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Most reliable cruising - Oxford Summit (eleven mile pound) or Napton - Hillmorton - Braunston


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After keeping my boats for some 20 yrs 'dan souf', retirement is looming so looking to bring my boat upto my favourite cruising area and closer to home so I can go out for an hour or four/overnight and generally enjoy the boat more with a degree of spontaneity.

 

Have kind of short-listed marinas to Fenny or Napton. My question is, am I likely to get more reliable cruising at the lower level due to what appears to be either regular water shortages or too much water on the summit?

 

Also, is the lower level significantly busier, especially in the summer months?

 

Many thanks!

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I,me, personally, I would enquire at Cropredy Marina. Owned by Castle Marinas and you can stay in their other marinas foc. If there’s room. Also Cropredy about to have an extension opened, they are calling it something like the posh bit. BBQs available and near boat parking.

 

This is not for me so if it’s to your liking give them a called. Managed by a pleasent lady as well. Five locks onto the summit and the rest of the South Oxford southwards.

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Bludy hell Mark- you havent long come from there 😀

My choice would be Napton as it gives you a greater and more varied choices for the bit you have to do most on shorter trips and also potentially less affected by any stoppages (if you were considering  Wigrams) .

Its all busy you just have to time it so you are going when everyone else is coming back.

Hope all well with yourselfs 🙂

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1 minute ago, Nightwatch said:

I,me, personally, I would enquire at Cropredy Marina. Owned by Castle Marinas and you can stay in their other marinas foc. If there’s room. Also Cropredy about to have an extension opened, they are calling it something like the posh bit. BBQs available and near boat parking.

 

This is not for me so if it’s to your liking give them a called. Managed by a pleasent lady as well. Five locks onto the summit and the rest of the South Oxford southwards.

Yep, considered Cropredy but apart from pricing, due to some health issues, I really like the idea of lock-free cruising when not out on a once a year  longer trip. I preferer the scenery of the summit but that's not of much use if it's unnavigable for much of the time. 

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The summit does get short of water - so I'm told -  you can cruise - but you can'r get into the bank to moor (even when the levels are good to high. Being mostly farm land there's not a lot to see.

There's a lot mor cruiing Napton way IMO

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3 minutes ago, PaulJ said:

Bludy hell Mark- you havent long come from there 😀

My choice would be Napton as it gives you a greater and more varied choices for the bit you have to do most on shorter trips and also potentially less affected by any stoppages (if you were considering  Wigrams) .

Its all busy you just have to time it so you are going when everyone else is coming back.

Hope all well with yourselfs 🙂

Hi Paul! The only reason we got the boat back down south was for work (pied e terre), however, work has changed, HS2 is causing massive issues 'down there' and other health issues creeping in so why not 🙂

3 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

The summit does get short of water - so I'm told -  you can cruise - but you can'r get into the bank to moor (even when the levels are good to high. Being mostly farm land there's not a lot to see.

There's a lot mor cruiing Napton way IMO

Oi love farmland views I does! 😉 

Edited by Markinaboat
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I know of 3 boats that have cruised Napton to Fenny in last couple of weeks. 2 with 36 inch draught really struggled, the other with 30 inch no problem.

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5 minutes ago, pearley said:

I know of 3 boats that have cruised Napton to Fenny in last couple of weeks. 2 with 36 inch draught really struggled, the other with 30 inch no problem.

Been there, done that, now at 2'6" on a heavy day. I think the levels have been quite high of late. 

6 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

HS2 is carving up the summit around Wormleighton unfortunately.

Yea, I saw the earth mounds that when I was bringing Jessop back home in October. You should see the utter carnage at Harefield/Denham, it's on a humungous scale and absolutely devastated the area and significantly changed the landscape. 😞

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12 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

HS2 is carving up the summit around Wormleighton unfortunately.

 

Not a great deal of "carving-up" going on and once completed it will be hardly noticeable - certainly much better than some of the eyesores that were created when they crossed the canals with motorways or the A34 Oxford By-Pass.

 

Generally, I cannot remember having insurmountable navigation challenges on the summit level. Water supplies have been plentiful in most years and the pumps keep the summit generally deep enough for our boat which draws more than three feet of water. The only real caution is to be especially careful on some of the bends where some boaters have approached too fast and ploughed there own channel into the bank.

Edited by NB Alnwick
To add punctuation . . .
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Just now, NB Alnwick said:

 

Not a great deal of "carving-up" going on and once completed it will be hardly noticeable - certainly much better than some of the eyesores that were created when they crossed the canals with motorways or the A34 Oxford By-Pass.

 

Generally, I cannot remember having insurmountable navigation challenges on the summit level water supplies have been plentiful in most years and the pumps keep the summit generally deep enough for our boat which draws more than three feet of water. The only real caution is to be especially careful on some of the bends where some boaters have approached too fast and ploughed there own channel into the bank.

That's reassuring Graham! Always glance at Alnwick when I drive over the bridge, I lived aboard Enid in 2015-2016. Do you still take her out for trips (the boat, not the missus!) 🙂

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2 minutes ago, Markinaboat said:

That's reassuring Graham! Always glance at Alnwick when I drive over the bridge, I lived aboard Enid in 2015-2016. Do you still take her out for trips (the boat, not the missus!) 🙂

 

We haven't moved for for a while because we have been renovating our cottage - which is now habitable! We have been to Fenny Compton a few times and can report that the summit is perfectly navigable and the locks remain relatively easy for single-handed operation.

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11 minutes ago, NB Alnwick said:

 

Not a great deal of "carving-up" going on and once completed it will be hardly noticeable - certainly much better than some of the eyesores that were created when they crossed the canals with motorways or the A34 Oxford By-Pass.

 

Generally, I cannot remember having insurmountable navigation challenges on the summit level. Water supplies have been plentiful in most years and the pumps keep the summit generally deep enough for our boat which draws more than three feet of water. The only real caution is to be especially careful on some of the bends where some boaters have approached too fast and ploughed there own channel into the bank.

. . . including the one that went so fast it ended up in a puddle in the middle of the field.

 

My experience is much as described above.

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9 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

. . . including the one that went so fast it ended up in a puddle in the middle of the field.

 

My experience is much as described above.

Quirky, isn’t  it.

 

thanks

13 minutes ago, NB Alnwick said:

 

We haven't moved for for a while because we have been renovating our cottage - which is now habitable! We have been to Fenny Compton a few times and can report that the summit is perfectly navigable and the locks remain relatively easy for single-handed operation.

Thanks. 

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We moored at Napton Junction for a long time, and the advantage is that you have an immediate choice of three routes with even more a few miles on from Braunston. As for short days or overnight, there are several lovely mooring places, looking across open farmland, between Napton and Braunston. and only an hour away.

 

 

Edited by David Schweizer
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1 hour ago, PaulJ said:

Bludy hell Mark- you havent long come from there 😀

My choice would be Napton as it gives you a greater and more varied choices for the bit you have to do most on shorter trips and also potentially less affected by any stoppages (if you were considering  Wigrams) .

Its all busy you just have to time it so you are going when everyone else is coming back.

Hope all well with yourselfs 🙂

I would go along with this

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35 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

We moored at Napton Junction for a long time, and the advantage is that you have an immediate choice of three routes with even more a few miles on from Braunston. As for short days or overnight, there are several lovely mooring places, looking across open farmland, between Napton and Braunston. and only an hour away.

 

 

it does seem to make more sense. Thanks

15 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I would go along with this

Napton Marina, thanks for your input

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1 hour ago, David Schweizer said:

We moored at Napton Junction for a long time, and the advantage is that you have an immediate choice of three routes with even more a few miles on from Braunston. As for short days or overnight, there are several lovely mooring places, looking across open farmland, between Napton and Braunston. and only an hour away.

 

 

Agreed, there are lots of places to go out to and moor if in a marina near Napton and not just in the summer. When we were in Wigrams, we used to go out each week during the winter down to Braunston to go to the butchers and spend a night down there and one on the way back.

You asked about how busy? That is a downside. The wigrams to Braunston stretch has to be the busiest on the whole network and on hot summer weekends, a boat a minute in each direction is not unusual - given 5 marinas on the stretch plus another 2 the other side of calcutt locks and 4 hire fleet locations. Put one fat boat in the mix and it can be a traffic jam all the way to Braunston. Lots of nice mooring spots even when lots of boats.

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The summit is fine even with a full draft ex working boat. You just have stay in the channel. In normal times we do it 4-6 times a year. It can be sticky in fenny tunnel particularly as there are inappropriate continuous moorers there, but i haven't actually come to a complete halt there for 15 years.

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2 hours ago, Markinaboat said:

 I preferer the scenery of the summit but that's not of much use if it's unnavigable for much of the time. 

How deep is your boat? I alread read Paul Smith's 'Living On A Narrowboat' articles, and in the latest one he reports having got stuck several times on the summit pound during, I think, late January/ early February. But his boat, 'Orient', apparently draws 3'6". Ours draws about 2'9", we have done the summit pound many times and, as far as I remember, only got briefly stuck, on the offside, once.

 

Oh, and it is lovely, as long as you like "remote and winding".

 

Does it have to be a marina? There are offside private moorings towards the top of the Napton flight, near the Engine Arm (where you can turn round, and which itself also has moorings). They have always looked appealing. I don't know who runs them.

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41 minutes ago, Athy said:

 

Does it have to be a marina? There are offside private moorings towards the top of the Napton flight, near the Engine Arm (where you can turn round, and which itself also has moorings). They have always looked appealing. I don't know who runs them.

Holt Farm who also have a camping/caravan site http://www.naptonholtfarm.co.uk/ we were there for about 10 years

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4 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

We moored at Napton Junction for a long time, and the advantage is that you have an immediate choice of three routes with even more a few miles on from Braunston. As for short days or overnight, there are several lovely mooring places, looking across open farmland, between Napton and Braunston. and only an hour away.

 

 

As David says. We moored at Ventnor for about 10 years before moving to the Trent & Misery.

 

A trip from Napton to Braunston, with a stop off at The Boat Inn, if you don't mind "fastish type  food" makes for a pleasant day out and back.

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