Monday, 7 August 2017

Cropredy (and what a welcome that was)

Welcoming party at Cropredy lock

My back wasn’t too bad on Sunday morning so we decided to have the final push to Cropredy.  It was only four miles and nine locks but we knew the final mile and last few locks would take ages.  The three-day Fairport Festival starts on Thursday but boaters start pitching up a week or so earlier in order to secure the best spots.

We last came to the festival in 2013 when Alice Cooper and 10cc were the main acts.  We arrived fairly late in the week then and had to moor about a mile from the village.  It was gorgeous weather though and we took the canoe down each day and paddled back again in the dark.  We were thinking about it yesterday and it must have been the year when we were between dogs as we didn’t have a dog in the canoe with us.  We wouldn’t have left a dog in the boat all day either.

We went down the first four locks of the Claydon flight and stopped for lunch.  Karen then walked back to get the car and move it closer to Cropredy whilst I rested my back.

Claydon top lock

Coming out of Claydon middle lock

We were headed for the very centre of Cropredy as Mike and Lesley were letting us use their mooring alongside their (building) plot during the festival.  We are really fortunate as we are in the centre of the village and therefore the centre of everything that’s happening during the week.

Mike walked up to meet us for the final four locks which was very helpful – Lesley was away at a guide and scout camp.  He arrived when Karen was having difficulty winding up the paddles of Elkington’s lock so he timed it perfectly.  As well as a helping pair of hands it meant we had an extra set of eyes for the last stretch where there are boats moored both sides making it very difficult to negotiate.

Approaching Cropredy lock

Mike had warned us that on the weekend before the festival, villagers gather at Cropredy lock to listen to local musicians whilst raising money for charity.  They raise the money by taxing walkers and cyclists to come past on the tow path and also by operating the lock for the passing boaters.

As I went into the lock they raised a loud cheer to recognise that I got the boat in without hitting the sides.  Mind you, I expect they raise a cheer when a boat hits the sides.  The guy in the lock cottage has barrels of beer and hands out a glass to passing boaters for a charitable donation too.

Raising my plastic beaker of beer to the crowd – to yet another loud cheer

Karen popped into the boat to get some money and as she put it in the bucket yet another loud cheer went up.

Karen eying up the drinks table

As I left the lock I couldn’t help but give the musicians some change too – after all they had serenaded me through the lock.

We moored up and had a look around the building works that had started this week for Mike and Lesley’s new house.  Mike then ran us back to get the car.  We really fancied taking Mike for a drink at one of the two pubs but my back was playing up again so we were sensible and stayed in for the evening.

Hopefully we'll get some better pictures during the week

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