This year the Salford and Newcastle crews went their separate ways. The Newcastle people went from Middlewich up the Llangollen Canal with Elm and Pine, whilst Salford preferred a camper from Union Canal Carriers at Braunston.
Their trip was a simple run from Braunston down the Oxford Canal to Oxford and back. The start was delayed waiting for a missing crew member, who didn’t turn up and we eventually set off in the dark. We had arranged to pick up Mark Doran in the Bridge Inn at Napton, which was then a Davenport’s pub. Mark arrived early evening and sat there waiting for us….and waited and waited until chucking-out time, getting very drunk in the process. In the meantime, our late start meant that we decided we couldn’t go that far and that Mark would realise that and walk down the towpath to meet us – which he did, although not until midnight! He was very forgiving though.
The Oxford Canal parallels the railway much of the way and we were entertained by the sights and sounds of the Class 50 diesels that had recently transferred to the line.
Other memories of this trip are that Mark was sent into a Morrell’s pub to find out if it sold real ale or whether it was on “top pressure”. The landlord enthusiastically said yes, thinking that was the answer Mark was hoping for. We didn’t go in.
Also, the boat hit a bridge on the Oxford Canal causing quite severe structural damage. We also managed to break the long shaft and had to pay for it.
Dates: 28th December 1974 – 4th January 1975
Boat: Bainton, camping boat from Union Canal Carriers at Braunston
Crew: Duncan Roberts, Gwen Trippet, Hugh Mowat, Jim Davies, Mark Doran, Steve Challis, Richard and Linda Atkinson (plus several others).
Route: Braunston, Napton Junction, Oxford Canal to Oxford and return to Braunston
Pubs: Other than we spent New Year’s Eve in a very quiet Oxford city centre I have no recollections of where we drank.