Weather wise another good day but a bit frustrating boating wise queuing at all the locks. We set off at the normal 10 am a couple of boats had left earlier but I felt they were well ahead. One of the boats a fibreglass cruiser similar to a Wilderness Water Rat the chap built from scratch in his garage and they had been everywhere with it including the Winsford Flashes and the Falkirk Wheel.
At the lift bridge just before the M40 two CRT chaps where trawling the bottom with Cromes, these are long handle racks with long tines. This is the only photo I could find on the net.The”For Sale” boards have been taken down at Kings Sutton Lock cottage so I don’t know if its finally been sold. Below the lock and beyond the lift bridge the bank has been repaired since last time we were this way.
At Nell Bridge lock we were free of the queue, while the lock was filling I tried to photograph some of the butterflies on the buddleia growing on the far bank.The river Cherwell was running the slowest I have ever seen, I went and sat outside Aynho Weir lock while Diana set it and didn’t even turn out of line. There is a lot more water entering Aynho Weir Lock as you try to empty it now than last time we were this way, I think it is springing up through the floor of the lock, if it fails it will be some stoppage to sort out.
The old steam boat still sits on the bank by the bridge, I can’t see that back in the water any time soon.
Chisnell Lift Bridge was open ready for us which was handy, in the past we have found it down. Just south of the bridge there are a row of posts that look as if they are in the middle of the towpath, do these actually mark the edge of the towpath does anyone know? At long last some one has repainted the Oxford Canal sign at Somerton, this was readable from the train, but I am not sure if it is now the speed they pass. Its not quite the same as the original that if I remember correctly said OXFORD CANAL British Waterways Board, I am bound to have a photo somewhere.
Things were slow at Somerton Deep Lock, I had time to drink a cup of tea in the time it took one boat to leave the lock and the oncoming boat to come in. The boat ahead of us entered the lock in neutral and once the lock was empty, after a blip to get it moving went out in neutral as well. Needless to say there were several boats waiting to use it. Just below the lock we met Narrowboat Progress looking very smart. It can be seen in lots of Laurence Hogg Videos.
clear blue sky trying to catch up while we pushed on also trying to catch up. We stopped to fill with water at Lower Heyford, there was a boat there already taking water and it wasn’t the fastest tap on the system by a long way. Once full we pushed on until 6-30 pm and moored up at Kirtlington Quarry, It would be really nice if one of the local canal societies could put some mooring rings into the concrete, there is one but all the rest have been chopped off sometime in the past.