1979 Cruising Adventure – Day 1

Back in May 1979, my family hired a narrowboat from Fenny Compton and spent a week holiday visiting as much canal as they could. 39 years later, I got hold of my Mum’s holiday diary. Annamarie and I decided to recreate the journey. Join us as we embark on a cruising adventure unlike any we’ve done before!

Left the boatyard at 5:15PM very sunny and warm. Stopped for tea between bridges 131/130, about 3/4 hr. Reached bridge 124/3 by 8:45 and stopped for night.

Mum, Saturday May 19th 1979
Map of the cruising adventure
1979 route compared with 2018 attempt

We started optimistically at the right time from the right spot on the Oxford canal. How hard could it be to get from Fenny Compton to the stretch before Napton in just a few hours? Afterall, this stretch of the Oxford Canal has no locks to navigate!

As hunger kicked in, we were worried we wouldn’t find anywhere to stop – and certainly didn’t want to stop on the U bend!

Eventually we found a spot that wasn’t too overgrown and pulled over. The cats escaped into the wooded area next to the towpath while Annamarie got to cooking dinner. I used my supervision time wisely and found some new wood for the top of the boat!

Alice proved a little difficult to get back on board – she kept running away every time we called her!

Eventually we were on our way again, keen to get to our overnight mooring spot. We found some armco to moor up onto using chains in a deserted spot and slipped through the hedge to enjoy the sunset.

Sunset on the Oxford Canal

We really enjoyed cruising later in the day – the light is different and the scenery so beautiful. There were also hardly any other boats moving which meant no awkward encounters on tight corners!

Day 2 of our cruising adventure holiday will get interesting! We found it hard to keep pace when only cruising for a few hours and day 2 is a long day!


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