Saturday 16th October
After a grey week our journey started in glorious autumn sunshine. We recalled the weather forecaster saying "you will be unlucky to catch a shower!" We didn't , we caught two downpours instead. This picture, taken on my phone, shows us approaching Grove lock immediately after the second one.
As we cleared Soulbury we were warned by a southbound boater of canoeists and a canal clearance day ahead, forecasting slow going. We saw none of the former and the latter only delayed us whilst they extricated their work flat off of an underwater obstacle (the 2nd motorcycle frame they had removed that morning) that had entrapped it. Gold stars to the Milton Keynes branch of the IWA and Wyverne shipping who sponsored the event.
The first and second teams we met are pictured below:-
We caught the third team up at Linslade lock where we shared with one of their craft. They were en-route to the Tesco mooring to retrieve trolleys using a grappling hook.
At Slapton Lock cottage there was a bowl of Damsons with a notice asking for donations to charity for them. I took a bagfull and placed all my change in the box. We picked up a lock sharer at Horton lock, a northbound boat that had winded at Slapton windy hole, who we shared with until they reached their home mooring at Vicarage farm. We knew there was a hire boat following them so we waited at Seabrook bottom lock for them to catch up and I usefully spent the time collecting many more Damsons from the multiple trees located on the offside of the lock. The Wyvern boat, Daffodil, then shared with us until we cleared lock 38 when we moored up and they continued. As I cycled through Pitstone bridge I saw the widebeam trip boat approaching so I stopped and warned Brenda of it's prescence. I still remember the incident she had with this one a few years ago due to the overhanging willow branches but this time the trees have been nicely trimmed back and my timely warning allowed her to hold back to let it reach it's mooring at the yard.