Wednesday, 26 June 2013

26th June 2013 Stockton Stroll

Operation Tickover again. The plan is a gentle ride along the canal from Long Itchington to Napton and find the point where the Grand Union canal joins the Oxford Canal.
On the way to the point where I left the car, I called in the Andy's house to see the ESCC. They were off on a long ride today,  to quote, "With plenty of contour lines in it!" so best leave them to it after I had a cup of tea. 

Blue Lias Inn, Stockton

Travelling east, from Long Itchington, one of the first points of interests is the Blue Lias Inn. This was originally an 18th century farmhouse, and it is alleged that it is haunted by a red-haired farm labourer who was killed by an enraged farmer who returned from market one day and found his wife in bed with Ginge. Must have been in the days before TV.
It became an Inn when the early canal travellers stopped for evening refreshment, and overnight stabling for their horses. The name comes from the local soil which is a mixture of limestone and mudstone. Rich in fossils, it is similar to the cliffs at Lyme Regis, and parts of Somerset. A very attractive garden next to the canal offers good food, al fresco, during the summer months.
It might pay you to go elsewhere if you have red hair mind.

Stockton Locks

A bit further on is a flight of six locks at Stockton, a rise of about 60 feet . Quite a climb this as they are all quite close together.  This photo is taken from the second one in the flight. The chap on the barge was on his own so I closed the gates behind him. He gave me a tip, "Hold your breath when taking a photo, to avoid camera shake." Nice of him!

Ventnor Farm Marina

These narrow boats get everywhere. There are marinas both sides of the canal in this area, some quite extensive. Not far from a canal junction it is only natural I suppose. Us landlubbers have no idea of the extent of the holiday trade on these boats. Certainly, the last couple of days has been very busy on this part of the Midland canal system.

Napton Junction 

This is the point where the Grand Union Canal and the Oxford Canal meet. It is a T junction. There is a big signpost on the left of the picture showing Oxford to the right, Braunston to the left and the third direction, to the right of the photo, is to Warwick.

I carried on towards Braunston for about 1/2 mile and turned back. That made 10 miles for the day. Beautiful conditions, a real pleasure to be out. The only downside, was another thorn in the tyre, two miles from where I had left the car. Made it back OK though.

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