Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Out on the Cherwell on yellow boards

Since our last posting we have enjoyed a lovely weekend with friends down in Bristol having left Leo at Aynho Boatyard on the Oxford Canal South of Banbury.  We returned on Monday evening with our friends Maurice and Carolyn who had been kind enough to give us a lift to Bristol and back.  The weather over the Bank Holiday weekend was lovely so it was a shame to return to rain on Tuesday.  However we ought to pick up the tale where we left off and explain that we moored in the centre of Banbury on Thursday evening.  We had visited Banbury for a couple of days last year so it was good to return to somewhere we had been before.

This chap is called 'Spaghetti Limbed Pete' and stands by the canal

This of course is the Fine Lady upon a White Horse

And here is the Banbury Cross which had been cleaned and painted since last year

In the evening we had a good meal at Ye Olde Reindeer Inn which is probably the oldest building in Banbury being built in 1570.  It has a splendid panelled room at the back called the Globe Room which lost its panelling in the early 20th century.  The panelling turned up in a house in Islington in London and was put back in the pub in the 1960s.
Globe Room in Ye Olde Reindeer Inn
On Friday in strong wind and rain we cruised down to Aynho where we left Leo.  Stopped for lunch, we spotted a couple in difficulties with the wife having leapt onto the bank and fallen.  We hurried out and looked after the boat, Piper's Fancy, while Adrian looked after Sue.  We later discovered that Sue had broken her leg and they have had to curtail their trip.  Very sad and we wish them well.

After our weekend in Bristol we set off around midday on Tuesday and came down Somerton Deep Lock, at 12 feet the deepest on the Oxford Canal.
Clematis draping the bridge below Somerton Deep Lock
We moored after a very wet afternoon at Upper Heyford and when the rain later stopped we walked through that village and along the road to Lower Heyford before returning along the canal towpath.
Fine floral show in Lower Heyford
Today we cruised on down the Oxford Canal.  At Lower Heyford there is a lifting bridge.  Helen kindly let a lorry back over the bridge before trying to open it.  The bridge being just too heavy to lift, the lorry driver came back over the bridge on foot to help her.  One good turn deserves another!
Lorry backing over lift bridge at Lower Heyford
We stopped for lunch just before Baker's Lock which takes you down onto the River Cherwell.  As the river is known to rise rapidly after rain we walked down to look at the marker which shows green for normal, yellow for 'proceed with caution' and red for 'stay where you are and don't come onto the river'.  The board showed half way up the yellow, so after a fortifying lunch we carried onl
Indicator board - on  yellow just below red
Conditions out on the river were not too bad though running downstream did not require much effort from the engine.  After a mile on the river a curious diamond shaped lock leads you back to the safety of the canal.
Shipton Weir Lock
This lock has only a very small drop (around 2 feet) and is this curious shape to hold more water to fill the next few deeper locks.

We had planned to spend this evening in Thrupp which is a lovely canalside hamlet, but unfortunately all the visitor moorings were taken so we came a mile or so beyond to Kidlington where we are moored and from where we are sending you this message.
Cottages at Thrupp
Tomorrow we have the excitement of following the Duke's Cut onto the Thames.  Our aim is to do what we were prevented from doing last year by floods, which is to travel the Upper Thames above Oxford to Lechlade, the navigable limit of the river.  We are really looking forward to this part of our trip.

1 comment:

  1. We really love the upper Thames, so quiet and peaceful, with the lovely Lechlade at the end. However the helmsman is kept on his/her toes rounding all the bends. Hope this recent rain doesn't scupper those plans.


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