Day 18 (24th Sep 2013) – Napton Junction to Fenny Compton:

The kayakers were back down to two as Stevo and Justin set off down the south arm of the Oxford canal. There were nine locks within a fairly short distance after a paddle of a mile or so. The lads put the kayaks onto their trolleys and proceeded to haul them around a set of four locks followed by another two a little further on. After that they paddled for a while and then carried the boats around the next single lock followed by a combination of carry, drag and even towing around the next two. There followed a long stretch ahead of them towards Fenny Compton.

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Meanwhile, back at Napton, Stuart was having problems of his own. The engine was half drowned by water that had leaked in through the prop shaft and after Stuart started the engine amidst a cloud of smoke there was a loud bang and oil spurted everywhere. The oil filler cap blew off and things were looking grim. Stuart spent the next two hours working on the shaft and engine and afterwards looked like an escapee from the old Black and White Minstrel show. Luckily Stuart’s Dad Howard had arrived to assist and the ‘Merlot’ was eventually back on the road. Graham and John on “Lancelot’ was pushing ahead but still slowed through the nine locks south of Napton.

Up ahead Justin and Stevo had met up with Marion and Damian who had paddled up from Fenny Compton in their own kayaks. Marion and ‘D’ are kayaking and sailing enthusiasts who had been following the exploits of Gutless and crew on the web and had decided to drive up and launch into the canal to meet up with our heroes. The now foursome then paddled back to Fenny Compton and the Wharf pub for the traditional debrief.

‘Lancelot’ arrived about three hours after the paddlers and ‘Merlot’ about an hour later. The reconstituted team then enjoyed a few well deserved pints in the beer garden of the pub before enjoying a bit of pub grub. Stevo decided on the handmade faggots with mash and peas just to find out what the hell it was…

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