Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From somewhere out in the sticks

Lovely - no road, no trains, no bridge; TV signal, full internet signal and phone signal! All our Christmases at once, John is happy and so am I!

We set out from Shipton with only a vague idea of where we would stop. John had his walk as he left me in charge of Epiphany and walked to the swing bridge and then on to Shipton Weir Lock, avoiding the lady hikers who took up the towpath as they "hallood" us!

Shipton Weir Lock
John enjoyed opening the throttle on the section of the River Cherwell above the lock (so did Epiphany's engine! - ed.) - the river had a bit of a flow and was on "yellow". By now it was wet and the wind had become an issue at slow speeds! The elegant iron arch of Horse Bridge marks where the river leaves again and we were into the calm of the cut below Baker's Lock.

Horse Bridge and lock cut to the right
We were now in "Kingsground land" - the narrowboats became progressively "shinier" as we approached Enslow Mill and the wharf there. It always looks deserted though, despite the evidence of lots of moored KG narrowboats.

Kingsground off line moorings and paintshop
The golf course after the raised Caravan Lift Bridge had a lone golfer braving the open scrubland and wind - boy did he look cold! The thorough Brindley meanderings of this southern canal are obvious here, as looking back the dishes and old cement works can be seen, passed on the Cherwell and at Enslow.

Train and narrowboat - a race?

A rare moving narrowboat was approaching us as we drew near to Pigeon Lock - it was our BSS Inspector, Mark Paris, on his Helene of Troy. A cheery wave as we passed and a thought that maybe the lock would be set for us - it was.

We were beginning to think about finding a mooring - it was nearly tea and cake time! But not at this tea room above the lock - a wonder of a treasure trove of old caravan, morris van and upmarket hen coops.


We had heard talk of Kirtlington old quarry and a mooring there. As we drew near the sun broke through; was this a good omen?

Kirtlington quarry wharf on right (off side)
We had a go at mooring but for some reason Epiphany did not want to - she would not come in to the bank. Then I saw a good reason to give up trying - a half eaten deer on the path beside the old wharf. I imagined the noise of fox, other scavenging animals and then, as my mind took off, vultures! Noises in the night, no thank you! Moving off we carried on a little and so, as you know, found this very remote mooring.

South Oxford Canal, Shipton to Kirtlington
2 hours 23 minutes, 3.82 miles, 3 locks