Marston Doles to Claydon, South Oxford Canal
Woke up to a lovely morning, although as usual it had been raining through the night. Took Seth for a walk all the way down the Napton flight, hoping to find some fresh bread and milk at the Canal Stores adjoining the Folly pub, but despite the “open early” signs there was no sign of life, other than three or four other boaters also milling around before doing as I did and heading up to the village stores, which is actually not as far as I remembered.
Fresh bread was available too, albeit “Cuisine de France” brand, frozen dough but baked on the premises. So many local shops seem to have replaced the traditional English baker, getting up before most of us go to bed, with an electric oven and deep freeze, but at least it is still freshly baked bread and I will happily take that in place of sliced white any day.
Returned to Marston Doles via the lanes which pass Napton Water Buffalo farm and sat in the sun for a while and trying to spot a gap in the more or less constant traffic of passing boats so I could do the last couple of locks in the flight without a crowd.
Last time I did Marston Doles top lock there was a most horrendous road accident attended by the air ambulance which landed in the field beside the lock, but this time the only disturbance was the wind as I slipped past the queue waiting to descend the locks and headed out into the long summit pound. The weather simply can not produce a normal summers day at the moment, but it was very pleasant despite the breeze.
Ended up just outside Cropredy for the night – no point in rushing there yet.