We woke up to a frozen canal this morning and a heavy ground frost so after breaking the ice a round the boat I decided to take Phoenix a walk until the ice had thawed. On the way back I could hear a boat crunching through the ice behind me and could see it coming in the distance. Three hire boats also set off breaking the ice in our direction so when I got back to the boat we reversed up to the water point and filled the tank after which the ice had thawed and we set sail at 10.30am in clear water.
The canal to Claydon is very narrow and winding as it follows the contours of the land to avoid more locks than necessary. Why is it though that you always meet another boat on blind bridges or bends that double back on themselves. We stopped off at Fenny Compton Wharf to deposit the rubbish and visit the local shop which is inside the local pub, The Wharf Inn. It seemed strange walking through the bar to get your provisions but what a great idea to keep the village shop viable.
As you leave Fenny Compton you enter a very narrow stretch of canal which was once a tunnel but has now had the roof removed. It did not seem as narrow as the first time we negotiated in 2010 but as you can see from the pictures above it is only wide enough for one boat to navigate. Fortunately we got through before meeting a boat coming the other way.
On route as we passed Feeder Bridge No 142 where we saw the old coal and fuel boat Gosty Hill and its butty moored with a For Sale notice on it.
We reached Claydon Top lock (Five in the flight) and decided to moor for the night. We moored just before the bridge next to Motor Boat Turo and butty Ditton; a nice spot ideal to enjoy the evening sun and out of the wind.
Later when I took Phoenix a walk down the locks I stopped to speak to Ian on Ditton who was refurbishing the boat and an excellent job he seemed to be making of it. Ian and Alison used to run Gosty Hill and we had an interesting chat about the difficulties of the operating with all the new regulations. We continued our interesting chat and put the world to rights on my return from walking down the locks. What a shame it is that over regulation is forcing out of business boats that have been the tradition canals for many years.
Ian fitting an aluminium skin to the back cabin on Ditton.