Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Hatton Locks


IMG_1887After a good night in Warwick we awoke with the thought of the Hatton flight of 21 locks in front of us . In fact it was 23 locks as there are the 2 Warwick cape locks before the main flight. But lucky for us there was a boat waiting on the bottom lock landing for a boat to share with.

IMG_1891We paired up with Bob and Jan on nb Small Dreams and with Bob and Carolyn on lock wheeling duty and myself and Jan doing the most important job of steering we soon started to put some locks behind us.

IMG_1900Not far from the top and you can see all the way down the flight and into Warwick.

IMG_1908This Dragonfly is a stainless steel sculpture by Gideon Petersen and is in a side pond above Lock 42 on the Hatton flight, opposite the British Waterways depot.

We eventually made it to the top in a good time of 3 hours and 30 minutes. It made a great difference having an experienced crew to work our way up with. We treated ourselves to something to eat at the cafe , then were off again

IMG_1911With Shrewley tunnel behind us (and yes it was very wet i and I got bloody soaked) and a lovely warm day we decided to pick up a mooring near Rowington as it was somewhere that i had made a note of in our Pearson guide when we past through here over 2 years ago . With good weather forecast we may well have a day off tomorrow and catch up with a few jobs on Inca , as well as catching up on some all important chilling out…….

                                                                                                       Happy Days

Monday, 29 June 2015

Royal ???


IMG_1847After a night below Stockton we filled the next lock and got on our way towards Royal Leamington Spa.

IMG_1853I was very lucky to catch this very rare pair of woodland creatures. I am not sure what they are as i can’t find any reference to them in any of my wildlife books.

IMG_1867One of the most famous boats on the cut in NB President which passed us on route to Leamington Spa. We ended going hard aground and struggled to get off as apparently he was touching the bottom even in the middle of the canal.

IMG_1872It would seem that this building which contains some very good water is the reason for the Royal in Leamington Spa. Although the town was originally called Leamington Priors before it got its royal prefix name which was granted by queen Victoria in 1836.

IMG_1874After a look around those very boring shops which I rushed Carolyn through we went to the Jephson Gardens which are kept absolutely immaculate and are well worth a visit.

IMG_1877What a picture.

IMG_1878Into the hot house, although i must admit i do seem to spend a lot of time in the hothouse.

IMG_1880With plants and flowers from all over the world , plus its free to go in.

IMG_1881 Watch out Carolyn it may bite !!!!

IMG_1883After our walk around Leamington we pulled pins and headed into Warwick were we did a shop at the Tesco which is very handy being next to the canal. We couldn't get on the Tesco moorings but were lucky enough to pick up this tree mooring a little way back. With the time getting on this will do us for tonight and prepare us for The Hatton flight of locks in the morning..

                                                                                    Happy Days

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Stupid or what ?


IMG_1790We pulled pins at 07.45 as we had a busy day in front of us. We wanted to get down through the Napton flight and then drop down through the 3 Calcutt double locks and pick up a mooring by one of the marina entrances. Passing the dug in boat on the summit and he is still there with a big GO sign on the mound of earth that was dug out to create his little marina. If Canal and River Trust do nothing about this, or cannot legally do anything about it i can see a lot of people buying small parcels of land next to a canal and doing the same thing. ..Now that gives me an idea…

IMG_1809Dropping down the Napton flight and i never tire of the view across to Napton on the hill.

IMG_1804The fields on the way down the flight are full of Buffalo’s ,. I did say to Carolyn we will have to try a Buffalo steak sometime.

IMG_1819Carolyn doesn't normally like going down in locks , but she let me do 6 locks on the way down the flight..If I'm not careful she will have me operating all the locks ,and that would never do !!!

IMG_1825There are in total 5 signs within 40 yards telling you that this is a water point at the bottom of Napton and is for water or lock landing only. So my question is .What is this hire boater doing leaving his boat tied up and unattended on the water point. Is he Stupid ?  or a total tosser who cares about no one else except himself.There was no note in the window to say it had broken down or there had been an emergency. The crazy thing is that there were loads of moorings just back around the corner. There were also 2 boats waiting behind us to get water who were not at all happy.

IMG_1830With Carolyn back on the windlass its onto the Grand union canal as we turn at Wigrams junction and come across double locks again.

We picked up a lovely peaceful mooring half way along the straight from Calcutt towards Stockton. With good internet and TV this will do us for tonight.


                                                                             Happy Days

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Lovely neighbours !!


IMG_1717We pulled pins at 08.30 and met this boat going through the lock . The owner was taking it to Braunston for the Historic boat festival . The Boat is called Tardebigge and its an Ice breaker/tug and parts of it date back to the early 1900s. It is a lovely looking boat and a credit to its owner.

IMG_1720Not sure how i got this picture . No doubt the camera was on the wrong setting , but this is us waiting to go up the lock in Banbury.

IMG_1730When we eventually get up in the lock there are just so many Gongoozlers. But Carolyn doesn't mind a the kids help her work the lock gates. With one of the paddles out of action there was a bit of a wait at the lock.

IMG_1738We picked up this mooring near to the Museum in Banbury as Carolyn was in dire need of some retail therapy.

IMG_1744Following a very successful shopping day for Carolyn we decided to go into town for an early breakfast before setting off the following day. Now, this is how i like to see a town with all its shops shut. Although Carolyn doesn't seem to share my thoughts.We went to Wetherspoons for one of their breakfasts ,but unfortunately we didn't have a good experience.I wont go into detail but the service and cold food was very poor to say the least. The excuse from the staff was that they were understaffed and couldn't cope….Well that's NOT MY PROBLEM Mr Wetherspoon !!!…. Carolyn hasn't been happy with Spoons for a long time as we have had several bad meals over recent months and she is a bit fed up with cheap microwaved meals. We will just have to see if it improves, and if it doesn't .

IMG_1749Leaving Banbury and we soon reach the old lock keepers cottage at Bourton lock. . I just hope that one day the owners who are supposed to be boaters do something with it.

IMG_1752That's a good looking Tree….. What do you think Ann (nb Oakfield) ?????????

IMG_1754Swifts ,Swallows or House Martins. I do not have a clue what they are , but these fledglings didn't half make a racket calling for their breakfast as we passed them.

IMG_1764After reaching the summit of The South Oxford we pass through Fenny tunnel that used to be a tunnel . Many years ago the roof was taken off the tunnel leaving a very narrow stretch of canal that is nearly a straight mile long. If you have ever travelled through this section you will know how narrow it is and you just hope you don't meet a boat coming in the other direction. Well today we met 12 boats heading towards us and it took us nearly 2 hours to get through. Never mind though as its all part of the fun of boating….

IMG_1782We picked up this mooring on the summit of the South Oxford canal and its miles from anywhere. With 179 sheep as neighbours ( I couldn't sleep, so had to count them ) and no one else  for miles we will have a very enjoyable night here.

                                                                                                           Happy Days

Wednesday, 24 June 2015



IMG_1680Pulling pins from Kirtlington Quarry at 08.30 we soon pass the Tithe barn at Upper Heyford

IMG_1683Its then on to Somerton deep which along with a lock on the Tardebigge flight is one of the deepest single locks on the canal system.

IMG_1687Its then onto Aynho wharf for some diesel . The price on display was 70ppl self declaration , so we had a fill up of 75 litres. As we were filing Dusty the coal boat passed with his price being 75ppl. If we had seen him before we would have bought from him as we like to support the boats as they go out in all weathers during the Winter to support us.

IMG_1692Off the the final river section on the South Oxford and through bridge 187 and up past the C&RT depot

IMG_1701We then went onto the moorings of The Pig Place. With good reports about the quality of their meats we soon had a large quantity of their produce aboard Inca.

IMG_1711You can walk around and see all the pigs and their young offspring. They do seem to be very happy and content which is a good thing. Mind you those little piglets weren't very happy when I told them that I was having their uncle in the form of a Pork chop for my dinner tonight and that he would be washed down with a glass or three of the red stuff……

                                                                                                                    Happy (Porky) Days

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bye Bye Thames !!


IMG_1631Yet another early start as we pull pins at 07.15 from Pinkhill lock on the upper Thames. There was a good reason for leaving early as we wanted to get through the last 2 locks before Dukes cut as our Thames licence ran out at midnight last night (but please don't tell anyone, although if we do see a lockie it will be a pleasure to pay). With the lockies not starting work until 09.00 and the locks being on self service we had plenty of time to sneak pass through without being noticed .

IMG_1634Carolyn on lock duty and doing what the lockies do and using a pole with a hook on the end to open and close the far gates to save walking all the way around.

IMG_1636It looks like they have tried to camouflage this boat , but we saw it….

IMG_1648Turning onto Dukes cut and the short journey to the lock that takes us back onto the South Oxford canal.

IMG_1652When we finally reach the lock at the end of the cut and what a mess we find. There is nowhere to drop Carolyn off as boats have been abandoned on the lock approach and lock landing plus the vegetation has been allowed to get well out of hand.

Not long after leaving the Thames we had a shout from a passing boat to say that they followed our blog. The boat was Duxslandin (Not sure if spelt correctly). It was good to see you and next time we meet we will have to stop for a chat..PS Your boat looks very good with a great paint job ….

IMG_1658Reaching Thrupp and these kind boaters after not seeing us approach and shutting the lift bridge , then after seeing us moored their boat and went back and operated the bridge to allow us to go through.

IMG_1665After a good days cruise we reached these moorings on the offside at Kirtlington. They are on the site of a former quarry wharf.

IMG_1675After mooring we had a walk up to the quarry and what a lovely view we had out over the quarry and the Oxfordshire countryside.

Tomorrow we will cruise when we wake up. But as i usually wake up at about 06.00 i guess it will be another early start as we head North on the Oxford canal.

                                                                                     Happy Days

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The end of the Thames


IMG_1490                                                               This is Lechdale and it is at the end of the navigable Thames

IMG_1494A charming place with everything you need and a place i can see us retiring to when are boating days are over. But I'm not too sure that Carolyn has the same thoughts as i have.

IMG_1501                                                      With RAF Brize Norton nearby we have planes flying over us all day long.

IMG_1525Being on a field mooring we have been plagued by this bunch of misfits. They seem to have taken a likening to eating mooring ropes and anything that is on a boat roof. We were even told that a couple of days ago they ate the cable from a solar panel. Needless to say the boat owner was not at all amused. Lucky for us we have Hamish on guard duty.

IMG_1518                                                                                                Hamish chilling under the brolly after defending Inca.

IMG_1548While we are trying to protect our ropes from the little blighters….. the cows are busy eating the ropes on the boat in front of us.

IMG_1574After a very enjoyable day relaxing at Lechlade we pull pins at 05.55 thanks to the cows that woke us up trying to eat our rear cover. It was always my intention to go to the end of the navigation which is the round house. We could have turned (winded) at the Halfpenny bridge , but i just had to go all the way to the end. I almost regretted that decision as it was so shallow at the winding hole that we got slightly stuck whilst trying to turn. Eventually after a lot of struggling we winded and headed back down the Thames.

IMG_1575                            The Moorhens seem to be late breeding in this area ,unless its the second brood of the season .This one seems to be a bit lost.

IMG_1591                                                                      How about this for a bit of fun if you are in a canoe.

IMG_1602                                                                                  How about this for some more fun.

IMG_1608Then another one came along. I have seen these boats on other peoples blogs and they certainly seem to be doing a lot of travelling.

IMG_1618After another 8 hour cruising day we finally moored up above Pinkhill lock where we were pleased to meet up with Sue and Vic on Narrowboat No Problem. Theirs was one of the first blogs i ever started reading and their site is full of very useful information . We had a good old natter and hope to meet up with them again soon.

Tomorrow we plan another early start as it now time to get back onto the South Oxford canal and head towards our next summer cruise destination .Our Thames licence has just about run out now. But one thing is for sure, As we have enjoyed it so much we will definitely be back on the Thames in the future                       

                                                                                                                Happy Days