Back just above Allen's Lock. Out of the way of any floods I hope. The fields across the valley are awash.
I'm going to install my new inverter which arrived on Xmas Eve. It weighs in at a mere 50kg. After a struggle it is now safely on board.
Fuelled with diesel (28p) at Oxfordshire Narrowboats and inched further North, will spend Christmas here.
I am about to lay some carpet. This should complete the interior, four years after launch!
Back at Lower Heyford. Its chilly and the trains still rumble by.
Had my closest encounter with a kingfisher today. It just sat on a branch as I passed, usually they fly as the boat approaches.
Must do something about my BSC tomorrow.
Moved on a few yards, mainly to buy diesel (32p) from Kingsground Narrowboats.
Made a dash through the River Cherwell section, the level rose from amber to red as I made the passage. The last section just before Baker's Lock was the most difficult. Luckily on a chilly Saturday afternoon no-one was coming downstream.
Moored back at Enslow for a few days while I commute to London.
On the way North again.
In central Oxford now, by College Cruisers. Purchased a minimal quantity of diesel (45p) and went to turn the boat. The winding hole will only take a 52ft. boat at a squeeze, so I slipped through Isis Lock onto the Castle Mill Stream to turn. It was a bit more than a stream, level about 3 feet above normal according to locals.
A bit closer Oxford proper. Bridge 234 proved too heavy for me to lift from the towpath, had to enlist the aid of a passing body.
Another short hop towards Oxford. Any closer to the town and it's 48hr. moorings or less. Out here the visitor moorings are deserted at this time of year. Why don't BW restrict the restriction to an April-September one like the moorings at Welford?
Moved a little further South, a dog walker warned me about the local kids from the nearby estate. No sign of any during my stay.
A lovely day considering the time of year. Moved on to Thrupp. The River Cherwell was up in the orange sector, I had no problems however, despite the gusty wind.
Moved on South to Enslow, not the prettiest of spots. the trains still thunder across the bridge at all hours.
It's my birthday, it's raining, I've run out of water and so I'm moving round the corner to fill up.
A helpful jogger lifts the bridge (205) for me. This is the only lift bridge I can recall that is normally in the lowered position. I was wondering how exactly to tackle this little problem.
The railway is yards away, trains thunder past at all hours so I won't be here longer than necessary.
Moored below Allen's Lock close to Upper Heyford. Quite an idyllic spot, the weather today was wonderful.
The picture is the view from the 'Back Door', looking towards the Lock & Bridge. The camera is only a cheapo one so sorry about the quality.
At Aynho Wharf tonight, 48hr moorings only. I'll move on tomorrow all being well.
Moored just above Nell Bridge Lock. The tail bridge looks very small and has been ruined in appearance by road widening. I might have to take down the chimney.
Left noisy Banbury. Moored by Twyford Bridge, here there is only the distant rumble of the M40 to contend with … and the trains.
Moved just around the corner. The lift bridge in the middle of Banbury is typically bloody difficult for a single hander. Nowhere to moor on the lifting side by Tooley's yard (which looks like a carwash), bollards on the non-lifting side! Never mind we got through, the pedestrians were very patient.
Fantastic day again. Right in the middle of Banbury tonight. Mooring restrictions mean I can only stay 24hrs. I'm not sure anyone would want to stay longer, the canal passes through a car park from what I can see from here.
Reached Fenny Compton. It's been a fine early autumn day. The elderberry bushes are groaning under the weight of the fruit. There doesn't seem to be any birds to eat them.
Not much traffic about, what there was arrived at Marston Doles in one great rush. Uneventful half-day's cruising through the Oxford Canal mianders. Just as I set off three hotel boats were starting down the Napton Flight.
Marston Doles tonight, just above Napton flight. Just found my hub caps, I decided to have another look around the scene of the crime and there they were in the long grass. The idiots that did the damage were indeed totally mindless.
Now just below the locks at Napton. Had my hub caps nicked last night, for good measure the bu**ers jumped on the roof of the car leaving a dent.
I had planned to ascend the locks today, but a small fault in the electrics has forced me to stop here for the night. Move my car though in case the locals return armed with more tools to take the wheels!
By the Bridge Inn at Napton. Whether grim yesterday, beautiful today. Cycled along some typical Oxford Canal towpath, non-existent in places. Sampled the blackberries.
Back at Braunston, within sight (and sound) of the church. I'll be here until the end of the week I guess.
Not moved very far today. Finally put the car seats back after the battery transportation business. Picked up the laundry. Ordered a sine-wave inverter so the washing machine should soon be back in service.
All the Rose Fleet passed, on the way home for turn-around tomorrow.
Pottered onwards mooring just below Hillmorton Locks. Long cycle back along some rough towpath.
Back at Stretton Under Fosse, another sunny day. Held up by a short stoppage while BW pumped something across the canal with large hoses. Found a huge Asda last night, a few miles South of Ansty.
Had some inspiration to improve the battery charging regime, bits on order from Maplin.
Bank Holiday Monday - Weather cold and dull.
Moving South, the canal is deep & wide or shallow & narrow by turns.
I won't explore into Coventry this time, since it is the school holidays. I'll reserve that cruise for my return visit which will be when the Moira Cut is once more re-opened to Moira.
Moored within spitting distance of the A5.
Now at Dadlington, can get the car within 6ft. of the boat, useful for transferring 70kg batteries!
New battery pack is now in and seems to be working well. Now all the adjustments need to be done. No information provided by Lifeline, so there will have to be some guesswork.
Heading South again now, moored where I was last Sunday. Lovely weather.
Off to fetch new batteries tomorrow.
Made it to the terminus. About 50m. from the end I picked up a huge floating clump of reeds. I took around half an hour to free it from under the boat where it had lodged. I eventually had to shoot backwards at top speed, the wash and the momentum flushing the reeds forwards.
Stopped for the night at Bosworth Fields Moorings. Weather was ideal for boating, a little sun, a little breeze, not too hot.
Cruised a little further North, went into Hinckley to find a solution for my puncturing cycle tyres.
Waterways World has gone up to £2.75, outrageous!
Struggled to find moorings amongst the bankside vegetation.
Went for a long cycle to retrieve the car. there was no parking nearby so I eventually parked on the A5 (a lay-by!) by the Lime Kilns. A long walk back to the boat.
I arrived to find all four pins had been pulled of the rather soft towpath by passing craft.
Moored just short of Hawkesbury Jn. in a tempting bit of shade under the trees.
Cycled back to fetch the car along some classic Oxford Canal towpath, completely missing in places! Forced to go paddling on more than on occasion.
Cut through the duckweed to Stretton Wharf, or just short of it. Stopped for diesel (27p), weather sunny.
My battery pack is dying it seems, after a mere four months of good use (two years on float charge). I believe that Elecsol batteries are just not up to the job. As for the 250Ah 'rating', that is surely a work of fiction.
Moved on North. Moored ready for work tomorrow. Plans are forming to visit Coventry and a trip up the Ashby during my holiday in August.
Opposite Clifton Cruisers, this is speeding-boat country. Much bumping about!
The carpeting will now come from elsewhere as the shop I had in mind has a 2-3 week lead time. I need a place with some stock!
A change of plan sees me heading towards Rugby once more. This time on the Oxford. I'm in search of carpeting, about time some would say.
Returned to Norton Jn. Yesterday I pumped out and topped up with diesel (29p) at Crick Marina. Got a tow backwards (!). Moved on and spent the night by Bridge 8.
Back at Crick Wharf, heading South now. Failed to moor in my first choice position due to shallows.
Found a very scenic mooring by Bridge 22. I took to the footpaths to fetch the car, a big mistake. I found myself pushing the bike through waist high thistles.
Despite the attractiveness of Welford, I have moved on. Heading South again now
At the end of the Welford Arm tonight. Filled with water, winded in the wind. An uneventful trip apart from the weather, which was wet. I wonder when summer will arrive? Or did it happen already?
Mended three punctures on my bike today, having pushed it some distance. I conclude that inflatable tyres and hawthorn bushes don't mix.
Moved on towards the North. Might pop into the Welford Arm since I missed it on last year's trip. Bad weather all day. Having trouble with the shallow waters around here, mooring is diffficult.
Finally make Crick! Moor miles away from the show, probably no bad thing really. Pick up Murray and Stan from the tunnel mouth and give them a longer than expected trip into the Northamptonshire countryside looking for a mooring.
Visit the boat show by car. Meet a few old and new friends, including Robin Cocker and Heather, see http://www.floatingabode.co.uk. Discuss many things.
At the top of Buckby Locks tonight. Went for a meal at the pub, an excellent steak and trimmings.
Work tomorrow, I hope to travel by car to Crick Boatshow on Saturday. The boat will arrive on Sunday.
Grim weather again, raining and cold. Breasted up for Stoke Bruerne locks with another boat. I had the opportunity to engage in in of my favourite pastimes, some light lockwheeling.
Despite the rain I have made Bugbrooke, moored opposite the marina.
Having taken Sunday off, decided some hard cruising was called for if I am to make Crick for the show. Good weather helped a lot and I am now well Clear of Milton Keynes, just by Grafton Regis. A police helicopter is flitting about, hope I won't be around all night.
One entire day wasted by criminals breaking into my car and a puncture on the bike.
On Saturday dropped through Soulbry in heavy rain, plagued by showers for the rest of the afternoon.
Stopped at Willowbridge for diesel (29p) and a jumbo tin of stern-tube grease.
Moored just below Fenny Stratford lock.
Plagued with HEAVY showers all day, very windy also. Managed to avoid getting soaked.
A man knocked; asking if I knew of two women sharing a boat, one of them having recently moved on board. I said I wasn't from these parts and so
couldn't help him. He then added sorrowfully:
I'm trying to find my wife.
Spotted two boats called Narrow Escape within a mile of each other. That makes three in all.
Moored for the evening, just above Soulbry Three Locks. This is bandit country. My car has been broken into, half my CD collection nicked. Aylesbury/Leighton Buzzard has a thriving drug scene. 'Petty' theft to fuel the habit is common I am told (too late for me).
Start delayed by having to fix the 'throttle control', which was falling apart. Tightened everything back up and was underway by 1100.
Fought through dense jungle to work the swing-bridge (125) by myself. Weather good, with fluffy clouds and occasional sunshine.
An emergency stoppage at Lock 30 will stop all traffic. I'm moored just to the north.
Day ?: Uneventful day really, Maffas was quiet, shared locks on occasion. The rain was threatening, but held off till after dark.
Day 5: Woke up to rain, stayed until the weather cleared, then off up to Cowroast. Moored just below the lock.
Greeted with a 'Documents Enclosed' sticky thing, containing a BW letter:
Welcome to Tring Summit. I'll probably spend half an
hour removing the glue from the window glass - some welcome.
I'll commute to London from here for work.
Day 4: Good progress today, spent the morning sharing locks with NB Vector off to the continent soon.
In the afternoon, met a family out for a walk, gave their two daughters a lift to the Rising Sun Lock. They are now hooked on boating, at least for the time being.
Lost concentration passing Bridgewater Boats and managed to bump a broad-beam maintenance flat, arrogantly taking up twice the width a boat should!
Day 3: Still no-one going my way, and a bad road for most of the day. NB Asterope passed, going the other way on their spring trip to the Lea & Stort.
Easy day really, and no rain! Moored in King's Langley ready for work tomorrow (arrgh!).
Day 2: Lovely weather, but managed to time my cycle ride to coincide with the only thundery shower to hit us!
Moored opposite the posh housing estate, somewhere to park the car really.
Not many boats about, none going my way anyway.
Day 1: Good day. Changed the oil and filter, the assistant at Cafco Motor Factors asked me what a 'Kubota' was whilst trying to find me a new oil filter, they failed.
Fuelled at Denham Marina (£1.25 gall), leisurely stroll North in reasonable weather.
Had a large and fairly tasty take-away from the Chinese in South Harefield.
The locations given on this page are my overnight mooring for the given day. Below are the day's adventures.
Back to the trip report Index Page.