No Direction

No Direction is our 70ft Narrowboat which is now home to my wife Jayne and myself, it was launched on 4th February 2008.

We spend the Winters in a Marina and cruise in the warmer weather.

Thursday, 30 September 2010

At Stoke Bruerne (Again)

Tuesday/Wednesday 28/29th September 2010
High House Wharf to Stoke Bruerne
10 Miles 1 Tunnel 2 Locks.

Tuesday.   We had planned a cruise in good weather today, wrong, it drizzled, and we weren't   
going through any Locks, wrong, we dropped down the first 2 of the Stoke flight to moor in what is known as the long pound, it's also a bit quieter and we can get the TV working with the dish, no Digital around here. The weather cleared up at bit after we had been going for 30 minutes, we stopped at the British Waterways services at Gayton Junction before entering the Blisworth Tunnel, this is the 4th time we have been through this tunnel this year.
It was closed in the early eighties while serious rebuilding work was undertaken, I found some interesting pictures taken at the time by local Historian George Freeston of what was involved. 

Wednesday.  We had a walk up to the Village this morning to dump some rubbish and make use of the recycling facilities behind the Pub, Jayne went into the Pub where they have a small shop, they won't have any fresh bread until tomorrow so she has ordered a loaf.

Our Bubble Corner Stove burning away in March 2008, the floor directly in front is now tiled.

We have the fire going now in the afternoon and evening, not that it's very cold but with the rain and dark it cheers things up.   Our fire, or stove as some people call them is a Bubble Corner unit with a Back Boiler,  Halfie in his blog, asks about collecting firewood from the side of the Canal that has not had time to season, i.e. dry out, and he is correct, more on this subject in the next blog. 

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Wet and Miserable

Sat/Sun/Mon 25/26/27th September 2010
Buckby Top Lock to High House Wharf
6.2 Miles 7 Locks.

Saturday.     This morning was cold but bright as we filled the water tank, it didn't take long, we were then ready to go.  One of the top gates at Buckby top lock was already open so Jayne walked the short distance with her Lock windlass, the boat moored behind asked if we would mind them sharing, which was good as 2 Narrowboats in a wide lock are easy to control where just 1 moves around.

Whilton Bottom Lock, solid engineering.

At the last of the 7 locks outside Whilton Chandlery I made use of the recycling bins for newspaper and glass, leaving the lock I had trouble getting Jayne back onboard due to a boater who thought it was a good idea to tie up on the lock moorings.

Thank's Mate.

We carried on to our planned mooring opposite the the touring Caravan field just before High House Wharf, there were 3 boats already there so we are not the only one's who think it' a good place to moor.

Sunday.   I cycled into Nether Heyford for a newspaper this morning, they have a One Stop shop there which is open 6am till 10pm every day.
We had a late Breakfast, after the washing up was done the inside of the windows got a good clean along with the Shower. I also got the fire ready as we think we will need to light it soon, fortunately we have plenty of coal on board, for the last couple of weeks I have been checking for fallen trees along the Canal which we could log up, nothing so far but the chainsaws ready to go, problem is we are not the only one's looking !!.

The Cheese Boat came past in the afternoon heading for the Village at War, the trade boats have a choice next weekend with the event at Stoke Bruerne and the Banbury Canal Day.

Jayne keeps herself busy knitting, and, according to other knitters is very good at it, this summer she has been busy knitting children's hats and coats, these are then sent/taken to my Mother and Aunt who live in the same small village near Shrewsbury and sold to raise funds for the Lingen Davies Cancer Relief Fund at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital 

The next consignment awaiting delivery.

Monday.  What a horrible day, light rain dull and miserable, we are fortunate that we don't have to move, we can wait until tomorrow when the forecast is better, the boaters that are on holiday or weekenders are not so lucky and have to stand on the back of the boat steering and operating Locks in all conditions, we always wave as they pass. 

We are looking forward to tomorrows journey, 10 miles, no Locks and the Blisworth Tunnel, emerging into one of the best Canal Villages on the Waterways.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Stocking Up

Thursday/Friday 23/24th September 2010
Braunston to Buckby Top Lock
4.5 Miles 6 Locks & 1 Tunnel.

Thursday.  As we were about to un-tie our ropes this morning another boat went passed, I enquired if they were going up Braunston Locks, which they were, I said we would share with them and followed about 2 boat lengths behind, we past the Marina and under the bridge, then, without warning another boat pulled out from their mooring and got between us and the boat we intended to share the Locks with, they made some excuse that they thought we were mooring up, anyway they ended up grabbing our Lock, not to worry another boat was now behind, nb Ruby, so we shared the 6 Locks with them.
Ruby is a 39 ft Chinese manufactured boat from a company called East West Marine and sold by Whilton Marine, they are a strange design in that the cabin sides are vertical where normally the cabin sides slope inwards towards the roof, to clear the arch shape of bridges, tunnels and the overhang of the gates when entering a Lock,  the owner of Ruby was certainly aware of this when negotiating the Braunston tunnel, being very careful when meeting another boat.

We moored at the end of the 48 hour mooring before Buckby Top Lock and close to the New Inn  pub where we will be eating tonight, I spent the afternoon washing the roof of No Direction and Jayne organised a Tesco delivery for Friday.

The meal at the New Inn was excellent and there was a good atmosphere as well, we got back on board just in time to miss the rain, so a good night all round. 

Friday.  The wet and blustery weather from last night stayed with us this morning, all the other boats on the mooring moved off, the Tesco van arrived on time and pulled up right next to No Direction, much to the amazment of two hire boats crews who were watching, the supplies came straight in through the side door onto the table, so the cupboards, freezer and fridge are now full again ready for our stay at Stoke Bruerne where we will be for the Village at War Weekend at the beginning of October.

Dad,s Army at last year,s Village at War Weekend.

Reading the publicity on the website the replica Mk IX Spitfire looks exciting, for £35 you can sit in the cockpit, fiddle with the controls, start the engine and even fire the guns, sounds a bargain to us old age schoolboys.  The Spitfire reminds me of chap I used to work with, Martin Lawson who spent many weekends as a volunteer at RAF Coningsby helping to maintain a Lancaster Bomber, for his birthday his family managed to organise a flight in a two seater Spitfire Trainer, we never heard the last of it.

Martin,s at the rear.

There will also be a number of Historic Working Boats at Stoke Bruerne including Nutfield and Raymond  and with 2 pubs including the famous Boat Inn it should be a good weekend.

The weather for Saturday looks OK so the plan is to move down the 7 Buckby Locks and on past Weedon for the weekend.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Misty Mornings and Other Things.

Tuesday 21st September 2010
Lower Shuckburgh to Braunston
2.75 Miles No Locks.

Tuesday.  Yesterday, while I was in the shower after swimming with Dolphins Sheep Jayne checked on our Ordnance Survey mapping that we have on the Laptop and found the name of the farm which was closest to the field of sheep, a quick google found a phone number, she rang and left a message, "If you are the farmer who has a field of sheep next to the canal between bridges 125 and 126 then I have some pictures of my husband rescuing one which had fallen in", at 8.15 this morning she had a call from farmer Phil Robinson (no relation) to say thank you, he also gave her an Email address so he now has some pictures of it all.

The weather today was just as we like it calm and sunny.

The sun burning away the early morning mist.

I got the spanners out before we started to tighten the the main Alternator drive belt which had been squealing when I started the engine, after that was sorted  we cruised along the short length of canal to Braunston, this is possibly the busiest  few miles on the whole canal system with plenty of boats going both ways, we moored on the 48 hour visitor moorings between the pub and the A45 road bridge.

The polish came out after lunch to polish out a mark on the paintwork caused by a twig that had rubbed down the side when passing another boat,  I ended up polishing the whole side, then cleaning the windows and touching up the black paint around the rubbing strake, this always gets knocked when in the locks.

This evening we went to the Boathouse ( ex Mill House) for a meal, with their 2 for 1 offer and beer almost at Wetherspoon prices we may go tomorrow night as well.

Walking back from the pub we were surprised how much mooring space was empty compared to the last time we were here in early July, to be able to arrive late evening in Braunston and find a mooring is unusual at anytime of the year.

Wednesday.  What do boating bloggers blog about when their not boating ? .

We are moored at Braunston with a bit of time to kill so today's blog is about anything and nothing. 
Today started off with a discussion about breakfast, we had some chestnut mushrooms in the fridge which we planned to have with Eggs and Toast, but we also needed Bread and Milk from the shop up in the village, should I walk to the shop before or after breakfast, ( there are so many important decisions on a boat ),  I went before, so we had a very late breakfast.
While nosing around the shop I found a box of over ripe Bananas with a sign saying "free to a good home" bargain, so put a bunch in the basket, back on board I produced the Bananas and said that they would be OK with custard but Jayne found a recipe for Banana cake on the Internet so that's in the oven now.

Free, what a bargain.

A lot of people have noticed the garden ornament on our roof, it's a Hedgehog riding a Motorbike, he used to live in the corner of our patio but now spends the summer on the roof of No Direction enjoying the canals, in the winter he lives on the end of our jetty at Kings Bromley Marina keeping an eye on the ducks, why do we have him ?, well, when our Daughter was younger she went to a Sunday market at Polesworth with some friends, spotted the Hedgehog and bought it for us, she forgot that the car they went in was parked about a mile away and the Hedgehog being made of Concrete was very heavy, a fact that she reminds us of every time she see's it.

Don't ask why.

Banana cake, just out of the oven

As a schoolboy I used to cycle along the canal towpaths around north Birmingham, usually between Perry Barr and Aston, now they are overlooked by the motorway junction know locally as "Spaghetti Junction" , in my early forties I got back into cycling with mountain bikes and touring bikes, again I enjoyed using towpaths now and then and still do, so I am a bit sad when I hear of the conflict between walkers, boaters, fishermen and cyclists that seems to be growing due mainly to the towpaths being upgraded into cycle routes and therefore attracting more cyclists, I have never had a problem when cycling or boating but as with all sections of society there are always those who think they have a right to do what they want without consideration for others, like most things in life I try and see the funny side.

You have been warned.

Spotted at Little Venice where tourists queue for trip boats while cyclists whiz past.
Cycling in London is on a different scale to most places.

In the mid nineties I met another towpath cycling enthusiast, Robert Davies from West Bromwich who had taken his interest a bit further that most, after being made redundant and while searching for another job he had written a small guide booklet called Canal Quest, it covered the towpaths on most of the canals in the West Midlands from Worcester to Stafford giving access points, stations, pubs, parking and the condition of the towpath, when you had completed a section an enamel badge was available for £1.95 plus 26p postage, I remember him saying that he was having trouble with Ordnance Survey because they wanted money for using their maps and from British Waterways as the book was not approved by them, whatever happened he got it published.  I loaned my copy to someone 12 years ago and as usual never got it back but while looking through a charity box of books at the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally I found a copy, I don't need it now as we have Nicholsons canal guide books but bought it as a bit of cycling memorabilia.

£4.95 in 1997 - 50p today

Simple mapping.

 Back to Boating tomorrow, promise.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Me & Ewe "Baa"

Monday 20th September 2010
Fenny Compton to Lower Shuckburgh
13.5 Miles 9 Locks

As the first Lock was 7 miles away I started off this morning leaving Jayne in bed, as I said in the previous blog this section is the Summit level, we came up the locks yesterday and today we will be going down so the summit level is being drained from both ends, to try and keep the water at a usable depth it has to be fed from a reservoir, the level today was about 6 inches down on the normal level and the boats were churning up the bottom resulting in water that looked like muddy soup.
Jayne was up and brought me a cup of tea, the sun was shining but it was very windy in the exposed areas, we passed fields with Tractors ploughing and other fields full of Sheep, after we had covered about 5 miles I spotted something in the water ahead, as we got closer I could see it was a sheep that had fallen in and had no chance of getting out on it's own, due to the steel piling that  was running along the canal edge, it was made worse by the water level being down. We have seen dead sheep in the canal before so knew what would happen if we left it, I slowed the boat almost to a stop and called Jayne on our walkie-talkies that we use, to say that there was a sheep in the water that was going to need a bit of help, as we approached the sheep I took off my Fleece jacket and jumped in, we were only about 3 feet from the bank so it wasn't very deep, I got hold of Sheepy ( it had a name by now ) and tried to lift/push it up onto the field, well, how heavy is a sodden Sheep?, short answer, very, in the picture I have got it's front legs over the edge of the piling, expecting it to try and pull itself up while I pushed but we had a bit of a communication problem and it did nothing, after one final failed attempt I decided that I needed to get Sheepy about 60 feet along the canal to where the metal piling finished and the bank was a bit lower, so off we went, all the time Sheepy was very calm, eventually with a lower bank and a very big heave I managed to roll it up onto the field, it repaid me by shaking itself and trotting off back to it's mates.

I said you pull and I'll push but nothing happened.

By now the boat was diagonal across the Canal, I climbed out of the water onto the bank and then onto the boat, steered it to the first suitable mooring spot, tied it up and stripped off, straight into the shower with my tee shirt, jeans, socks and boxers into the washing machine, my trainers were due for the rubbish bin anyway so that's where they went.

Things calmed down after that and after a quick stop for Lunch we tackled the last 7 of the Napton Flight of Locks, again all the Locks were in our favour and to make things even easier there were boats coming  through the locks in the opposite direction so we could leave gates open for each other, we stopped at the last lock to fill with water and empty cassettes.

Napton on the Hill with it's Windmill

The Canal then curves around the base of Napton hill with it's windmill on top and past Napton junction were the Grand Union Canal leads off left to Warwick and then Birmingham, we carried straight on until we found a nice mooring for the night.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Easy Boating

Saturday/Sunday 18/19th Sept 2010
Cropredy to Fenny Compton
6.5 Miles 8 Locks.

Moored at Cropredy, early on Saturday morning

Saturday.  We left Cropredy quite early and were soon at the first Lock, we were lucky with all the Locks today as they were all empty, so, as we were going up hill it was just a matter of opening the bottom gates, it really makes for quick progress.
The next 5 locks were close together and we were soon through them and on the summit level of the Southern Oxford Canal, the summit level (Highest section of the Canal) goes on for 11 miles and is very twisty as it follows the contours of the landscape. We had planned to stop at Fenny Compton and found a mooring space about 50 yards from the bridge.

Jayne decided to lavish a bit of attention on our flower boxes which were looking at bit tatty so she gave them a trim and then a good water.

Jayne Lavishes attention on our flower boxes with muddy Canal water.

I had a good spring Autumn clean inside the boat and a quick check around the Engine.

Sunday.  The reason we had planned to moor at Fenny Compton was that there was a pub by the Canal, the Wharf Inn, our friends Pete and Val were coming for a visit on Sunday bringing post and Jayne's Presciption so in was a good excuse to eat in the pub. The Wharf Inn has new Landlord and he is really trying hard to serve boaters needs, he has a well stocked shop inside the pub and a small Laundrette which boaters can use. The food was very good, the Chef also serves the food and explained to every table how he had cooked and seasoned each of the vegetables, a total cooking enthusiast.

After lunch Pete and Val left to drive home and we just crashed out all afternoon watching a James Bond film.

A pretty quite weekend, however things got a bit more exciting on Monday when I go for Swimming with a Sheep, but you will have to read the next blog for that. 

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Winters Coming.

Friday 17th Sept 2010
Aynho Wharf to Cropredy
10.5 Miles 9 Locks. 

Friday. As planned we moved across to the Diesel pump this morning and filled up, Jayne went to pay at the office/shop and get a newspaper and milk, no milk, but the girl who served her said that if we moored by Travis Perkins Builders Merchants at Banbury and walked over bridge 168 there was a Morrison's Supermarket there.
The weather in the morning was cloudy,windy and cold, but all the lift bridges we went through today were in the open position so that helped progress.

Bridge 183 chained in the open position.

We passed under the M40 Motorway three times today, the first time was just after the lift bridge in the picture, we have seen this bridge many times when driving north on the M40.

We arrived at bridge 168, moored up and did a shop, we had planned to stop at Cropredy tonight so as soon as the shopping was put away we moved off. The Canal goes right through Banbury and we had plenty of Gongoozlers (people who watch boaters at Locks) as we worked through Banbury Lock, the next half mile was very busy with visitor moorings on both sides of the Canal and trip boats adding to the general chaos, the moorings give access to the Castle Quay shopping Precinct. (every town must have one), we also past the famous Tooleys Boatyard which nearly disappeared under the Precinct but was thankfully saved.

Banbury Visitor moorings, not much room for error.

After leaving Banbury we passed under the M40 Motorway for the third time today and arrived at Cropredy at Teatime, we we lucky to find a mooring 100 yards above the Lock, so thats where we are tonight.

Repairs to the towpath, were it has collasped into the Canal metal piling is erected, the Canal dreged and used to fill the void behind to piling, the mud dries out and becomes solid.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

Thursday 16th Sept 2010
Shipton on Cherwell to Aynho Wharf
13 Miles 8 Locks 3 Lift Bridges.

The Southern Oxford Canal has plenty of lift bridges, these for anyone who has not seen one are bridges that pivot from one end assisted by balance beams, if they are balanced correctly then they are very easy to operate.

There are plenty of these on the Southern Oxford

As they are pivoted on the opposite side to the Towpath one person off the boat needs to cross over the bridge and pull down on the chain which hangs from one of the balance beams, the bridge then pivots up so that the second person can bring the boat through, the problem arises when there is only one person on the boat.
Last night I looked at the Canal guide and decided that as I would not come to a Lift Bridge for at least 2 hours I would start early before Jayne got up, so an early start it was, image my surprise when after 5 minutes I came round a bend and was confronted by a Lift Bridge that I had missed on the map, I tied the boat up, just then another boat came around the corner so I went across the bridge and opened it, the other boat went through and I lowered it down, the steerer from the other boat then stopped and opened the bridge for me to take No Direction through, so problem resolved.
I followed the other boat to the first lock of the day, Shipton Weir Lock, takes boats from the Canal onto the River Cherwell for 3/4 of a mile before it becomes a Canal again, it's shape is unlike any other Lock I have seen it's diamond shape holds a lot of water and as it is filled from the river it ensures that the lower part of the Canal gets plenty of water, it also has the advantage of holding 3 boats.

Shipton Weir Lock

At the next Lock we let the other 2 boats go through first as we don't need to get anywhere fast.

After a couple more Locks we passed through a very overgrown area, Jayne called it a Jungle, fortunately we didn't meet anyone coming towards us.

Welcome to the Jungle

Sunbathing Cattle.

We stopped at Heyford Wharf, Lower Heyford and bought a fresh Organic loaf from the small shop at Oxford Narrowboats which we ate for Lunch. On the move again and a few more Locks before we came to the big one, Somerton Deep Lock has a rise/fall of 12 feet, the Lock keepers Cottage is now a private dwelling and can only be accessed by the towpath or boat, if you want to park a car it will be half a mile away !!.

Entering Somerton Deep Lock.

It's a long way down.

We need to fill up with Diesel soon so Jayne called Aynho Wharf which was a mile or so ahead to check the price, the price was OK but by the time we got there they were just shutting up for the day, so we moored opposite on 48 hour visitor mooring, we will move across to the diesel  pump when they open tomorrow.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Back On The Canal

Tuesday/Weds 14/15th Sept 2010
Newbridge to Oxford
13 Miles 5 Locks.
Oxford to Shipton on Cherwell
6 Miles 4 Locks 4 Lift Bridges

Tuesday.  The weather forecast for today was dry morning and wet afternoon so we got cracking  intending to be moored up by Lunchtime, the main feature was the wind whipping across the water in the exposed places.

The Ferryman Pub (seems to have changed it's name) at Bablock Hythe where we moored last week on the way to Lechlade.

They even cut the grass at the moorings by the Pub.

 We had rough idea to moor between the A34 bridge at Oxford and Godstow Lock, but changed our minds when we heard the noise from the road so carried on, we past the Perch Pub, not the sort of place you will find us in unless someone else is paying, the reason I mention this pub is that there were some people in a day launch moored in the front of the Pub right by a "No Mooring" sign. By now we had decided to turn off the Thames at Oxford and on the the Oxford Canal, I had noticed that the Launch from outside the Pub was about 100 yards behind us, we turned left and then a very sharp left again to get into Isis Lock, a  British Waterways narrow Lock and the start of the Oxford Canal, I bought No Direction alongside the new mooring Jetty and Jayne went to open the Lock, the people in the launch had followed us and asked if they could come in the Lock with us, I explained that No Direction was 70 feet long and in would fill the Lock, as I entered the Lock another Narrowboat came round the corner so we left them to it. We moored after about half a mile for Lunch, as I was putting every thing away I noticed the Launch had moored  about 3 boats back and a Lady was walking towards me, "Excuse me could you tell us where we are, we have hired the launch from the Perch Pub and they never gave us a map" the reason that they didn't get a map was that they were supposed to stay on the river, another boater had worked them through the Lock, I advised them to go back to the Lock and wait for another boater to help them back through it..
We decided to stay on the mooring for the night.

Wednesday.  There are 2 access points at Oxford between the Canal and the Thames, the northern one is called the Dukes Cut, which misses  most of Oxford and joins the river above Kings Lock, the second is closer to the centre of Oxford.
All the guide books say that the view of Oxford boaters get from the Canal is not the best, but we always believe that you should see for yourself and make your own mind up, however this time the guide books were spot on, the first mile or so of the Canal is mostly visitor moorings which is OK, however the trees on the other bank are overhanging the water so badly that boats have difficulty passing each other, after the visitor moorings the Long term moorings begin, there are hundreds of moored boats along the Towpath side, (a large number are un-licenced), all this makes progress very slow, at The Junction with the Dukes Cut, which is the route we will use in future, we caught up with another boat waiting at the Lock, progress was slow again after the Lock due to more moored boats, things improved after this. We arrived at Roundham Lock, I helped a single handed boater through and closed the top gates, opened the paddles to empty the lock and them realised that the top gate would not close properly, I closed the paddles and re-filled the lock so that I could open the top gates, I had a poke around with the long pole and was joined by another boater but we couldn't shift what ever it was, I rang British Waterways (B.W,) and got "All lines are busy" and recorded music, I secured the boat expecting a long stay, Jayne then tried calling B.W. and was given a another number to ring, after about 2 hours 2 B.W. men arrived which was excellent service and within 10 minutes had moved something and managed to close the gate, they then opened the gate again and allowed a boat in, closed the gate and let the water out, with the Lock now empty we could see the problem, a large log had been jamming the gate, they managed to lift it up and out of the Lock.

The B.W. man moves something.

Here it is, a very waterlogged piece of wood.

After the obstruction was moved we went through the Lock and on our way, we had intended to stay the night at Thrupp but as we arrived late all the visitor moorings we taken so we carried on another mile and tied up at Shipton on Cherwell.

So 6 Canal miles only today, compared with 13 river miles in half a day on Tuesday, things have certainly slowed down.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A Rest Day and Heading Back

Sunday/Monday 12/13 Sept 2010
Lechlade to The End and Back to Newbridge.
19.5 Miles 6 Locks.

Sunday.  Not much to blog about  today, weather has been OK, sunny with a few clouds in the afternoon,  I walked back to St Johns Lock with a bag of rubbish as they have bins there.

St Johns Lock, the Lockie is at Lunch so Self Service is displayed.

Enterprising Lock keeper.

 Father Thames now at St Johns Lock, The original shovel was steel but it's replacement is wood.

The Statue of Father Thames which was Sculpted by Raffaelle Monti in 1854 for the Crystal Palace, it had lay at the source of the Thames, but was the victims of vandals so was moved to St Johns Lock in 1974.

Serious Times.

As part of the WW2  Anti-Invasion preparations these large Pillboxes were placed at strategic points  along the north bank of the Thames, this one is about half mile from Lechlade, the river was seen as a natural line of defence against the expected German invasion from the south. 

We had a knock on the side of the boat this afternoon, it was from the people off the boat moored in front of us to say that there was a cabin cruiser adrift and gently floating down on the current.

The un-manned Cruiser

I managed to get hold of it and tied it up behind us, it was one of a fleet of Budget hire boats from a marina on the far side of the bridge, by the word budget I mean untidy/badly maintained/bits missing etc etc.

We were also told that the farmer who owns the field where we are moored would be round for the mooring fee, £4 a night, sure enough at 5.30 a lady appeared and took our money, you have to adjust your head where moorings are concerned on the Thames after coming off the Canals, apart from Environment Agency 24 hour moorings which are free, any other place where the water is deep enough at the edge and near a Pub or Village will be charged for.

Monday. The furthest point of the Thames where No Direction can get to is just past a footbridge where the River Coln enters the Thames at Inglesham, it is also the point at which the derelict Thames and Severn Canal joins the Thames, as the name suggests it originally ran through to the River Severn 36 miles away, fortunately it is under restoration, so on Monday morning we set off up stream as far as we could, the building at the junction is known as the Round House it was built as accommodation for the Lock keeper on the upper level and stabling for horses on the ground floor.

The Round House at the Junction, the round bit is partially blocked by the trees, and the Derelict Canal to the the Right of it.

Turning No Direction in the mouth of the River Coln, its very silted up and we got stuck, but not for long.

We were now pointing back down the River, the way we came, at the first Lock, St Johns Jayne bought a couple of books from the Charity box and donated a few as well.

As I said in a previous blog the bends are very tight on this section and it is easy to run aground if you cut the bend too tight, the very shallow areas are marked by Bouys.

 Bouy,s mark the very shallow area,s, travelling up stream go to the right of red one,s left of the Green one,s
travelling down stream go to the left of the red and right of the green.

Taking on Water above Grafton Lock.
 The Cratch cover is rolled up so that in the Locks Jayne can throw the front rope over a Bollard and hang on. 

After passing the the 2 Pubs at Newbridge we were surronded by Canoes from a local club, they soon passed us and we decided to look for a mooring as it was starting to rain, round the next bend we found a concrete wall without any "No Mooring" signs next to the Thames Path, so that was it for Monday.

Our mooring for Monday Night.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

To The Limit of Navigation

Friday/Saturday 10/11 Sept 2010
Bablock Hythe to Lechlade
21  Miles 7 Locks.

Friday.  I put my wet weather gear on this morning as it looked likely to rain, luckily it held off, just very windy. The first Lock was Northmore, we had heard from other boaters yesterday that there was no Lock keeper on duty at this Lock, but he was back today.
Past a couple of nice country pubs where the Thames goes under the bridge carrying the A415, the "Rose Revived" on one side and "The Maybush" on the other. You need to check the prices at pubs along the river as some are a bit "up market" a fellow blogger reported Steak and Chips for £18.95 at the Trout Inn at Tadpole Bridge (watery names around here). 

The Lock keeper at Shifford Lock told us to look out for a two men in a punt coming down stream, they were trying to punt the 124 miles from Lechlade to Teddington in one go raising funds for the R.N.L.I.

I reckon about 110 miles to go.

The next Lock today was Rushey Lock, as the keeper was on his lunch break the self service sign was displayed, working these locks is very easy when compared to a normal Canal Lock, on a Canal Lock you use a windlass to wind the sluices (Paddles) up which can sometime be very hard, on Thames Locks upstream of Oxford the sluices are raised by turning a large wheel, it takes very little effort as the sluices are counter balanced by a large weight rather like an old sash window.

Turn the wheel, when the white one is up the sluices are closed, red up sluices open.

All the Thames locks are well looked after with neatly mown grass and plenty of colourful flowers, however the keeper at Radcot Lock had gone one better with his lockside gardening.

Lockside Topiary, Apparently you can see them on Google Earth. 

We moored tonight just upstream from Kelmscott Manor and will go the 4 miles to Lechlade tomorrow.

Saturday.  After a stormy night and a heavy rain shower this morning we got going about 10 o'clock, more 180 degree bends to swing the boat around before the first of today's 2 Locks, Rushey Lock, went through with another Narrowboat and were soon at the next and last Lock on the Thames, St Johns Lock, immaculately kept, we could see the spire of the Church of St Lawrence from the Lock so we knew we were not far away, we found a good mooring just before ha'penny Bridge by the side of a large field with a herd of young Cows and, on the route of the Thames path.

Ha'penny Bridge, Built in 1792 and now carries the A316, amazing.

Moored at Lechlade

Our Neighbour's

After we had had a cuppa and the washing machine had finished jumping around we wandered into the Town for milk and vegetables, there are some nice old shops including 2 antique shops, the one I could have spent all day in was "The Old Ironmongers Antiques Centre",  there is also a useful Londis mini supermarket.

Open All Hours ?

Those were the days

Bikes like the one above were still being used in the sixties by Butchers and Grocery store delivery boys, I only had a paper round ( 7 mornings and 6 evenings a week)  for which I had to use my own bike and was paid 17 shillings and 6 pence (87p) a week, a friend who was a year older than me delivered for Wrensons the Grocers on a shop bike like the one above and was paid £3 10 shillings (£3.50) a week, an amazing amount at the time for a 15 year old.

It pays to plan your arrival time at popular places like Lechlade so that you arrive mid morning when you have a better chance of finding a good mooring as they fill up quickly, there are 24 hour Environment Agency Moorings right outside the Riverside Pub if you don't mind a few dozen people gazing into your boat.

Mooring outside the Pub is a bit like being in a Gold Fish bowl.

We had Cod & Chips tonight from "Monica's Plaice" just over the bridge from our moorings, £4.50 for a huge portion, unless you haven't eaten for a week then 1 portion is more than enough for 2 people.