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The Waterways Wanderings of Narrowboat “Just Heaven”

Lechlade

We woke up to a clear, cloudless sky. Even though we had planned a lie in, we were away by 8:15 to take advantage of the lovely sunny weather.

tadpole

 

Another slow chug day. We first thought that we would stop short of Lechlade and then finish the journey tomorrow. But we couldn’t find a suitable mooring, so carried on to reach here by about two o’clock.

The cows in the field next to moorings take a delight in eating anthing loose on the boats. They also lick the sides of the boats!

 

Near Shifford Lock

Only a short, slow chug today. We dont need to get to Lechlade until Friday so have plenty of time. Lots of bird wathing today. We saw several Red Kites, Buzzards, a Kestrel catching a vole, geese (Barnacle, Canada & Greylag) and two Little Egrets. We made a short stop for lunch at Newbridge, then on to moor up above Shifford lock. The Thames above Oxford is very different from further downstream. Much more natural and rural.

 

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Above King’s Lock

We are now on tne Thames. Even though we are heading for Lechlade we started off going downstream. Our usual early start saw us at Osney Lock before 8 o’clock, we also passed through Iffey Lock before the lock keeper was on duty. So is wasnt until Sandfoed that we had to pay our Thames licence. The weather was alternately sunny and rainy most of the day. We stopped at Abingdon for a full English breakfast and a pop to Waitrose, then back upstream. The town council at Abingdon provide some very good, free moorings,
signabingdon
At Iffey lock someone had put this hand made sign

After a bit of looking we managed to find a mooring against a farmer’s field just above King’s lock

 

Bridge 239a

A longish day today 19 miles and 12 locks in about 9 hours, though it wasn’t onerous. We started out by filling up with diesel and getting a new gas bottle at Aynho Wharf. This used to be “Walker Services”, but they now trade as “Bridge 190″

Quite a few boats about, mostly private until we neared Oxford. We didn’t have to queue at locks though. Sometimes had to wait for one boat, but that was all. It has been very windy, which made steering difficult at times, but the weather’s been not too bad, just a couple of quick, light showers.

As we approached Oxford we met several crews on ‘College Cruisers’ hire boats. None of them seemed to know what they were doing, one group in particular nearly drained the canal!

It’s difficult to find moorings from Wolvercote lock on towards Isis lock, but we found somewhere just before bridge 239A.

On to Thames tomorrow.

 

 

Aynho Wharf

We drove up yesterday afternoon arriving about 3:30.

After unloading I replaced the alternator regulator that I scavenged from the old alternator, given to me by Middlewich Narrowboats, with a new one I had bought on ebay. I started the engine and checked the charging voltage, all seemed ok.

This morning started with a quick reverse over to the services for a pumpout, then we were on our way at 8:30. Quite a lot of boats about today. We have met one at almost every lock. At Banbury a quick stop to pop into M&S for a bit of food shopping, then off again.

The weather has been a bit odd, with periods of bright sun, followed by short rain storms. (April showers in July!).

The Red Arrowse entertained  us with two fly pasts this afternoon, unfortunately we weren’t quick enough with camera.

This afternoon was spent watching the Wimbledon mens final on the ipad tethered to Heddi’s phone. Isn’t technology marvellous.

Now moored near Walker Services at Aynho. We need some deisel but they don’t open on Sundays, we’ll call in first thing in the morning.

I’ve been checking the charging voltage during the day, all seems ok with the new regulator.

 

“Home”

Just a short cruise down the 5 Claydon locks and the next three to the marina.

We had thought they they would be set for us, but not long after six o’clock a boat came past so we had to turn them all.

 

Claydon top lock

A fairly leisurely chug to Napton, up the locks then along the summit pound.

The Napton flight was busy with boats coming down,  which helped us as we were going up. At the top Marston Doles lock there was a CRT volunteer, but unlike others we have met, this one knew what he was doing. He used his initiative and let some water down as the penultimate pound was very low.

A brief shower of rain dampened things for a while, but then it warmed up again.

We moored just above Clayton top lock. I had planned to paint the rubbing strake on the other side here, but the bankside is too high. That will have to wait for another day.

To stretch our legs we took a short walk across the fields to Clayton village and then back along a lane to bridge 145. As we got back on the towpath there was a queue of three boats at the middle lock.

 

Braunston

It started off a bit cold, but now (16:15) it’s 26°C in the shade.

Only three locks today. The flight at Hillmorton is paired and there were several boats coming down, but only us going up. So at each of the three locks we went straight in.

We arrived at Braunston at about one thirty, had some lunch then went for a stroll. A quick mooch in Midland Chandlers, a pop to the village stores for some milk then back to the boat.

Over the last two days we have had six sightings of water voles. They must be doing well on the North Oxford. Unfortunately they were too quick for anything but a blurry picture.

n-oxford

Ansty

The last boat yesterday was down, so we thought the locks would be in our favour this morning. But while we were having breakfast at 6:45 a boat came up behind us. So we had to follow them all the way up. They were very slow and even though we had to turn each lock, and they didn’t, we still caught them up.

At the top lock were some volunteers. They need more training on water management. They are simply told that if there is a boat coming then one coming the other way has to wait. We were below lock 2. The boat in front was just leaving lock 2, lock 1 was empty ready for them. The vlockie wouldn’t let us turn lock 2 as there was one approaching lock 1. They said it was to save water. When I pointed out that the pound below lock 2 was very  low and would benefit from a lock full of water they just ‘we have to do as we’re trained’.

The rest of the passed uneventfully and we moored up in Ansty at about two thirty.

It’s been very hot and humid. The sky is a bit grey, we could be in for a thunderstorm.

 

Atherstone

An easy day today, only four locks. I was surprised by how much new housing has been built alongside the Coventry on the Fradley to Fazeley stretch. A small queue built up at Glascote Locks and we followed a slow boat for a while, so it was nearly 3:30 by the time we stopped just up the first two locks of the Atherstone flight.

After a short rest we cycled in to Atherstone, had a look round the town, bought a few bits an pieces and cycled back.

It’s been really hot this afternoon and a bit humid. The digital thermostat in the boat was showin 31.2°C in the shade!

Seen earlier in the week. No mention of navigation or boating!

van

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