Friday 8th May
The gang gathered in Haddenham and then set off to deposit one vehicle in Bourne End. We then returned to Aylesbury via the Blue Dolphin fish & chip shop, loaded our belongings onto Jannock and then retired to the Hop Pole Inn (Aylesbury's permanent beer festival) for a pint or two before returning to the boat to start the card playing.
Saturday 9th May
An early rise saw the papers fetched and Jannock easing out of her temporary berth by 9 am. The first three locks north of Aylesbury are fitted with anti-vandal locks but that did not slow the progress at all. By Red House lock we found ourselves following a single hander and so Pete went ahead to assist him to speed our passage. After a couple of locks he returned with feedback that the guy then let him do all the work and just stayed on his boat so we decided it would be a good time to stop for lunch and the first period of non-contact fishing. Whilst lunching (or fishing), John Pattle on NB Brentford passed us heading North. Fishing over still without contact and we were just setting off when Ian received a telephone call from his boss at Vale Brewery. They had a spare 20 litres of Hadders Spring Gold 4.6% prepped for a customer who didn't show, could we use it if he delivered it to the boat? Now that's what I call service (and a silly question), we already had Vale VPA and the first sample of the new Vale Castle on board in mini-pins but now there was no chance of us running out. We followed Brentford up the staircase at the end of the Aylesbury arm and then shared the Marsworth flight with them. Once again Peter went ahead to assist the two boats we were following and so we made a reasonable time up the flight. Having said our farewells to John and his son at the top of the flight and then we turned into the Wendover arm for a peaceful evening mooring. At 5pm the fresh beer supplies were delivered just as the Castle Ale ran out and a tasty Basingstoke biriani was followed by some more non-contact fishing until the cards started at 9pm. We collapsed into bed around midnight.
Sunday 10th May
We were up and breakfasted by 9 but let the fishists play until the proposed 10am departure time. During this session a modicum of success was witnessed with Ian bringing in a middle sized Roach which beat anything Brian could catch. While all this was going on, Peter and I were around the corner, nearer the winding point, where a local angler was trying to bring in a large Carp on fragile gudgeon tackle. I took this picture for Dave as he had no camera with him and this was a fish worth showing off. I have promised to email it to Tring Anglers for him. Out of the arm and along the summit to start the descent down the 13 locks to Bourne End. At Dudswell lock (47) yours truly almost came a cropper by mis-judging the speed of the boat and almost falling in the lock. Just a wet foot up to the ankle and a few scratches luckily. We found ourselves following a pair of boats down these locks and having to turn every one as there was no Northbound traffic. We stopped for lunch after Bushes lock but the fishists decided to continue onto Bourne End before trying their hand again and so we were soon on our way again. We passed the two boats we had be following when they stopped for water below Rising Sun lock. Unfortunately Tiami appeared empty as we passed and so we could not off-load any beer to Debbi and Simon. The last three locks down to Jannock's mooring were soon passed through and we finally tied up at 4pm. More non-contact fishing then ensued whilst the boat was tidied and belongings packed for the journey home. I was given the left over VPA to take home as the guys know that Brenda likes that one. A great weekend in good company with great weather. What more can I ask for.