Monday, 25 April 2016

Tomlow (Too many muntjacs)

When we move on from Napton reservoirs we will be going through our first wide locks for nearly seven months.  Even though we have been through locks thousands of times it always makes us stop and think when moving from a narrow lock canal to a wide lock canal and vice versa.  The ways we have to work together to operate the locks are quite different on the two types of locks.  Anyway, on Friday I took Buddy down to the first set of locks to make sure he could remember how to cross them.  I needn’t have worried as he was straight across without any hesitation.

Buddy hadn't forgotten how to cross broad beam locks

Our friends, Jan and Gordon, came to visit for afternoon tea on Saturday.  They had just moved their boat from Thrupp to Cropredy on the South Oxford canal.  It was really good to catch up with them and hear all their boat and life news.  I have to admit that when we invited them for afternoon tea we weren’t really sure what that meant so asked our family Whatsup group. The suggestions we got were many and varied from macaroons, little cakes, sandwiches without crusts, cream teas, scotch eggs and fruit salad – almost anything as long as doilies were used.

During the week I had seen Muntjac deer near the boat but luckily Buddy hadn’t noticed.  This meant extra vigilance in this spot as we had to make sure he doesn’t chase deer as well as ducklings, chickens, ducks and boat cats.  On Saturday morning we were walking round the reservoir and he spotted a deer before we did and he was off – the deer got away easily as it was happy to leap a wide ditch and fortunately Buddy is not keen on water..  Needless to say he was in our bad books and we decided we would have to move on and moor somewhere else as it’s not much fun keeping him on a lead all the time (for him or us).

So on Sunday morning we set off down the three locks on the Calcutt flight to find our next mooring.  The locks on the Grand Union from here to Birmingham were originally single width locks and double width locks were added soon after the canal was opened to ease congestion and speed up journey times.  This is the top lock and you can see the old narrow lock on the left.

Broad lock on the right with a boat in it. Original, now unused, narrow lock on the left.

Before going down the locks we took on water and I noticed yet another lock like structure on the left.  I have been unable to find out what its purpose was.

What looks like an old lock in front of the cottage

Turning in to the boatyard between two of the locks to get a pump out

This is looking back to the middle lock from the bottom of the three locks.  The tarpaulin covered area on the right is where the old single width lock is being used as a dry dock by the local boatyard.

Buddy eager to catch a ball at Calcutt bottom lock

We cruised about a mile after going through the locks and moored up in an area called Tomlow.  The towpath is not muddy here and there is easy access to the road for Karen’s daily commute.

Our mooring at Tomlow for the next wee while

Last week these guys came past us and I also saw them on other sections of canal when out for walks. As I said at the time I wasn’t sure what they were doing but I have now found out that they are carrying out fish surveys. 

Carrying out a fish survey

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