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


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What I don't think anyone has mentioned is the lack of winding holes on the Oxford Summit. You can only turn at Fenny Compton in the middle (unless you are only about 50ft and can use the small winding hole about Marston Doles top lock), this means you'll need to go down and back up Claydon locks and/or the first 3 at Marston Doles/Napton every time you go anywhere. The Napton pound you can turn more or less immediately before all 4 locks leading off the pound, assuming lock free cruising is your aim :)

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57 minutes ago, Ray T said:

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.

 

Which 'Boat Inn' would this be? Are you thinking of 'The Boat Inn' on the Rugby Road at the top of Stockton Locks which would mean going through Calcutt Locks?

The former 'Bridge Inn' at Napton was a favourite of ours for many years on this route with excellent moorings and a winding hole but, sadly, this is now a private residence.

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Yes - I thought so after I had posted the above. The Boathouse has had an interesting history - the main building was originally 'Braunston House' and a few of the stable buildings or outbuildings survived into light industrial use after the premises was converted for brewery/retail use - in which guise it eventually became a training establishment for managed houses in the 1960s - old ordnance survey maps from this time show it as the "Rose and Castle" - although it may have been called the "New Castle" at some time earlier after the "Old Castle" pub (which was beside the bridge carrying the A45 over the canal) closed. There was also another nearby pub, on the other side of the road, called "The Old Ship" that was popular with boatmen. This would have been near the current entrance to the old boat yard premises.

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1 hour ago, NB Alnwick said:

Yes - I thought so after I had posted the above. The Boathouse has had an interesting history - the main building was originally 'Braunston House' and a few of the stable buildings or outbuildings survived into light industrial use after the premises was converted for brewery/retail use - in which guise it eventually became a training establishment for managed houses in the 1960s - old ordnance survey maps from this time show it as the "Rose and Castle" - although it may have been called the "New Castle" at some time earlier after the "Old Castle" pub (which was beside the bridge carrying the A45 over the canal) closed. There was also another nearby pub, on the other side of the road, called "The Old Ship" that was popular with boatmen. This would have been near the current entrance to the old boat yard premises.

 

It was definitely called the "Rose and Castle"in the 1960's. We always stopped there for a couple of pints when mooring, or passing through Braunston.

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11 minutes ago, David Schweizer said:

 

It was definitely called the "Rose and Castle"in the 1960's. We always stopped there for a couple of pints when mooring, or passing through Braunston.

 

Rose & Castle PH.jpg

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23 minutes ago, Ray T said:

 

Rose & Castle PH.jpg

That looks like Phipps/NBC signage - most probably between the late 1950s and 1967. I am guessing it passed to Watney Mann (Midland) Ltd. along with other outlets belonging to the Northampton Brewery before becoming part of the Grand Metropolitan chain in the early 1970s. A couple of years before I joined Courage (now forty years ago) I remember the Rose and Castle being used (I think by Grand Met.) as one of their Midlands Region training houses.

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I suspect it has already been said by other posters.

 

We moor at Calcutt, 3 efficient locks from the “Braunston pound”.  I would say best on the Braunston pound or Calcutt/Ventnor gives the most flexibility, which is why we moor there.  You have good cruising for weekends, and are very well connected for further afield being on the Warwickshire ring, and 4 days down the South Oxfordto the Thames.

 

If you want to not do many locks, you only have 3 locks at Hillmorton, plus Sutton Stop, and you then have lots more cruising to Coventry, Atherstone, and the Ashby.

 

The disadvantage perhaps of the Braunston to Napton section is that it is very busy, and there are a lot of hire boats based there.  Personally I enjoy that bustle, but for some a boat going past every 5 minutes is not what they want.

 

For me the Oxford summit, whilst very nice,  would be limiting, as you can really only use Fenny Compton to top of Napton for short cruises, as there in nowhere to wind at the top of Clayton.  If the boat is longer than 50ft you will need to go down the top 2 Locks at Napton (ie Marston Doles) to wind as well.

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Sorry for the delay, been slightly off-radar. Thanks for all of the replies and information, it's helped me make my mind up as to where I was leaning. Hopefully see some of you later in the year. 🙏

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36 minutes ago, Markinaboat said:

Sorry for the delay, been slightly off-radar. Thanks for all of the replies and information, it's helped me make my mind up as to where I was leaning. Hopefully see some of you later in the year. 🙏

So, where do you intend to moor?

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25 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Fifteen hours and no-one has asked? Really? Ok, I'm asking... !

I got pics of this in the Northampton Echo. 

Was sat there having dinner with my daughter and we heard a loud Crump and lots of kids came running in from the play area screaming.

Outside was this sight.

The road had been freshly gravelled, 20mph signs everywhere, the lady driver came down from Braunston village at speed, turned right, slowed across the road in several spins, and hit the wall, endingvup there. 

Alcohol had been consumed...she stunk of it...the chair was for her.

 

Edited by matty40s
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13 hours ago, NB Alnwick said:

That looks like Phipps/NBC signage - most probably between the late 1950s and 1967. I am guessing it passed to Watney Mann (Midland) Ltd. along with other outlets belonging to the Northampton Brewery before becoming part of the Grand Metropolitan chain in the early 1970s. A couple of years before I joined Courage (now forty years ago) I remember the Rose and Castle being used (I think by Grand Met.) as one of their Midlands Region training houses.

In the late 1970's there was a "Mississippi tugboat" style restaurant tagged on the end. Manager's name was Gerald.

 

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14 minutes ago, matty40s said:

I got pics of this in the Northampton Echo. 

Was sat there having dinner with my daughter and we heard a loud Crump and lots of kids came running in from the play area screaming.

Outside was this sight.

The road had been freshly gravelled, 20mph signs everywhere, the lady driver came down from Braunston village at speed, turned right, slowed across the road in several spins, and hit the wall, endingvup there. 

Alcohol had been consumed...she stunk of it...the chair was for her.

 

Thanks Matty - sounds funny now, but maybe not so at the time!

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1 hour ago, David Mack said:

I stayed there overnight in the 90s, an interesting evening as a Leicestershire Transvestite group were having their Christmas dinner there. I still remember holding the door open for a person in an evening dress. The other thing I remember it was not possible to order a meal without peas if it said peas on the menu. Just leave them on your plate.

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21 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

 

It was definitely called the "Rose and Castle"in the 1960's. We always stopped there for a couple of pints when mooring, or passing through Braunston.

 

And remained that name until the mid 1990's.

 

I first had a pint in there in 1973.

 

When we got our first shareboat in 1992, we had our first owners meeting there.

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Although the beer of that era may not have been applauded by all connoisseurs, I still hold the view that CAMRA whether deliberately or unintentionally, did more than any other organisation to bring about the destruction of traditional British pubs. I say this as someone who joined the business before the end of the big Brewery's golden era and I witnessed its demise from within.

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46 minutes ago, NB Alnwick said:

Although the beer of that era may not have been applauded by all connoisseurs, I still hold the view that CAMRA whether deliberately or unintentionally, did more than any other organisation to bring about the destruction of traditional British pubs. I say this as someone who joined the business before the end of the big Brewery's golden era and I witnessed its demise from within.

 

An interesting opinion.

 

Can I ask what makes you say this?

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1 hour ago, NB Alnwick said:

Although the beer of that era may not have been applauded by all connoisseurs, I still hold the view that CAMRA whether deliberately or unintentionally, did more than any other organisation to bring about the destruction of traditional British pubs. I say this as someone who joined the business before the end of the big Brewery's golden era and I witnessed its demise from within.

 

I came of age in the Black Country in the late 1970's and began my drinking in 'traditional British pubs'  which were generally pretty horrible drinking holes and had to change if they wanted people to carry on drinking in them. The standard of pubs in my mind has improved immeasurably as has the beer.

 

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What we now refer to as Lord Young's Beer Orders of 1989 did for the brewing industry what others infamously achieved with British Steel, British Leyland and British Coal.

After a successful campaign by CAMRA, the 'big six' breweries were forced to sell off the bulk of their licenced premises. This made operating breweries less profitable and many of these too were subsequently closed or sold off. During the late 1990s UK pubs were closing at the rate of 50 a week. The net result was thousands of employees losing their jobs.

 

The concept of managed public houses was never fully understood by those outside the industry but it was really no different to any other multi-outlet retail business. Staff were properly trained and managed, the breweries employed professional skilled staff and technicians to look after the premises and develop products, whilst also taking care of marketing, finance and administration. It worked well.

 

The net result of the 1989 Beer Orders is a situation where most pubs are now owned by property or finance companies who invest in the capital rather than the concept and milk them dry by renting them out to, so called, entrepreneurial tenants. The latter often lack professional training and find themselves working all hours to make a living.

Edited by NB Alnwick
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