Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Down we go!

After spending the night on the summit level, it was time for the descent to Napton.  The day dawned bright as promised but with the hint of cloud to come.  Of course, the photo of the sun rising was not taken by Ali!

The last few days have been busy, so it was something of a surprise this morning not to be woken by passing boats.  In fact, by the time we set off at 0930, not a boat had passed us.  We had a pleasant chug of some four miles to the top lock of the Napton flight and I think four boats passed us.  Obviously the mass exodus from the marinas had passed and we seemed to be between the hire slots.

We watered at the top of the flight, having completed a wash load during the chug.  The cloud increased, but it remained pleasantly warm with that sort of light that is not enough for sun glasses, but uncomfortable without.  We met boats ascending which eased our passage down, but appeared to be the first boat to descend.  These locks are certainly easier on the way down than on the way up, and we seemed to fly down.

The services are below the final lock, as are the majority of the moorings.  Thinking ahead, we decided it would be advantageous to more in the final pound.  This is longer than most and has about three 48 hour moorings.  Mooring here would enable us to fill/empty in the morning.  The only disadvantage is that this is a pound and water levels tend to fluctuate, not normally a great problem and as by the time we moored there was no traffic, we decided to tarry.

After a quick bite to eat, we decided to walk up to Napton church, set on top of the hill and said to give a view of several counties.  Bloody hard work but worth it.  The church itself is tranquil and the views are stunning.  Some really lovely properties here as well.  We walked back to the boat via the shop beside the Folly pub and returned to the boat, deciding that such proximity to a pub just could not be missed!

So we sat and rested after our exertions, and all hell broke loose...  We started to lean, and realised that a Napton narrowboat ascending the bottom lock must have left the bottom paddles open.  As Ali lept to action, they left the lock, leaving the top gate open.  Ali went and closed this, then went after them as they left the next top gates open and advised them that this was not good practice!  By this time the pound was a good eight inches down, so we adjusted the level and ropes and hoped that was it!

Wrong.  Half an our later, a Viking afloat boat started to ascend the bottom lock.  The top paddles were opened before the bottom gates were even closed or the paddles wound down!  You can imagine just what this did to the water level...

Ali again went to "advise" but was met with some negative comments shall we say.  The yoof operating the lock then dropped the paddles by clouting the stop!  Nice.   Happily, another gent arrived and offered his advice...  Just what instruction do these hire cowboys give their customers?

As the evening set in the sun once again came out and blushed this part of our green and pleasant land, so, we went to the pub!  Very pleasant meal it was too at the Folly. 

Beautiful sunset, not really captured by a camera.

How cute are these?

No - we are still at Napton and yes - these are Water Buffalo

Stunning Sunset

6 miles 9 locks

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