Wednesday, February 02, 2011

From Shaun the Sheep to Banbury Cross

The Aynho flock have a large field, but this morning they were grazing opposite us. One of them just had to be Shaun the Sheep!

We had company on our cruise today - Dave Parry and his narrowboat - we were all bound for Banbury. As both narrowboats are about the same length we fitted well into Aynho Weir Lock.

Once past the cross flow of the River Cherwell at the weir, I followed Dave along the very straight cut to Nell Bridge and the lock beyond. There was still some ice around, but broken up by a couple of other narrowboats and Dusty who passed us yesterday.

You can just see John walking the towpath to catch Dave up so he could get the lock ready. Apparently the towpath was in very bad condition and "lethal" in some places. By which I assume John means "very slippery".

I followed Dave's advice and stuck my front end against the bottom gate with a little forward throttle whilst John opened the bottom paddles. This gave me a chance to study the old bridge under the new.

BW are getting ready to repair the gate on Grant's Lock - and as we passed their yard at Haddons Lift Bridge we spotted the new gate in a dumb barge. The notice on Grant's Lock says it will be repaired at the "end of February, beginning of March". The date has changed so much, we wait to see ......

Arriving at King's Sutton Lock we saw that it had been left with the bottom paddles up: thanks Dave. Fortunately we did not lose it to the BW workboat that arrived just as we we ready to exit! Grant's Lock too was ready for us.

So, after filling and emptying, we arrived in a very familiar place

Banbury Folk Club is the attraction tonight. PJ Wright and Tom Leary are playing there. It is just a jump and a skip from our mooring, but I shall not be jumping or skipping, more like hopping, as I have injured my foot! One legged boating is not a great idea!

South Oxford Canal. Aynho to Banbury
3 hours 49 minutes, 6.76 miles, 5 locks

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