Thursday, 29 September 2011

Autumn Cruise - Day 20

It was another autumnal morning followed by a day straight out of high summer.

As we were out on our own, we started a wash load while we had breakfast, as the Travel Power needs the engine revs to be fairly high while the washing machine heats the water.  It was misty and atmospheric when we set off.

We stopped shortly afterwards at Aynho Wharf for a pump out.  It's a friendly little boat yard, and they seemed to do a decent job.  The first lock of the day was another shallow diamond shaped one, Aynho Weir Lock.  The River Cherwell flows across the entrance.

Just above Nell Bridge Lock is a nice looking farm shop with moorings, where they produce their own bacon and pork.  They also sell gas and coal, and have overnight moorings with electricity.  A little further on, we went under one of the typical Oxford lift bridges that's right by the M40.  It's one of the bridges we always look out for when we're on the motorway.

At Grant's Lock, the bridge is having its parapet rebuilt.

At Banbury, we came up the lock with quite an audience, including a man with an owl.  A real one.  Then I went to raise the lift bridge, and we moored outside the Castle Quay shopping centre.

We topped up supplies and had lunch before setting off again.  The route out of Banbury to the north is very slow, because of visitor and permanent moorings.  Hardwick Lock, which is within spitting distance of the M40, has a new balance beam, but they haven't yet fitted the paddle mechanism.  We were glad the lock was in our favour; with only one paddle, it could have been very slow to empty.

Just north of the motorway there are enormous earthworks going on, for a flood alleviation scheme for Banbury.  At one point it's on both sides of the canal, and a little canal bridge (admittedly with some protection) is carrying huge vehicles.

Bourton Lock Cottage looks as sad as ever.  In fact, things may even be worse, as the flood barrier is just feet from the back door.

Adrian arrived at the next lock to find it almost full and with a boat approaching, so he topped it up and opened the gate.  They were very grateful, saying that sort of thing doesn't happen very often.  As we approached Cropredy, I got off to walk to the shops for ice creams, as it was so hot.  The village and the lock cottage were looking particularly pretty in the sunshine.

I was working the final locks of the day, and at one of them a robin landed on the raised paddle rack.  I took several photos, but of course the only one in focus is the one where the robin is looking the other way!

We moored for the night in a nice open spot just past Clattercote Wharf, less than a mile from the bottom of the Claydon flight.  We'll have an enforced relaxed start tomorrow, as the locks are open only between 10am and 2pm, as a water saving measure.

14 miles, 12 locks.  (332 miles, 191 locks)


Carrie said...

Hey, you're in my favourite mooring spot! Isn't it peaceful there.
Does Clattercote wharf still have those scarecrows keeping watch at the farm shop?

Adam said...

Hi Carrie, didn't notice them at Clattercote Wharf, but we have seen lots of scarecrows in fields all around here.