Sunday, August 05, 2012

Showers and queues

Today started OK on both counts, it was only this afternoon that it all went wrong. We got away at our habitual time of about 10 o’clock, through Drinkwater’s Lift Bridge (which was a stone’s throw from our mooring) and on to Kidlington Green Lock.

The old boatyard near Kings Bridge has had a change of ownership, or at least name.
SAM_2058 New ownership
The signs weren’t there when we passed last.

The first two locks were set in our favour, and we made good time to Thrupp. Most of the moorings in this popular stop-over were taken, but we hadn’t intended to moor here anyway. Maffi was loitering near the lift bridge, so we got that raised for us.
Cheers, Maffi! See you later in the year. Sorry, didn’t get a picture, so here’s one of NB The Milly M instead.

Maffi’s boat, NB The Milly MSAM_2062 Maffi's Boat

The Church of The Holy Cross at Shipton-on-Cherwell is handy for passing boatersSAM_2064 Shipton Church

A mile up from Thrupp we got a chance for a short “river fix” as we went up the odd-shaped Shipton Weir Lock and onto a short stretch of the River Cherwell.

Shipton Weir LockSAM_2066 Shipton Weir Lock

On the River CherwellSAM_2068 River Cherwell
The tall chimney belongs to the derelict Blue Circle cement factory sitting in a bend of the river.

Arriving at Bakers Lock to leave the river for the canal we came across the queue that we followed for the rest of the day.

Queuing for Bakers LockSAM_2069 Bakers Lock Queue
The two boats ahead were novices, with the result that passage was slow. Still, we were in no rush.

Cable & Wireless’ Satellite Earth Station sits on the flank of White Hill above Enslow.

Whitehill StationSAM_2073 Satellite Earth Station run by Cable and Wireless In addition to Cable & Wireless’ communications operation, the Met Office also uses the facility for SADIS, the Satellite Distribution system which provides up to the minute global weather information to the aviation industry.

We wound our way through the moored boats at Enslow, home of Kingsground Narrowboats, before passing under the permanently open Caravan Lift Bridge.

Caravan Lift BridgeSAM_2079 Caravan Lift Br
Collision damage has rendered the bridge unusable, and passing boats have undermined the abutments to a considerable degree.

We caught up with our little convoy again at Pigeon Lock, taking nearly an hour to get through, but that was our last for the day as we pulled in just beyond the old quarry at Kirtlington.

Waiting for Pigeon LockSAM_2083 Pigeon Lock
It had been raining on and off for the last couple of hours, but as I knocked in the pins thunder rumbled on the horizon and the sky went dark. Then the heavens opened, rain lashing down for 15 minutes.
By this time though we were tied up and I was inside looking out, rather than the other way around…

Glad we’d stopped!SAM_2084 Storm
Onward and upward tomorrow, hoping to get near to Banbury.

Locks 5, miles 7½

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