Saturday morning, and the chief cook had some chores to do on the boat, so there was time for a quick walk up to Napton Post Office for a Saturday paper and a freshly baked croissant for second breakfast. The chief cook then went walkabout to collect apples and blackberries from the hedgerows – guess what we’ll be having for pudding soon. By the time she returned, of course, there was a queue for the Napton flight of locks.
Once we got underway, everything went smoothly, with pretty much one boat coming down each time we approached a lock, leaving it in our favour. Apart from the bottom lock, that is, where the volunteer lockkeeper had a large and untethered dog that barked like mad every time a gate was moved, and raced at high speed along the lock sides and over the gates. Locks are dangerous enough places without the addition of a mad dog hurtling around barking the place down. Oh well.
Napton is known for growing water buffalos. We’d sampled the buffalo burgers last year, and the (excellent) buffalo milk ice cream yesterday, so herewith picture of said herd, halfway up the locks on a gloomy Saturday.
For some reason, every top gate sported a small knitted rosette: we’ve no idea why.
The sun came out once we reached the summit pound, and mooring up it was clear that autumn colours were starting to break out in earnest.
A sunshiny Sunday morning, and off again: the summit pound follows the contour like a demented snake (or a textbook illustration of oxbow lake formation), in this case with a radio mast taking the place of the Didcot cooling tower on the Thames as the object that keeps appearing from different directions. Here’s a view of Napton on the hill: not far away as the corvid aviates, but over a day and a half away by canal.
When you eventually pass the mast, you promptly reach a hairpin bend, and soon find it passing down the other side of the boat.
Anyway, we managed to reach The Wharf Inn at Fenny Compton – pub, restaurant shop, camp site, hairdresser, music venue and generally welcoming establishment – for lunch. Mind you, after chilli cheesy nachos and cider at 6% ABV, it was clear SWMBO wasn’t planning on boating much further that day.