Oxford canal to Banbury and back

Friday, 31 October 2014

 A delayed posting to cover our trip in September to Banbury due to continuing problems with my T mobile pay as you go dongle that may have to go, other commitments and a little bit of complacency. It was the first trip since BB had been painted therefore it was with some trepidation as the trees all seemed to hang lower and out into the middle- or am I getting paranoid. There was one good thing in that in the 17 days that we were cruising I only got wet one morning.

I think the pictures will tell the story of our excellent Autumn cruise.

BB moored on the long remote stretch from Fenny Compton to Marston Dole near Bridge 126 - looking good

Perhaps this is why the water levels suddenly drop

I think this is a young Highland Bull giving us the eye

A fine collection of pumpkins

A really fine Inspection launch that the owner built 25 years ago, the engine is for all to see in the saloon.
Some more boat names

Not sure about this duck but a nice jaunty hat

These giant pots were in a field near Croperdy, they would take some filling

 One man and his dog 21st century style went past as we came down the Napton flight

Nb Black Bess painted by Dave Bishop

Monday, 8 September 2014

BB has now been painted. We picked her up last weekend and she looks fabulous.There are only a few changes from her original paint scheme of which the main one is the red. It is now Post Office red and the colours on the bow. Anne has been very worried about the red but when we saw it, all was well and it is supposed to last a bit longer. The top of the cheeks used to be red with black around the gas locker. Its now black with red around the gas locker. Dave has done a great job - all hand painted using Masons paint. He has achieved a lovely smooth gloss finish. We have also replaced the cratch cover with one from AJ Canopies of Braunston. Whilst the old Wilson cover still had some live left in it we wanted to improve the fit around the gunwale. The new cover has magnets on the lower edge which fit much better and we now have window blinds.

Even though we had covered everything, removed all the pictures and took a lot of other stuff out of the boat it still took us 2 days of hard work to get the boat back together. She is now back in the marina for a week or so for the paint to harden and then we will be off for a bit of a cruise, probably down the Oxford canal.

Fresh out of dry dock with reflections in the paintwork

Changes to the bow colour scheme

Shows the new brighter red

Side view

We moored near bridge 100- tractors are getting bigger all the time

Lancasters over Easbourne

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sorry this post is not canal related but is in connection with the two Lancasters which have been taking part in The Eastbourne Airbourne event this weekend. The sight of the only two flying Lancasters in the world was just fabulous.  Ours was the Battle of Britain Memorial flight -the Canadian aircraft was kindly provided by The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. The sight and sounds of them together with the two Spitfires was awesome and will not be repeated again.They are appearing all over the UK during August and early September, look up Canadian Lancaster Itinerary to see if its near you and go and see them you will not be disappointed.

Black Bess in dry dock at Braunston

Saturday, 16 August 2014

We have been investigating all the options about repainting the boat  and  have finally taken the plunge and she has gone into dry dock in Braunston for a complete repaint in her original colour scheme. She is now ten years old and I have rubbed off her paint in parts!

This  clearly shows the classic Stowe "josher bow" which was one of the reasons we chose the boat

Came across Vulcan XM 655 on a day trip from the boat

Its been a funny year in that we have have been unable to go on an extended cruise. We have had various family commitments and I have had another trigger finger operation which has taken longer to get back to normal than the other two. We have managed a few short visits to the boat as we do get withdrawal symptoms and Simon and Debs managed to take her out for a first weekend on board, they did have to dodge heavy rain and the classic boat rally in Braunston.

A few photographs from in and around the boat on our recent visits.

We had decided to visit Charlecote Park near Stratford upon Avon. Just before we arrived we went past Wellesbourne Airfield which has Vulcan XM655 in ground running condition.

The gate house for Charlecote Manor well worth a visit if you are in the area

Braunston boat rally

Just a lovely view of the bows of old working boats

Whats up Duck- walked into the boat bold as brass

Napton lock no 8 protected and shored up pending a winter closure for repairs

I first thought this was some form of growth on the wall of the house as you approach Wigrams Turn but I think it is supposed to be clouds or possibly fish!

A boat name I could not resist

Another from the old BBC children s programme Noggin the Nogg

Trip to Market Harborough after Napton lock closure

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

A very delayed entry due to problems with mobile signals, software issue and the funeral of a very old friend Peter Jarvis- RIP. He was of our youth and very much makes you realise that you need to do things now! We had planned to go down the Oxford canal on the 5 May but lock 8 of the Napton flight decided to throw a wobbly as the left hand entrance wall collapsed and the gate become unstable. It was originally closed UFN (until further notice) but C&RT managed to reopen it on the 9 May under supervision by which time we were on our way to Market Harborough.

A view of lock 8 showing the collapsed wing wall. Our friends on NB Elidir had to reverse for 1/2 mile to the winding hole below the bottom of the locks. The boat in front had the wall collapse onto them as they entered the lock. Appears to be only minor damage to the boat and the crew are shaken but unhurt.

Our mooring on the Leicester Arm just up from Norton Junction. The boats in the distance are on the Grand Union mainline leading from Braunston tunnel to Norton Junction., all on the same contour line.

Getting ready to plunge down the first group of 5 staircase locks at Foxton, the scenery is just fantastic.
When we went to register with the lock keeper before we went down the flight we had seen people watch a pair of Pied Wagtails feeding their young in a hole in the lock side wall.

As I started to descend the 2nd pair of 5 staircase locks these two little fellows  appeared( perhaps to complain about the noise) about 2 feet away from me and as I slowly sank in the lock they both flew the nest and managed to fly up to the lock gate some 15 ft above them. Talk about a heart stopping moment as they went downwards before they managed to gain height and then go upwards. I actually started thinking- what could I use to save them if they hit the water- luckily I was not required
Bridge 16 on the Leicester Arm- I just love how the canal builders make the most simple of things look different.

Going down the Market Harborough Arm even a squirrel had time to watch we go by.

When we were in Market Harborough we did manage to see Anne's aunt and also had a trip into Nottingham by train, a place we hadn't been to before.
Had to have a look at the canal which is very near to the station.. This is an old Fellows Morton & Clayton warehouse which used to be a museum.
The old BW warehouse now I think flats

We also went round Nottingham Castle with a view of Ratcliffe on Soar power station in the distance.

A lovely summer view of the canal as we approach Foxton, its difficult to make out where the canal goes with the reflections everywhere.
My best attempt at a moon reflection in the canal from our mooring near Bridge 100 as we went back to Calcutt.

A few more boat names

They had the usual Rosie and Jim dolls in a window but this was at the stern.

Cruise to Hillmorton locks for dinner via Braunston

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

We had a great spring cruise the other week only 20 miles and 10 locks but the weather was glorious.Sunshine, cloudy, chilly wind but some warm short sleeve afternoon but no rain - just brilliant boating weather with all the trappings of spring. The reason for the trip was to visit the cafe above the bottom lock.Its now called The Canalchef Cafe (previously Badsey Cafe) as moored outside is nb Badsey and a new addition of the butty Angel, very good they look to. They are open each day for coffee and lunches but only Friday evenings for dinner, I had lamb shank and Anne the stew which were both excellent and well worth the trip..

Our mooring just before bridge 87 with the spire of Braunston church acting as a beacon.

Braunston Turn bridges in spring sunshine-left to Hillmorton

I just love these Black Face lambs watching the world go by.

Not a boat name this time -its Sir Hiss from the Disney film Robin Hood.

Going back up the locks at Hillmorton , they are paired single locks and it was the busiest we have seen it.

Our mooring near bridge 80, just the other side of the hedge is a Detention Centre.

Near  to bridge 80 runs the route of the old Great Central Railway. This is the remains of an old occupation bridge which last saw a train 50 years ago.

Steam narrow boat Hasty which is a replica Blisworth Tunnel Tug- a lovely sight and sound.

A wide bugger!!luckily it was moored.

Our first lot of ducklings and there were 13 in total.