Sunday, 27 September 2009

Aynho weir lock.

One of the curiosities of the canals, this very shallow, only about a foot deep, lozenge shaped lock was built to stop the River Cherwell flowing down the canal, as the next lock is Somerton, about 12 ft deep, the shallow lock needed to pass enough enough water to supply the deep one, hence the shape giving a greater volume.

The River Cherwell crosses just above the lock, it flows in from the right and out under the arches to the left.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Somerton deep lock.

Claimed by some to be the deepest narrow lock on the system.

Looking up from the bottom.

Looking down from the top.

Going up.

Made it to the top despite being told by another boater that we were doing it all wrong!

The old lock keepers cottage all done up, this is what they invented the word TWEE for.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


I guess everyone has heard of Banbury Cross, as in the nursery rhyme, well here it is in all its glory.The original was destroyed by Cromwell's lot but the Victorians built one of their own.

Here's the fine lady checking that her underarm deodorant is working.

Here's the cross AND the lady, if she tried to ride to it today she would get flattened by the traffic.

The canal in Banbury, it goes right through the main shopping centre.

Looking the other way from the footbridge. That's Armadillo, the blue boat on the right with the satellite dish.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Cropredy (pronounced Croperdy).

I don't like cats but this fella had the most amazing markings, never seen a moggie like it. Must be a Cropredy Cat

The splendid church and the rather attractive lock and lock cottage.

The Red Lion and its' eponymous street and, of course, Warren, the finest barman in the trade, I know that is true because he keeps telling me he is.

Probably one of the most attractive villages on the system. Two splendid pubs (We use the Red Lion, it's closer to the cut.) and who can resist streets called Red Lion Street, Roundbottom or Cream Pot?

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Moving On.

At Cropredy, a decent 3G signal and a chance to update.
We set off towards Napton passing Wigrams Turn and the Grand Union going off towards Brum.
The derelict wharf at the old Napton brickyard gives a clue to some of the commercial traffic once carried by the Oxford Canal.
Autumn morning near Marston Doles.

At this time of year even the spiders webs become beautiful. Mind you the boat looks like Sleeping Beautys castle, covered in the damn things, Jill is not convinced they are beautiful.
Right stroppy visitor so we left.

A slow wander southwards.

Our next spot was Ladder Bridge, near Wormleighton. This part of the country is notable for the amount of medieval ridge and furrow still visible, doesn't show up well in photo's though.

A brisk walk out to Priors Hardwick, lovely village, no pub, just a restaurant and that was shut!

Next day we walked to Wormleighton, noted for a large gatehouse and, in the church, a carving of a remarkably well endowed dog. There is also a 16th century carving of a chap wearing spectacles but that was to high up to get a 'photo. Also no pub.
Then a wander across the summit level, down Claydon locks and so to Cropredy.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Autumn is here.

Autmn appears to be about here, fields are brown, sky is clouded over and as mentioned before, many red berries adorn the towpath bushes but this isn't a bad view from the kitchen window.
Yesterday was fire preparation, first job was to sweep the flue, out came the flue brush, off fell the head of said brush, lucky I'm a minor genius, out came the cable ties and the head was reattached and the flue duly attacked. The obligatory bucket of soot was removed and only about half a bucket spread about the cabin and only minor amounts adhered to me. The stove was then assaulted with suitable blacklead, I was less successful at keeping that off of me but it only went up as far as my elbows. The result, a highly polished stove, can be seen behind Jill who is busily cross stitching the Christmas cards, a sure sign that autumn is here, as reliable a sign as the swallows heading south and desparate boaters cleaning chimneys.

Friday, 4 September 2009

We are back onboard and on the move!

Well we are finally back on Armadillo. She has been laid up for three weeks at Weltonfield Narrowboats while we were in Morden for the funeral etc. We set off back towards Braunston this forenoon an autumn trip down the South Oxford having been decided upon, every other plan this year has failed to come to fruition, lets see what happens to this one.
The first place of note was Norton Junction

with its old toll house, now, I believe, available as a holiday let.
A short way up the cut were some B.W. mud hoppers, the one on the inside appears to be a cut down working boat, now only about 40ft. long, perhaps a B.C.N. joey boat, anyone any ideas?
If it's true what they say about lots of berries meaning a hard winter then it's time to get the thermals out.
Then comes Braunston Tunnel, 2042 yards long with a lot of wiggles, I reckon they must have been on the ale when they dug this one. It was made particularly interesting by a boat coming the other way with a tunnel light so bright we couldn't see a thing, then he moaned when he took a hit, tough.
We were glad to see this view
although nothing has yet been done about the landslip just at the tunnel mouth.

Down the locks we passed the Lord Nelson, now thankfully open again.

The entrance to the marina used to be the main line of the Oxford canal

and the stop house was the toll house for the two canals. Unfortunately the force of the wind precluded taking photos' as we turned south onto the Oxford as we were being blown all over the shop. We gave up shortly afterwards and moored near Flecknoe, what a pair of wimps I hear you say, spot on, that's us.