Monday, 26 August 2013

Claydon locks to Banbury

Bank Holiday Monday 26th August

We decided to leave before 9 to try and avoid the hire-boats, which turned out a successful strategy, at least to start with.  After a cool grey start it was soon back to shorts and t-shirts again, with the brasses gleaming in the sun after Dave’s hard work with the Brasso yesterday evening!  We passed Forge Farm with its pumpkin fields – too early for pumpkins but the scarecrows are there;

scarecrow 2

Last time on the South Oxford we were on our shared boat ‘Padworth’ at the end of October; it was cold, the light was poor, this boat had a row of pumpkins along the roof, some with faces cut in them;

no pumpkins this time

and the scarecrows all seemed to be watching as we passed …..  very spooky!

Here is the pretty Elkington’s lock as we were leaving;

leaving elkingtons lock

As we approached Cropredy we passed the new marina site, where the construction was held up so badly by last year’s appalling weather.  It is still not connected to the cut so is sadly deserted although the pontoons are all ready.

cropredy marina

At Cropredy, we joined the queue for the water point as we hadn’t filled up at the end of our last trip.  The water point is quite awkward if you are going south and are longer than 50’ – especially when someone decides to wind as well!

awkward water point at cropredy

At Slat Mill lock there was a bit of a delay as the young lad on the boat in front had raised one of the bottom paddles to its limit and couldn’t release the catch to lower it – it took all Deb’s strength to raise it a tiny bit more so that he could get it free.  There was an inquisitive herd of cattle watching us as we went down, this chap blissing out as he scratches an itch;

aah thats better

After a brief lunch stop near the M40 bridge we joined the queue at Hardwick lock, then grabbed the first mooring we found on the 48-hour stretch before the bend at Tom Rolt bridge, which was lucky because when I walked up a little later soon after 4 the town centre moorings were packed.  Although we have the noise from the bakery here, we don’t want to go beyond Banbury as tomorrow we hope to catch a train to visit our daughter in High Wycombe.

This cottage is on the approach to Banbury; one year we came past and Dink and Malc (whose picture is on the wall to the left of the downpipe) were enjoying what seemed to be a hot tub on the veranda!  They would have needed a cool tub today …

dink and malcs

There is a continuous stream of boats in both directions and we are glad we tied up early!

8 locks, 6 miles

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