's another gratuitous picture of Olivia on a quiet mooring on the Grand Union just North of Kingswood Junction:

Keep safe everyone and enjoy every moment,

Sunday 22 September 2019

2019 travels (continued)

I cruised through some really good weather up to Rugeley and onto Great Haywood. Being single handed I always dread the Armitage "tunnel" as I have no crew to send ahead to warn oncoming craft. Instead I hope that there is not a single hander coming the other way. Anyway I blew my rather loud airhorn and made my way through without incident.

I have been doing quite a lot of train travel this year and I have started to note just how often my trains have been cancelled or delayed, even to the point where I have had to miss my connections. I managed to claim back part of my fare twice but that doesn't compensate for what is missed by a delayed journey. I wish the powers that be would concentrate on getting the current provision up to scratch rather than cutting through swathes of our beautiful countryside with vanity projects!!

My next main stop was Stone where I met up with Maisie and her friend, Doreen, so I stayed a couple of days. We had a tasty meal at The Star one evening and Doreen made a really nice meal the next evening. We added some crotchet roses to our friend Alex's memorial just up from the pub. Alex was taken too soon in a boat fire last year. While at Stone and once again enjoying fine weather I thought I would try using Polytrol to revive the boat's paintwork which is beginning to fade and become chalky. The finish is so much better and I hope it will last well. I noticed that other boaters are using Autoglym with good results so I might also try that. It sounds as if I am one of those boat polishers but believe me I only do this once every five years or so! Maisie and Doreen helped me up the locks and off I went to Etruria via Barlaston. I had a walk around Barlaston and the back road over towards the Wedgewood Estate has a really pretty walk.

When I arrived at Harecastle tunnel the keeper was already putting the boats through so I quick "have you done this tunnel before?" and I was on my way. Didn't even have time to fetch my torch but did put on a couple of cabin lights to help light the way. There was a huge queue at the Northern portal and a bit of chaos manoeuvring there. I nipped up onto the Macclesfield canal and moored near to Heritage boats. Next day I moved up to the Congleton visitor moorings and got a bus to Crewe so that I could go to the cinema to see Fishermen's Friends. It was quite a fun film although, like all modern films, really cinematised rather than factual. I have been to a few films over the summer including Rocketman and Yesterday.

Well what can I say about the Macclesfield canal? It has so many beautiful, quiet moorings with superb walks within easy reach. I had a go at Nab Head, Tegg's Nose, Mow Cop, Lyme Park and many others. Bugsworth Basin was worth a visit and, yes, I did have a drink in the Navigation. Anyway I was there on the Friday but started back and was at Bosley locks on the following Thursday when the news broke that Whaley Bridge was to be evacuated (We had two days of persistent rain on the Sunday and following Wednesday). That was quite a worry for the townsfolk for most of that week! I had help through all the locks from volunteer Ruth who did a sterling job. Thanks Ruth.

I did the return journey back through the tunnel. I was so slow coming through as I seemed to be gliding over something, so either the water was really shallow or I had something stuck under the hull. Once through the tunnel I did a couple of bursts of reverse and progress improved so i am still not sure why we were slow but I need to apologise to the two boats that were following me. They must have been thinking wtf. Back down to Etruria where I met up with Dave and Soozie. We had a great catch up having not seen each other since the Middlewich FAB 2017.

My Paloma water heater burst around this time and I am still trying to sort it out so no nice hot showers for the moment. I have cruised back towards my winter area but as the weather has been so good I have nipped up the Ashby canal for a week or so. I am unsure where to try to book my winter mooring this year as the one I have used for the last two years has gone up in price by 25%!! Why? Supply and demand - it was popular last year. I bet it won't be this year.

Monday 16 September 2019

2019 Travels

So I haven't been blogging at all this year. Only because I dislike typing on a smartphone so had to wait until I was near a keyboard and that time is now :-).

I started out towards the end of April , just slow hops to start with until the weather picked up, then I headed up the Leicester Arm to Foxton and from there back onto the Soar, which I had only done once before in 2010. When I reached Foxton I was able to catch up with my son, Luke, who has bought himself a bigger, newer boat from Newark and had been heading towards me on his maiden voyage, helped by our friend Heather. I went to meet him at Kilby and crewed with him back to Fleckney where we stopped for the night and had a very nice meal at the Indian Restaurant. The next day we went through Foxton Locks and he moored up next to Olivia. We walked up to Bridge 61 and had a great evening with hilarious punters and a good folk band playing. Luke's boat seems a sunstantial upgrade from his old 40 footer, this one being 60 feet long. It will be just right for his stock of albums for https://www.facebook.com/therecorddeckuk/.

I carried on to Leicester and moored at Castle Gardens. I was only the third boat on the pontoon which compares very differently to 2010 when there were ten boats squeezed on there:

I visited the Richard III visitor centre which was quite interesting. I preferred the upstairs where they documented the finding/recovery of the remains. There was also a exhibition on "mod" culture at the New Walk museum which I enjoyed. I had a walk around the De Montfort university campus as I had studied there in the early 90s. It has changed so much - looks a really nice campus now. The James Went building where I studied no longer exists and the replacement buildings look much more suited to a modern university. Shortly after leaving Leicester I was joined by my friend, Christine, who came to crew with me as she had never done the Soar before. The weather wasn't brilliant so we did get a bit wet but it was good to have the company and the help and, after overnighting in Loughborough (where we had a really good meal at the Thai restaurant by the basin), we soon reached Trent Lock. We turned Right onto the Trent and up to Beeston Cut where we found a very good mooring. That evening we went to the bar at Beeston Marina where we had a warm welcome. It was fish and chip night and we had a very tasty meal for just £5. It was also quiz night so we had a little go at that although we were not going to win a prize. However, they also had a meat raffle where we won third prize and we played some card games (which was a form of bingo really). I was surprised to win on my first attempt and the prize was £19.....so that more or less paid for our evening. Yay.

The next day we went into Nottingham and booked an evening ghost walk from The Old Trip to Jerusalam pub. The weather wasn't briliiant so we spent the afternoon at the cinema where we saw an Icelandic film called "Woman at War" - I had never heard of it but it was a fabulous film, quirky.

After Christine returned to her own boat I went for a trip up the Erewash. Some of the locks were heavy and although nowhere near as bad as I had been led to believe I found nothing to shout about so probably won't be going that way again. However, I did get myself a plaque for reaching the end of the navigation. While I was on a winning streak I discovered that I had won two weekend tickets to Crick Show, so off I went with Christine and we stayed on site in her campervan. We had a good time (I hadn't been since 2004 and the experience is much more mature now). Anyway I treated myself to a long reach windlass handle which made the return down the Erewash much easier.

Turning right at Trent Lock took me through Sawley Lock and onto the Trent and Mersey canal. I rushed this canal in 2010 because I was still working and didn't have the time to stop off anywhere for long, so this year I had the luxury of doing short hops and exploring the villages and towns en route. It was just as well that I wasn't in a hurry as we had quite a lot of rain and so the locks at both Derwent Lock and Alrewas were shut for quite a few days. I met up with friends at Mercia Marina and had lunch in the cafe there. Branston was a good mooring as was Alrewas. The river section at Alrewas was on Yellow and was a little hairy as we had had so much rain the flow was forceful.

Monday 24 December 2018

Update on my 2018 travels

On the rivers it was necessary to move every other day which along with all this area being a new road for me, I neglected to write any blog posts. Even worse, I took hardly any photos!! Since the last post I only had one more incident which was to get stemmed up on the silt by Perio Mill. Once again local boaters came to my rescue. I was sceptical about whether this small cabin cruiser would be able to move me but hurray a sharp pull did it and I managed not to crash into them which was a bonus :-).

I moored at Oundle, Elton, Alwalton and Peterborough exploring on foot Elton, Yarwell, Wansford, Nene Park and Flag Fen. I did lots of walking on the very hot, sunny, lush days. At the beginning of July I entered the Middle Level. I had been warned that it was boring and I have to admit that some of it was just a matter of head down and press on. However, Whittlesey was quite a sweet place and I enjoyed a spell in March where I moored by a park just a short stroll from the main street. As I left March I heard someone shouting my name. Who would know me around here? It took me a while to realise that it was Pete, an old friend that I hadn't seen for about a decsde. I had known him from teenage into early parenthood but now here was a mature guy who has grown up children!! I hadn't anywhere to pull in so had to press on. Shortly I realised I was being followed (unusual, I discovered, on the ML) and was delighted to find Pete and Tina had chased after me for a quick catch up. When they turned back I carried on, unable to moor at Upwell as all spaces were taken up by the Cotswold Cruising Club I moored on the Outwell mooring which is called a basin but is actually just a bend in the navigation. Next day I went up to Salters Lode....this was the bit of the journey that I was most wary of as I had to go onto tidal waters and after our escapades on the Thames (head gasket blown) I wasn't sure how Olivia would cope. I timed my arrival so that I missed the tide and was, therefore, able to moor at the lock landing and walk the route at low tide to ascertain where all the sandbanks were. I had a chat with lock keeper Paul who put my mind at rest. Next day I was the first boat through Salters and as I left the lock Olivia seemed stuck on the tyre wall. With verbal encouragement from Paul I put on the revs and despite billows of black smoke from the exhaust Olivia was reluctant to turn. More revs and she slowly just in time (before it would be too late and I would hit the opposite bank) she turned and we were off. Big thumbs up from Paul. The arrival at Denver Sluice not very many minutes later was uneventful and I was through, on the Great Ouse, and soon found a mooring for the night. From now on I moved just short but regular hops. At my next mooring we had the company of a seal, apparently a local celebrity. He (or she) was not at all shy and jumped up onto the mooring next to me. A really special moment.

I spent the next days walking and appreciating the big skies afforded by the fenlands. I quickly realised that my best weekend strategy was to move early on Friday and stay until Sunday as this was when many boats came out of marinas and would snap up the best spots. I stopped at Ely and then onto the Old West - a narrower part of the navigation which for that reason was weedy and slow going. I moored at Earith lock where, with the lock keeper's permission, there is room for a boat (or maybe two if they are small). Once through the lock I was back on a tidal stretch so I had to remain wary when reaching the next lock and I then carried on to moor at St Ives. I found some very nice walks and also sussed out potential future moorings at Hemingford Grey and Houghton Mill. I discovered that there was to be a regatta at Hemingford the next day and the GOBA moorings would be suspended for the weekend, so I moved up to the village mooring there. The regatta was well attended by (mostly) locals and I spent a bit of time there watching events. Next mooring was Godmanchester which is only twenty miles from home but had taken me six weeks to get to by water. I had a day in London for Luke's birthday and then on to St Neots where I managed to get a nice mooring. In fact I was in this area for almost a week finding different 48 hour moorings here and at Eaton Socon which is only a short walk away. I quite liked the town. It has good parkland and walks and the high street is very different to most town centres. Kate and Paris came to visit and we had a nice meal in the pub on the Bridge.

I turned and started to make my way back towards Hemingford where I was planning to meet up with Christine. We went to the nearest pub for an appetiser, then Houghton Mill for lunch and then ate a light supper on Christine's boat. We decided that the next day we would get the guided bus to Cambridge which we could pick up in St Ives just a short walk away. We enjoyed the day at Cambridge but disappointed with the facilities for visiting boats. There is room for around eight boats on visitor moorings and they are all 48 hour moorings. The cost to use the River Cam was quite a lot and I would have liked to stay a week! Anyway we decided not to take the boats down to Cambridge which really does seem to want to discourage boaters. We moved on down to St Ives for their food/beer festival. It was fun. On the Sunday we met Brian and later Kath for a meal and drinks. Kath has her boat at Hartford Marina, Huntingdon, but is moving it elsewhere for the winter. On the Monday we moved to a super little mooring at Holywell. I hadn't seen it on my way up river but eagle eyed Christine had. Had some fun and games on the way back through the Earith tidal stretch. I wanted to pull in to take on water but there was a boat already there so I thought I would turn and pull in next to them. What a farce, Olivia was struggling to get round as the tide kept pushing her downstream semi broadside...eventually I managed to get her around and by now the other boat had left so I managed to tie up. Phew! Turning to go back was easy as the tide was with me. It made me realise that I was still a river newbie. We were now back on the weedy Old West River mooring at Aldreth - a nice very rural mooring - and then at the Lazy Otter. Christine had a friend visit and she went cruising while I had the afternoon off.

By now it was the beginning of August. We turned right at the junction and made a run down to the Lodes where we moored on Reach Lode near the junction with Wicken Lode. We walked to Wicken Fen where we discovered the gorgeous gooseberry and elderflower icecream at the cafe. Although we had been unable to moor at the Five Miles from Anywhere pub we were within easy walking distance so that is where we went for dinner.

I haven't wanted to mention this but I have had an oil leak problem since starting out. Oil is coming out of the engine breather and I have had to top up regularly. I rang a couple of engineers and got conflicting advice which comprises: live with it by draining the pipe into a container; or have the breather connected back to the engine via the air inlet; or the engine is caput. So for the moment I have been living with it. Anyway we took a cruise down to Burwell for one night and then back to the Five Miles pub where we could now moor. Christine made the most of having a shoreline by doing her washing and ironing. She also had a go at my leaking shower outlet and seems to have fixed it. What a girl! Back to Little Thetford and Ely for a few days. Both of us needed to use the train for various events we were going to so Ely was the perfect place to moor.

As this post is getting rather long I will speed things up. Christine headed back to St Neots for the IWA festival while I headed to Littleport which also has a train station - noted for future use. I cruised the Little Ouse to Brandon and back to The Ship PH on the junction. Then back to Littleport to use previously mentioned train to the IWA festival for the day. From here I was backtracking all the way to Peterborough. The Denver/Salters Lode crossing was good. Paul was off duty so I had to award myself 10/10. Managed to moor on the good mooring at Upwell, then March and again at Whittlesey. There is only really space for two narrowboats to moor but that night there were twelve of us in various locations. I was about sixth boat to arrive so got a reasonable spot using gangplank to get on and off. Back to Peterborough the next day where I stayed for a while. Took the opportunity to visit Tim Peake's Soyuz capsule which was being exhibited in the cathedral. Back up the River Nene through Alwalton, Elton, etc. Christine caught up with me at Ashton and we had some good cruising days through Oundle, Thrapston and Woodford to Wellingborough (where we were marooned through stormy weather - but able to get to Northampton and Earls barton for events). I had Mark and Elaine come out and do a fix on the oil breather issue by feeding it back via the air inlet. Time will tell if this actually works. Cruised on to Northampton and then up the locks to the Grand Union. There was little water in the Northampton Arm and both Christine and I got things around our props. Hers was a sports bag which didn't take long to remove. Mine was a thick duvet type coat. I got some of it off but gave in and called River Canal Rescue to help. They arrived in an hour and it was fixed by midday so I could continue through the sixteen remaining locks. I got to the top just on 6pm when the lockies were padlocking them for the night. (They knew I was on the way and wouldn't have locked me in!) Basically this was the end of this year's cruising. Christine headed North to Tamworth and beyond while I had a couple of weeks at home and then slowly took Olivia back towards her winter mooring.