You can’t rush the South Oxford. It’s often narrow, mostly shallow and frequently overhung by the encroaching vegetation. So the best thing is just to take it easy.
Last evening as the sun set, there was a fine contrast of light and shade in the fields opposite.
We set off this morning at around 09:20, a bit earlier than planned but we were both up and ready, it was a beautiful sunny morning and the birds were singing, so why not?
Today was forecast to be fine, and the weathermen got that right, but the wall-to-wall sunshine they expected failed to materialise. Not bad, though, overall.
A fine morning…
We’ve moored here, just south of Cleeves Bridge, in the past. It’s a good length of piling opposite a winding hole.
But it’s shaded, noisy from the passing trains, there’s no phone or internet and the TV reception is poor. Apart from that it’s fine…
Coalboat Dusty and Bones in Lower Heyford.
It’s a bit congested at Lower Heyford and the channel is narrow so you have to watch out.
Mags negotiating our only lift bridge today, Mill Lift Bridge in Lower Heyford.
A posh aluminium one, this.
There was a boat just dropping down Allen’s Lock as we arrived, and another going up with one waiting above at Heyford Common Lock.
Awkward turn into Allen’s Lock from the landing.
About an hour from Heyford Common Lock to Somerton Deep Lock gave us a chance for a brew and a bite to eat.
A boat came out of Somerton Deep Lock as we approached, and I thought “Oh good, this particularly deep one will be set for us”, and foolishly pulled in under the bridge up to the bottom gate. I hopped off and went up the steps to open the gate, only to find a full lock and a boat just coming in! Back on the boat I hastily reversed to avoid being flushed out when the bottom paddles were raised, and just made it before the flow started. Phew.
It just goes to show that you shouldn’t make assumptions!
There were 5 boats waiting to come down at the top as we rose up in the chamber.
Somerton Deep Lock
A bit of a queue
So glad we’re going the other way!
Chisnell Lift Bridge was open, I think it depends on the weather whether it’s up or down. In wet conditions the deck is heavier so holds it closed…
We disturbed a heron who stalked off in a huff…
…but he resumed his fishing when we cleared off!
We planned to fill with diesel and get a gas bottle at Aynho Wharf, but had to wait a few minutes while a previous customer sorted himself out.
But we got there in the end.
After refuelling we toddled along for another 5 minutes, time enough to enjoy an ice-cream from the shop, and moored just before Belcher’s Lift Bridge. Enough for today.
Locks 3, miles 7½