It wasn’t too bad as we arrived at Aynho Wharf at half past nine, pleasantly warm.
There was a boat already there, filling with diesel and water, so we pulled on in front to wait our turn. By the time we were done it was manic, boats reversing, hanging about waiting to get on, and coming from both directions.
As soon as a gap appeared we were off, heading out into clear water.
Emptied out, the ladies are off to munch some more grass while waiting for this afternoon’s visit to the parlour.
Chisnell Lift Bridge was open when we arrived, although it was down first thing as I passed on my morning run. So the first interruption to travel was Somerton Deep Lock. I wasn’t looking forward to this one; I struggled to close the large single bottom gate a couple of years ago, finally resorting to using a Spanish Windlass from a fence post!
Somerton Deep Lock, oh ‘eck.
The lock was full, so that bit was easy. The problem was expected after the lock was empty and Mags had left.
If push came to shove I could always wait for help from another boat…
Someone must have sorted it, although the gate wouldn’t go right back into it’s recess, closing it was a doddle. No worse than some of the shallower locks.
Below the lock there are four curious sculptured posts along the towpath.
For a change we weren’t following another boat, which meant that upcoming traffic had left the locks ready for us. And we even managed to leave the bottom gates open at Heyford Common Lock!
Leaving Heyford Common Lock
A farmer is always outstanding in his field, even when he’s sitting down!
Allen’s Lock was also full and ready for us, but no-one was waiting to come up, unfortunately.
The lock is on the edge of the small village of Upper Heyford, close to the canal is the “Big House”, tithe barn and the church, it’s battlemented tower just visible over the trees.
Lower Heyford seems to be a popular spot to stop, although why I don’t know. The north end of the canal is overshadowed and gloomy, the south end dominated by the proximity of the West Coast Main Line.
Lower Heyford moorings near Mill Lift Bridge
Mill Lift Bridge, the first of several to deal with now, as we head down the last 12 or so miles to Dukes Cut.
Lower Heyford, canal wharf and railway.
We filled with water just beyond the bridge. With rubbish disposed of at Aynho, we’ll now only have to empty a loo at the busy Thrupp services.
I had to chuckle at the C&RT notice asking visiting boaters not to run engines and generators on the moorings opposite the houses. Just the other side of the hedge there’s a train every 10 minutes or so, rattling windows and making it difficult to hear yourself think!
We’d had enough by this time, and pulled in on a likely looking bit of hard edge not far past Cleeves Bridge.
A bit of shade
It’s been a very enjoyable trip today, this southerly stretch is probably the prettiest. Mostly open with views across the rolling Oxfordshire ripening wheat fields and pastures, there are some woody bits that make the EWBS-ometer needle swing into the upper levels…
Near Deep Cutting Bridge, EWBS rating 4
We’ll aim for Thrupp tomorrow, but no guarantees…
Tried TV and phones, TV poor, phone reception non-existent. So we moved ¾ mile and are now moored above Dashwood Lock, everything works here. No shade but it’s getting a little cooler.
Locks 3, miles 7¾