Thursday, October 04, 2012


We left Pigeon Lock on Tuesday morning in a strong wind, which can be something of a problem on a narrowboat. The canal continued to be very winding, and went under a number of quite scary lift bridges. The mile of canal between Baker's Lock and Shipton Weir Lock (40 & 41) merges with the River Cherwell. Here, it is wide and deep, and great fun, with Kantara going faster than we've ever taken her before - the deeper water improves steering, too.

The canal at Thrupp has a very sharp right turn under a lift bridge from a wide stretch of water, and the cross wind took us hard over to the left, very nearly turning her to 90 degrees to the bank. Grace patiently persuaded her to go where she wanted her to go, however, and completed the right turn on her second approach. The lady who opened the bridge for us (me having failed to get off the boat in time before she blew across the canal) said that the wind problem at this point is very common, and that she's seen many attempts fail from both directions.

Just beyond the bridge, we stopped to have lunch in the charming little village of Thrupp.
We carried on next towards Kidlington, hoping to visit the Tesco there, but finding no suitable mooring, so cruised on into the outskirts of Oxford. We were dismayed to see that the canal bank  continued to be unusable for mooring, the only places where this was not true being designated for Long Term moorers or residential boats under a local housing scheme. Since time was getting on, and the weather starting to deteriorate, we needed somewhere to stop overnight. After a long walk for me, with Kantara not far behind, searching for somewhere we could stop, we finally found a place just above Balls Bridge (no. 236). The water was shallow at the bank, the bank itself was breaking up, and we had to moor the boat standing out a little from the edge. But it was secure, and it was just before the rain came down!

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