Following the Government’s announcement relaxing Lockdown Regulations, we formed a new Schedule for 2020 which was to begin on 13 July. Having retuned to the boat in the Marina a week before, when we had planned to do some jobs, we left the Marina on 11 July feeling excited but apprehensive as to how the season would pan out.
The countryside along the Grand Union Canal was spectacularly beautiful and reminded us how pretty Northants, Beds and Bucks are. That was the good news. Our first booking was due to start on 21 July in Linslade. Unfortunately a few days before this, we learned that a lock close to Linslade had been damaged and was expected to be out of action for a week. Allowing for this, we were able to reschedule the first 2 cruises. Then the really bad news hit us. Another lock had been damaged further down the GUC at Kings Langley which was expected to be impassable for 6 weeks. Ouch!!
Our choices were A, to repeat the Stoke Bruerne to Linslade trip about 6 times and wait for the canal to reopen, B, return to the marina , call an end to 2020 season and go home or C, have the boat transported by road down to the Thames, where we would continue our schedule. We chose plan C and having cruised back to Whilton Marina with Alan S on board, had the boat lifted out and plonked on a trailer to be transported to Reading. Unfortunately, the truck broke down soon after leaving Whilton, which delayed us by about 5 hours. This was all completed on Friday 31 July (at some expense!!) and Alan’s trip ended in Kingston as scheduled on 5 August.
The Thames has been quiet so far and guests have enjoyed a mixture of beautiful sunny and miserable rainy weather amongst spectacular surroundings all the way to Lechlade. We are today sat at Oxford awaiting a second cruise up to Lechlade then heading for Abingdon, Windsor, Abingdon and Kingston, before returning to Stoke Bruerne on 20 October. We’re just hoping the Kings Langley lock is repaired by 14 September (they say it will !) and that we can finish our Covid Season as planned back in Napton on 24 October. Watch this space!