To date : 566 miles, 325 locks
What a lovely mooring it was at the top of the Marston Doles locks. We had a wide flat grassy stretch beside us and as it turned out we were the only ones. There was one other boat but it was empty. At 9pm a pair of working boats chugged by. It was a lovely sound in the evening quiet. We did have a horse on the other side of the hedge. We couldn't see it but we could hear it now and then. Lovely.
I was wide awake at 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. The early morning light hasn't bothered us much lately but this morning it woke me up. I read my book in bed for a while but eventually decided I might as well get up. Mick woke too so we ended up making an early start.
Not quite as early as the couple of hire boats that passed before we moved off. We had 9 locks to do and we only passed 2 or 3 boats coming the other way so there were only a couple of locks in our favour. With the hire boat in front only bothering to close the gates behind them when they felt like it, and the boat behind us sitting on their boat to wait until we'd finished each lock before walking to the lock, it was a slow process. We didn't mind at all as it was the most stunning countryside. Just glorious. We've seen all sorts of animals and their young along the way but today we saw buffalo!
As we were pulling into the bank to wait for one of the locks a boat came out of the lock. It was called Kotuku and I thought perhaps it sounded like a Kiwi name. It wasn’t until they were actually past us that the fellow called out something and pointed to the back of our boat but down near the waterline and gave us the “thumbs up”. I had no idea what he’d said and it took us a minute to work out that he had pointed to the crown on our hull. I looked up the name when I had brief internet access… very intermittent at the moment… and we were right. It was another Crown Narrowboat.
As we came down into Napton it felt a bit strange. We've been here several times before by car but here we were approaching from the bottom lock in our boat. We found a very nice mooring beneath a tree just around the bend from The Folly Inn. We'll look forward to exploring.
The boat moored two in front of us has three cats. They happily wander the towpath and seem totally oblivious of passing dogs. I had to giggle when I saw this couple walk by with six... yes SIX... dogs. The dogs were rather curious but as the cat just continued ambling along they weren't making any attempt to chase it.