It’s so nice to be back on a narrow canal, especially the pretty South Oxford. Leaving Oxford itself is slow going, passing many long-term moored boats through Wolvercote and Kidlington and out to Thrupp. Then there’s also the lift bridges to master.
Heron fishing in the rain.
By the time we left on Thursday afternoon it was getting on for 4pm, the sun had gone, and with the clouds the temperature soon dropped, by the time we got to Duke’s lock it was raining hard and we had to fetch the waterproofs out again. But we were happy to keep going.
We met Dusty the fuel boat on the way and filled up with diesel.
When we got to Thrupp, we saw Bob and June from nb Autumn Myst walking Phoenix the guide dog puppy, they said there was a space on the 7 day moorings, but it wasn’t quite long enough. So we had to carry on, through the lift bridge and we were almost at Shipton Weir lock before we found a mooring, so it was quite late by then, just about 8 o’clock. But no matter, there’s no schedule and the canal gets more rural from here on.
Our first lock of the day was Shipton Weir lock, one of two of these odd shaped locks on the Oxford canal. It has only a shallow fall, so the large size allows more water to be displaced from the river section where the river Cherwell and canal join.
Satellite dishes of the Cable & Wireless Whitehill communications operations, which we could see from Baker’s lock just before Enslow Wharf.
Kirtlington village is about a mile’s walk from the canal above Pigeon’s lock. We had thought that on our journey this time up the Oxford we would explore some of the villages a bit further from the canal.
This was during the sunny part of the day, the village is very pretty, built of Cotswold stone around several different village greens.
There is a pub, shop and post office, school and hotel, Dashwoods.
The name Dashwood keeps popping up, sadly on the war memorial there were a number of Dashwoods there and later we came to Dashwood lock. So I googled the name to find out more.
There have been two baronetcies created for members of the Dashwood family, in 1684 and 1707. Both are still in existence. The family seats were here at Kirtlington and also at West Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The original baronets were members of parliament.
Kirtlington Park is a Grade I listed 18th-century Palladian country house, it is about half a mile out of the village, set it 3,000 acres of parkland with views across the Chilterns. It is now used as a wedding venue. We didn’t walk out that far though, not knowing at the time it was there.
A new development of 6 large houses, the stone very clean and light honey colour, needs to mellow a bit, I think.
Back on board and we set off through the now familiar villages of Lower and Upper Heyford, not stopping this time. The old tythe barn set up high from the canal is rather lovely. And the pretty bank of flowers close by looking very colourful.
Going up in the world at Somerton deep lock is always spectacular. I love this cottage, the only access is by boat from the road bridge almost a mile away, with no main services, so I guess no brown envelopes containing bills either.
Thursday- 7 miles, 4 locks, 5 bridges
Friday- 12 miles, 8 locks, 1 bridge