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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Another bloggers meeting.

Only a few spots of rain fell last night even though the sky looked full. The BBQ went ahead but with the added protection of jumpers as that wind had a bite to it. You would never believe it is middle of summer, feels more like Autumn at the moment. A hire boat had great difficulty in mooring up, lack of water under the hull and the wind kept pushing the boat away so they gave up. Left us all alone to enjoy the BBQ.

 Now, remind us never to moor by a railway line, especially the Oxford line.  Word of warning, the trains kept running throughout the night so sleep was very intermittent and both of us got up feeling grumpy. We, therefore, set off well before 8 am and to help ease my mood, I volunteered to do the first lock. (took my feelings out on winding the paddle gear!)

Estimate the track was about 20 feet from the canal.

Coming toward Wolvercote lock
 We did have several swing bridges to do and all with difficult landings to get onto. It's all because of the residential boats on Agenda 21 moorings.  I do think more space should have been left for boaters to get on and off and operate the bridges.

Nice when we reached Dukes Cut. This is another way onto the Thames and would most certainly cut out the long line of moorings we had to pass at tickover, but by bypassing this bit of the Oxford canal one would miss the opportunity of going into Oxford and usually finding somewhere to stop. (Trying to moor on the river at Oxford is almost impossible).

Oxford Canal continues to the right toward the lock. Left for the Thames.

Dukes Cut with its river lock.
 A lovely surprise awaited us at Kidlington green lock. Passing a boat toward the lock landing and a load tapping on a window made me look round. Well blow me down if it wasn't Debbie and James on Nb Lois Jane Well, we just had to stop to say hello and hugs from Debbie and James and a massive tail wagging session from Dudley made it all worthwhile. It's this boating community again, no matter how long between seeing each other it's like we have never been away. Chatted for nearly 30 minutes and with the lock ready with gate open and another boat spied in the distance coming toward us, we said our farewells until next time. (Hopefully for our ECP&DA rally next year)

Debbie, James, Dudley and Ian.
 Look at the large Buckby can. Can you see the spout missing? Well, this is Yarnton bridge where I happened to knock it off in 2015.  I misjudged the height and hadn't realised it wasn't a true arch. Although I thought I was far enough over for the cans to miss the wall I was wrong and a horrible crunching sound was heard as it buckled. Talk about gutted! These cans are not cheap and we had it specially painted by Tricia at the Long Buckby shop.

I was coming from the other direction so the cans were on the lower arch side.
 Thrupp was quieter than I expected. Usually, the pub moorings are all full but we could easily have stopped, the call of a glass or two of beer was strong, mind, but we resisted thinking it much too early to start on the amber liquid.

Aubrey lift bridge Thrupp
 Now, this peed me off! See that sign? No mooring as it is a winding hole? But it seems C&RT are a law unto themselves as it obviously doesn't apply to them! One rule and all that......

C&RT work boat moored in the winding hole.
 We had our first hold up since leaving Langley Mill. Queues at Shipton Weir Lock and it's here we lock up to the river Cherwell. We were 4th in line and at one point debated whether two 57 ft boats would fit into this 6 sided polygon shaped lock. In the end, the other boater chickened out not wanting to risk getting stuck.

Nice to have some water under the hull again but a tree down half way stopped us in our tracks, especially as a hire boat was going hell for leather towards us.

Getting near to Bakers lock a thick smog seemed to hang in the air. Not smoke as we first thought but grit and dust from the cement works. We tasted it, FS was covered in it and even our eyes had grit blown into them. Not nice!!!

The rain started in earnest as we reached Kirtlington and after long stretches where mooring was impossible we spied a mown edge and FS managed to get right into the side. Within 10 minutes of securing FS the rain stopped and the sun appeared. Oh well, we're here now so this will do very well for tonight.

Oh and passing us later that afternoon....Debbie and James. So it looks like we might well be leapfrogging each other.

And wildlife,


Quaysider said...

Isn't it smashing when you meet fellow bloggers? - on Monday, Mike and Christine on Alchemy were sailing on by when I recognised the boat name (and beautiful hull and paint work) and despite the wind, he stopped, reversed and we had a tour of each other boats and chin wag. There's something very humbling/rewarding about meeting folk for the first time yet openly showing each other around ones homes.

I love boaters!

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

You're so right. Where else would that happen other than on the canals. I too love boaters! Xx

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