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, 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.

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