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.

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