Stockton (Karen does all the hard work)

We had planned to go up the Stockton flight when Karen got home from work on Thursday but my back was too bad so we stayed put at Bascote.  We also stayed there all day on Friday to give my back a better chance of recovery.  We did go for a couple of short walks during the day and picked plenty of blackberries from the towpath.

Ready for the crumble

Karen investigating the crops in the field next to where we were moored

Looked like large marrow/courgette plants but there were no signs of fruits and the plants were massive

By Saturday morning, the moorings at Bascote were practically full.  The only gaps were where there were reed beds or the side was too shallow to moor up.

Looking along our mooring on Saturday morning – we’re the fourth boat along – there were only three of us on Thursday

We decided to do the Stockton locks on Saturday but I was on strict orders to do nothing but drive the boat.  Karen did all the locking, mooring up, casting off etc.  I cruised up to the bottom lock to wait for Karen whilst she took the car up to the top of the flight and walked back down to meet me.

After the first couple of locks we stopped for lunch before tackling the final eight which are in one continuous climb.  As we set off again, we were joined by a second boat which made things easier.  I was very good and didn’t do anything strenuous – Karen even pulled the boat into the locks for me and held it whilst a second boat came alongside.

One of the locks on the Stockton flight

The locks on the northern section of the Grand Union, between Napton and Knowle (the old Napton & Warwick and Warwick & Birmingham canals) are very gentle when ascending.  Generally, you have to be careful about how you open the paddles to prevent boats getting knocked around.  On this canal, you open the paddle nearest the boat and as the water comes in it pins the boat against the side.  Of course, it’s different when there are a pair of boats in but then there isn’t the problem of being bounced around as there is nowhere for the boats to move. It’s also not worth opening all the paddles as you only save a minute or two a lock and it’s extra effort that just isn’t worth it.

We moored by Nelson’s wharf and recognised quite a few of the boats there.  It’s a handy place for continuous cruisers as a lane runs along the canal for a few hundred yards making access easy.  It was good to see Craig and Sarah’s boat but they were obviously out for the day so we didn’t get to see them.

Moored at Nelson’s

I've talked a lot about the history of Nelson's wharf and how it's being restored on previous blogs and it was good to see the restoration works continuing.

Living on the boat means we are constantly visited by waterfowl whenever we moor up.  They are conditioned to wait by hatches or kitchen sink outlets.  We make a point of never feeding them but they still come.  We are also not in the habit of photographing them but these six young girl mallards intrigued us as they wouldn’t leave us all afternoon other they to chase off the teenage boys if they approached too closely.

I continued resting my back on Saturday evening but couldn’t resist standing up for some of the delicious crumble Karen had made.

The back is certainly feeling better this Sunday morning so we will probably set off for Napton, calling in at Calcutt boatyard for fuel etc. on the way.

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