We left our summit pound mooring on Tuesday last week, having sat out the awful weather!
We were soon nearing Fenny Compton – where someone had managed to pull up this mooring ring!
We stopped to top up with water, and had a look around the veg and spice stall, we were hoping to find a green pepper – but had to make do with some lovely cherry tomatoes!
As we moved on we discovered the moorings were virtually empty – they are usually packed!
Just a bit further on as we approached the “tunnel” there was someone coming through, so had to wait for them to pass – there may not be a roof on the tunnel now, but it is narrow!
We soon moored up at the top of the Claydon Locks ready to go down the next day.
We were quite lucky with the locks – we met another boat coming up at nearly every one!
Just before Cropredy we saw the remains of the tree that had come down in the high winds two days before – but surprisingly there werent any logs left!
In the dry dock we caught sight of what we thought was NB Hispireon (that we saw sunk on previous runs through this way!)
We went through Cropredy, stopping just to top up our water and pop into the shop for some milk (and another try to find a green pepper – no success!)
On the way out, we passed the newly improved towpath – looking really good!
We moored up just before Slat Mill lock, where, unusually, we couldnt find a satellite signal! The bushes were too high!
So Thursday saw us heading down the last 3 locks into Banbury, where we moored up in the town centre, near the shops to make sure I could get a satellite signal! Normally we moor in Spiceball Park, but the trees there mean no signal.
After a quick lunch we made our way into the shops to collect Garys contact lenses and buy a few bits, which we then dropped back to the boat before heading out again to find Wetherspoons!
We had a shock when we left the indoor shopping area – the fair was in town! We had not heard or seen anything from the canal side!
After a very nice curry in “Spoons” we wandered around the fair watching everyone have a good time on the rides – some of which were really scary!!
We eventually got back to the boat about 9.30pm, where even though the music had been really loud, we couldnt hear anything of the fair!
The next day we had a bit more retail therapy to do, but were back at the boat before the fair hotted up in the evening.
As we cooked dinner in the evening, some of the local kids decided to “play about” by the boat – but soon ran off when Gary burst out of the cratch!
On Saturday we had had enough of Town Centre Living, so headed off, topping up the water tank on the way, and then stopped by Morrisons to top up the cupboards (and wine cellar!)
We were soon back out in the country and moored up just before Kings Sutton Lock – peace again!
Sunday was a lovely sunny day – but it was a bit breezy! We set off anyway.
Just below Kings Sutton Lock, CRT are doing some towpath reinstatement works using Gabion baskets.
Everyone out there has heard the “leaves on the line” expression, (especially all our readers in Eastleigh!) holding up trains – well on narrowboats we get “leaves on the prop” – there are so many leaves floating (or sinking) in the canal at this time of year, that they “stick” to the propeller, eventually making it slugish and slowing us down (more than usual!!). The answer is to give a burst of reverse to clear it, and we are away again.
As we approached Nell Bridge Lock, we could see another reason for “struggling along” this stretch of canal – the water level was down quite a way!
Even as we crossed the River Cherwell on the approach to Aynho Weir Lock, the river level was well into the green, even after the heavy rain of a few days ago!
After the lock, there was a “breach” in the canal – the ducks and geese were happy with their new pond!
Just then I spotted some deer. A first for me!
We made the decision not to moor opposite Aynho Wharf, but to carry on to our spot by lift bridge 193, so that we could stay in the sun for a whilst longer, as the bushes on the towpath near Aynho made it shady.
As we came out of the shelter of the trees we realised that it was no longer “breezy” but full blown “windy”! So as we approached our mooring spot I prepared the centre rope with a mooring hook to deploy on the armco to help hold the boat in place whilst we moored up!
Things didnt go according to plan! No pictures I’m afraid as things got a bit hectic and the camera was on the boat!
The mooring hook slipped off the armco before I could pull the boat in close and the wind caught the front of the boat. Gary had jumped off the back and managed to get his mooring hook on the armco and the back rope securely tied onto the boat. The front end of the boat was now across the other side of the canal and no amount of pulling on the centre rope was getting it back!
Gary walked down the side of the boat to the front, but couldnt throw the front rope over to me as it wouldnt have been quite long enough! He had to walk back down the boat, pause at the centre to untie our second centre rope, tie it to the front rope and walk back down to the back.
Now the front rope was reachable from the canalside – just, and with the help of a passing walker, Gary managed to pull the front of the boat back to the towpath side! We quickly used the hook to secure the front. Just in time, as now two boats passed from behind, and one from in front!
Of course now the wind dropped a bit, and we were able to move the boat along to a wide spot (out of the way of overgrown bushes).
The wind wasnt a problem now we were tied up, and we had the sun that we wanted!
Lift Bridge 193 has also partially collapsed since we were here last, so we wandered down to have a look at the damage!
Monday, the wind had dropped, but the sky looked ominous as we pulled away.
The lift bridge looked worse from canal side.
We only had about 1/2 mile to Somerton Deep Lock – but we werent going through it, just using the winding hole just before it. Of course the rain had started then – and it hammered down!
We were soon back at Aynho Wharf, the rain had stopped and we were topping up with water and diesel too! Winter is almost upon us and we dont want to be caught by the dreaded diesel bug due to condensation in the fuel tanks, so we like to keep them topped up.
Once all our tanks and our spare fuel cans were full, we headed back towards Banbury.
No deer this time, but the geese were definitely enjoying their new pond by the breach!
Back through Aynho Weir Lock – clouds still looking ominous!
At Nell Bridge Lock the water level was back to normal today.
The lovely canal side house just past the pig farm has chopped down a load of trees, and you can now see the front of the house, not just the side!
As we approached the motorway, with Kings Sutton Church spire in the distance, you can see those dark clouds closing in again!
This time as we passed the towpath works, the workboats were breasted up, so we had to squeeze through!
Back up through Kings Sutton Lock and we moored up in the spot we had left two days before! Just before the rain came down!
The next day we stayed put, whilst ex-hurricane Gonzalo raged around us, and a few hardy souls boated by!
Wednesday we moved back into Banbury, this time mooring just before the Morrisons bridge (where we could get a satellite signal!).
There were a few more bits we had decided we needed (winter clothes etc) so set off on more retail therapy, and stopping off in “Spoons” for refreshment, we decided to take advantage of their meal deals for dinner too!
Thursday was another Morrisons shopping trip (where does all the food and wine go?) and afterwards we had promised ourselves lunch in the Mexican lunch bar – which turned out to have a power failure so was shut!
We didnt fancy going back to the boat for lunch – so ended up in “Spoons” again!!!!
When we finally staggered out (full up – not drunk!) a walk was in order, so we took the long way back to the boat and chilled out, with no need for dinner later!
So this morning we set off to the water point, and did a pump out too. Whilst we were there guess who found us – Sue and Vic from No Problem! They had passed whilst we had been out yesterday, and were now moored in Banbury.
We had a quick catch up and arranged to meet up later in the week as we are all heading off the South Oxford before the winter stoppages begin on 3 November!
Eventually the water tank was full and the loo tank was empty and we made our way out of Banbury for the last time this year – passing No Problem on the way!