Leaving the delights of the Bridge Barn Beefeater behind, another OMG early start saw Song & Dance reporting for a passage up through St. John’s / Goldsworth Locks. We’d planned on doing these and the Brookwood Locks in one go, but were reliably informed that there were no moorings beyond Brookwood until the top of the Deepcut flight (the locals regard these two flights as one: why doesn’t the documentation say so!).
We had company again; convenient moorings right by the launderette in St. Johns enabled some canal water to be washed out of the dunked clothes, and a start made on drying. Then onward through Brookwood Lye, where we found lovely moorings in a country park that we had no knowledge of, despite living in the area for umpteen years – round the back of the old Brookwood Hospital, and hidden from the Knaphill Sainsbury megastore and related housing developments.
We were aware some boats were following us the hill, and several towpath users had remarked that they hadn’t seen so many boats on the Basingstoke for years which puzzled us until a chap polishing his boat said “Hello, are you going to the Rally”? Subsequent enquiries established that not only was our eventual destination Odiham having a major bunfight “celebrating” King John’s supposed departure from the castle 800 years ago to head for Runnymede and an early attempt at Habeus Corpus, but that the Canal Supporters were holding a boat rally roughly when we expected to reach Odiham, and that mooring space would be – errr – limited! We said we’d keep in touch and hurry up or delay, as required…
Arriving first at the delightful Brookwood moorings we’d been told about, we took poll position, but no-one else seemed to bothered about tying up to trees or bushes. I can see Song & Dance staying awhile here on the return journey.