Sunday, 23 April 2017

Week 10 - Oxford Canal

Monday 17th April - Aynho to Twyford Wharf

We left Aynho on a dreary day and made our way towards Banbury.  I think my over riding impression of the Oxford Canal will be these lift bridges standing open all the way along the canal.

The cottage at Nell's Lock looks very sad now, although I thought I saw someone painting the front door on Easter Sunday when we walked past, but Dave thinks it was an apparition as it does look pretty derelict.

We got as far as Twyford Wharf, a lovely spot and moored up as I wanted to visit Adderbury, a village about 1 mile away from the canal.  My friend lived in The Rookery when we got our first jobs after graduating from University over 35 years ago!

The Rookery is a beautiful building and Maureen lived in rooms right at the top, the small windows above the large ones!

It even has its own library in a converted chapel, shared with the community rooms and open only a few hours, but it is there!

Twyford Wharf was a delightful place to stop and after our visit to Adderbury we decided to stay for the night.  The visitor moorings are 14 days, somewhere to remember.

Tuesday 18th April - Twyford Wharf to Cropredy

Today we shall cruise to Banbury, stop for water and moor up to go shopping.  Banbury was incredibly busy, boats coming and going and queuing at the lock and lift bridge.  So pleased we decided not to moor there overnight.  We continued on towards Cropredy for the evening.

We were treated to a hovering display by this bird of prey - Kestrel? - and Dave managed to take a picture.  I was very impressed!!

Then as promised, more baby ducklings, these are even smaller than the last ones.

We got to Cropredy and managed to fit into the only visitor mooring space below the lock, so many boats going past looking for moorings, but it is very busy, do hope they find somewhere before dark!

Wednesday 19th April - Cropredy to Fenny Compton

We left Cropredy and set off for Fenny Compton.  Pleasant cruise with plenty of sunshine and more of those inquisitive cows!!

The rookery was very busy with rooks flying backwards and forwards, all making an incredibly loud noise!

We got to the Claydon Locks, of which there are five, and found that the water levels were very low.  As boats were coming up the locks we were hearing stories of boats being grounded and stuck on the towpath side.  Fortunately we didn't have any problems, but it reminded me of the low pounds we experienced on the Wolverhampton 21 at the beginning of our trip.

We got to Fenny Compton and managed to moor up at the end of the visitor moorings.  We passed several spaces between boats which were far too small for us, I wonder if boaters moored up a little more sensibly, closer together, then more boats could use the designated space.

Thursday 20th April - Fenny Compton to Knotts Bridge

Today is my birthday and we are going about 3 miles to a spot on the Summit of the Oxford Canal.  

One of my friends gifted me a stretch of canal, it is at Brewood where we moor up on a regular basis to meet up for an evening either at the end or beginning of a trip (or both).  I have it for a year, what a lovely idea!

Lots of birthday cards, my girls had got themselves very well organised and sent cards to our home address well in advance of us leaving the house!

New jacket for my birthday, very comfortable and warm!

Fields full of new born lambs, cavorting around and making Toby bark!

We moored up with open views all around, we were the only boat but throughout the afternoon other boats moored up to enjoy a lovely spot.

We walked across the fields to the ancient manorial village of Wormleighton, it has a feel of being left behind in time.  Much of the manor house was burnt down during the English Civil War, and all that is left is the Gatehouse and Tower Cottage dated 1613.

A lovely view along the canal capturing the reflection of the rape seed fields in the distance.  Although the sky looks like rain we managed to stay dry for the rest of our walk.

We spent a lovely evening on the boat with a delightful supper and a special bottle of wine to celebrate my birthday.

Friday 21st April - Summit to Napton on the Hill

A very pleasant cruise, with wonderful views, hillsides dotted with sheep and lambs, and swallows skimming over the canal.

As we approached the flight of locks leading down in to Napton we passed a field full of Water Buffalo, they are kept for milk products which can be bought at the local Napton Stores.

We moored up for the night on the flight of locks as the pounds are quite long and offer quiet mooring with views across to the village of Napton on the Hill.

Saturday 22nd April - Napton on the Hill to Braunston

We left Napton and  continued down the locks until we reached the water point and filled up with water.  We continued round to the junction with the Grand Union Canal. We came out of this junction on 4th March, but today we are going straight on towards the North Oxford Canal.

We passed the nbFirefly which features on the front of Nicholson Guide 3, "Birmingham and the Heart of England."

Braunston is a canal centre with the village a short walk away up the hill.  Here the Oxford Canal and The Grand Union join at a triangular junction.  There is a Marina further down on the Grand Union and a Chandlery immediately on the junction.

There are twin Horsley Iron Works towpath bridges over both canals which adds to the attractiveness of the scene.

Once we had moored up we went for a walk to the village and Marina.  

Beside the church was a windmill minus its sails, it is now a holiday cottage!

The Stop House stands on the Grand Union Canal marking the original junction between the Grand Junction canal and the Oxford canal.  It was used to collect tolls from boats passing between the two canals.

Braunston Marina was hosting the Boat Share Show and we knew that Alan and Anne Wood would be there with nbMinuet. We had shares in nbMinuet for about 18 months before we bought nbElla.  It was lovely to see them again.

We learnt that the people who bought our shares are now selling the same shares as they are also having a boat built!!  What a coincidence!

Sunday 23rd April - Braunston to near Brinklow

We woke to a beautiful sunny morning and left behind our mooring heading towards Newbold on Avon.  The canal was still and the scene peaceful.

In the field were many cows with their newborn calves.  Such a lovely chocolate brown colour.

We came to the three duplicated locks at Hilmorton and worked our way down these but we couldn't stop as it was very busy.

We continued onto Newbold on Avon and were able to moor, but the dilapidated and dirty state of the towpath made us decide to continue through the village and find a mooring out in the open.   We are moored opposite a farm with several other boats along the towpath, once again peaceful and quiet.

This completes Week 10 and we will finish cruising the North Oxford Canal next week and begin heading up the Coventry Canal.

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