I was getting ready to get moving this morning when a boat went past. Not an unusual event, you might think. But this one turned out to be NB Tesla. You remember Bernie and Val who came to see us when we were waiting for the river to go down at Bablock Hythe? They were looking at buying a boat, this one. It turns out they did, and were just taking it back to Thrupp after a successful survey at Banbury.
They pulled in and we had an hour talking boats before parting company.
Bernie, Val and son Declan, and NB Tesla
Enjoy the boat, guys!
We got going, about a mile to Northmoor Lock, where we were stopped by a couple of C&RT chaps removing a tree that had blown down across the canal.
We waited for about ¾ of an hour for them to do their stuff, then, while they enjoyed a brew provided by Mags, I disposed of the cut up tree – in the direction of our roof. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, eh.
There was a bit of a queue behind us by the time we got into the lock.
Meg made a new mate while we waited…
Meg and Pickle
A boat was just coming out of Dashwood Lock when we arrived, then we had a steady cruise to Lower Heyford.
Always a popular spot for mooring, it was busy with boats. Fuel boat NB Dusty was moored at one end of the village, and Bones in the middle.
Bones’ unusual artwork.
Both boats were locked up, so no diesel and no natter. Ah well. We can deal with the former at Aynho Wharf tomorrow. The latter will have to wait till we come down again.
I nearly managed to drop Mill Lift Bridge onto our cratch as Mags was going through. It’s balanced to stay down, so I’d put my weight on the beam to lift the deck, then reached down to secure it with the chain, which took my weight back off the beam with obvious consequences. After a couple of ups and downs I just sat on the beam and held it that way.
Mill Lift Bridge
Allen’s Lock, near Upper Heyford, has a miniature brick tail bridge, beautifully proportioned.
Mag’s is waiting for the lock to empty.
It really is a very attractive canal, the South Oxford.
Countryside near Somerton
Our last lock of the day was Somerton Deep, living up to it’s name, being 12 feet deep.
Formidable lower gate of Somerton Deep
It’s a heavy gate to swing, I’d struggled to close it on the way down, and I fared little better this time. Still, I managed in the end.
There’s a splendid cottage alongside though, to make up for the effort.
Somerton Deep Lock Cottage
A long way down….
We pulled over just past Bridge 193, after what felt like a long day but in fact was only 4 hours on the move. We’d done well with the weather, the showers that were due didn’t really materialise, at least not till later.
It was around five o’clock that the sky darkened and over came a stupendous thunderstorm.
You can see the spray bouncing off the roof of the boat moored ahead.
Then this guy came round the corner, struggling to see where he was going….
The boat, maybe appropriately, is called Sunseeker!
Locks 5, miles 8