Having got up all the locks, the only thing stopping us from reaching the head of navigation of the Basingstoke Canal was three low bridges. Gordon measured the height above water and figured out that we had to drop about four inches if we were going to make it. The cratch cover came off, the water tank was filled along with the spare water bladder, heavy stuff was put on top of the gas locker and, with me sitting in the front, we slowly crept up to the first bridge. According to those in the know if you can get under that one you can manage them all.
There wasn’t a great deal of clearance but we made it! The only other problem occurred when Festina Lente managed to pick up a stray cray fish pot in her prop. Luckily we were travelling behind and managed to tow them along to a spot where Andy could get in and sort it all out.
Another lovely day’s travel along this incredibly beautiful canal….
…and we reached the head of navigation at Odiham.
There’s a lovely mooring there…
…which is right outside Odiham Castle – built by King John as a stopping point when travelling between Windsor and Winchester.
To celebrate our safe arrival we went for a great lunch in The Mill House – only a short walk from the canal. Sue and Andy had eaten here in the ’80s when it was owned by a friend of theirs and called Blubeckers.
The canal is in water for another quarter of a mile or so after the official head of navigation. It goes as far as the Greywell Tunnel which is now un-navigable having largely collapsed. It’s now designated as an SSSI as it has more roosting bats than any other site in Britain. We wandered along in the evening to see if we could spot any leaving the roost. No luck there I’m afraid, but it was a pleasant stroll with the Fox and Goose pub at the end of it.
As we returned to the boat we did manage to see a few bats. I spent a happy hour or so on the back of the boat bat spotting. The light from my torch attracted the insects which, in turn, attracted the bats. A lovely end to the day.