Boat Blog: The Odyssey 2016 – Day 50 – Grand Union
Posted by indigodream on 14 September, 2016
Rewind to Saturday 20th August
Napton to Leamington Spa
We had thought about travelling to the boat on Friday night, but hey, we now had 10 days of uninterrupted boating ahead of us so why start it in a traffic jam!
We had a good trip up to the boat on Saturday morning, loaded with our clothes for a week, various oddments for the boat, and our cruising companions Archie and Henry – always good company on holiday 🙂
We arrived at the boat mid-morning and were soon off, having left the car in a little layby above bridge 109. We were anxious to get going as the weather forecast was pretty dire for the afternoon.
We were moored very close to Napton Junction, so we were soon on the Grand Union, watching the wind whip up little whitecaps on the canal – now that’s a rare sight! There were a few boats on the move and we were joined by nb Clarence at the top of the Calcutt flight. They were truly excellent locking companions – efficient and entertaining. We flew down the flight, despite there being some epic winds blowing a mixed bag of showers ahead of them. It was a waterproofs on, waterproofs off sort of day, with the weather deftly changing its face to suit the opposite to what we were dressed for.
We weren’t sure how far we’d get, but nb Clarence were such excellent locking partners we soon found ourselves flying down Stockton as well in 40 minutes! They stopped off at the Blue Lias for a drink – we were sorry to lose their company but we wanted to carry on – not only did we have a cruising target for our holiday, we were also enjoying the freedom of one of our favourite waterways.
The hounds enjoyed their first day of cruising and, as always, failed to pace themselves – there was Olympic looking to be done, as well as lots of lock-side rummaging.
We were soon at Radford Semele lock, which marked the start of the long lock-free pound to Warwick. Richard cycled back for the car and I carried on to “The Moorings” pub. There was a mooring directly outside the pub – very convenient, especially as Leamington Spa’s big stores are a five minute drive away.
We haven’t been to The Moorings pub for years – back then it was a carvery type place and did not allow dogs inside. Now it’s a lovely dog-friendly gastropub – the food was fab and the service friendly and efficient. The hounds enjoyed a lot of fuss, but they were tired and a little bit skittish so they were glad to go back to the boat and to bed.
But it wasn’t bedtime for me – although I was in a pub, it’s quite rare for me to actually drink (though I can enjoy a cold cider after a long day’s cruising!), so I was up for taking the car round the corner to Morrison’s and getting our supplies in for the week. I got to the store within a whisker of closing time, but it was blissfully empty of people so I whizzed round in no time and was soon back at the boat. The pub, which is also a hotel, had a generous car park so we left the car there overnight with the intention of moving it to the train station car park the following morning.
The mooring was rather noisy until about 11.30am – partly from the cars crossing the road bridge, which is almost directly above the moorings, and from the really annoying musak from the pub. It didn’t bother the boys, they were fast asleep, having had a busy day’s locking 🙂