Saturday, 21 January 2017

HELL HOLE

 

IMG_0784We decided to spend the day at Cropredy and as always we try to support the local shops as well as the coal/diesel boats. They are always handy for basics such as milk ,bread ,butter and of course the odd bottle of wine if we are running short. Cropredy has a very good shop which is located near to the services so is handy if you are passing through the village.

IMG_0786After leaving the shop we walked up to the Church and had to walk up this path to get there.It’s an Ancient pathway leading from the church and I have no idea why it’s called Hell Hole. Maybe if you were buried in the Churchyard and you didn’t fit in you would be sent down this path. If anyone knows the real reason for the name I would love to know what it means.

IMG_0788Unfortunately we couldn’t have a look in the church as they are carrying out repairs, but it gave Carolyn the chance to spend a bit longer looking for my possible final resting place in the churchyard.

IMG_0791 This is one of the older parts of the village with thatched cottages and a very handy pub called The Red Lion. We were going to go in to the pub for something to eat but after looking at some of the reviews on Trip advisor we decided against it.

IMG_0793Looking back towards Cropredy lock and then further on towards our mooring.

IMG_0779Now for a bit of a rant…      This is what always puts us off mooring here in Cropredy. There are House’s all over the network which back onto a canal ,but this is one of the few places where the residents that live opposite the moorings seem to have a problem with boater’s. At the end of the day the canal was here hundreds of years before the house’s were built and they must have realised what living next to a canal with moorings would mean when they bought their house’s, unless they were stupid . 99.9% of boaters do not run their engine unless they have to as obviously it cost’s money ,so the engines are only run until the batteries are fully charged. And if the residents think anyone is going to move in the middle of the day to below the lock to charge their batteries they must be round the twist. It’s very rare that we ever encounter another boat running their engine after 8pm and before 8am and in most cases boater’s themselves will have a word with the offending boater, at least I will, although Carolyn tries to stop me.      Come on Cropredy get rid of those uninviting signs and instead welcome boats to your lovely village.

Anyway tomorrow we will pull pins early and head in to Banbury and hopefully pick up our favourite mooring just before Tom Rolt bridge.

                                                                                                   Happy Days

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Scarecrows

 

IMG_0741After another great holiday together it was time for Curly to head back down to Devon. Chloe drove up the previous day and stayed aboard for the night before departing at 10.00. As you can see Curly is a bit disappointed to be leaving but she is also pleased to be going home and going back to School if that makes any sense . As soon as they left we pulled pins with the plan of getting all the way to Cropredy ,so in thick Mizzle we headed over the highest point of the Oxford canal. To get over the top to Claydon it’s an 11 mile journey with the canal weaving its way around all the hills due to it being a contour canal . In fact if you walked in a straight line it would only be 4 miles and you would probably get there quicker.

IMG_0743Still here and this has to be the most photographed boat on the Oxford canal. The guy just dug out a hole in the field and canal bank, drove the boat in and then filled the canal bank in. It’s now been like it for a few years so I guess it must be legal as it’s still there.

IMG_0750One for Ann on NB Oakfield, looking good now but I bet this tree looks great when it’s in full leaf.

IMG_0759Approaching Claydon and this is the first lift bridge we have been through for a long time. Luckily it was in the up position as we passed through.

IMG_0764Arriving and entering Claydon top lock and we have always liked the look of this cottage . I know it was up for sale the last time we came through here but I’m not sure if it ever sold or not.

IMG_0773After descending the Claydon flight of 5 locks which dropped us down 30 feet and 6 inches we passed Clattercote Wharf. As you can see the Scarecrows are having a welcomed Winter break after guarding the fields of Squashes which the Farmer grows here in the Summer.

IMG_0777Looks like someone liked Che Guevara .

IMG_0780After a most enjoyable cruise it ended up taking only five and a half hours to reach our destination of Cropredy. With the moorings above the lock in the village empty we had our pick of where to tie up. With some miserable people in the Bungalows opposite who don’t seem to like boaters we moored back a bit, but more about that in the next update. We will now have a day or two here before moving onto Banbury.

                                                                                                      Happy Days

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Iced in !

 

IMG_0710At Marston Doles after a good night we woke up to a freezing morning on Inca. Well not exactly freezing inside but outside. The temperature at 08.00 outside was minus 5 while inside it was a balmy 21 degrees C . This is the view out of our cratch window looking South towards Fenny Compton.

IMG_0711As you can see the canal is frozen and we are not going anywhere.We never move through ice because of the damage that it can do to your boat,especially as we had our hull metalized and also had a very expensive 2 pack blacking coating applied.

IMG_0723You always get boats that are prepared for what ever reason to crash their way through the ice . The guy in the picture above was delivering the boat to a marina and didn’t care about the hull of the boat. As he passed us we could see that he had lost all his blacking (hull protection) from along the water line of the boat. The other problem with boats moving like this through ice is that they can also take the blacking off the moored boats that they pass.

IMG_0726After a cold but enjoyable day with a couple of long walks with Hamish we enjoyed this Sunset . Daughter Chloe is on her way to pick up Curly and in the morning when they are winging their way back to Devon we will pull pins and try and complete the 6 hour cruise to Cropredy.

                                                                                                            Happy Days

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Heading South

 

IMG_0677We had a late start from Braunston pulling pins at 10.15 and soon passed this poor old boat which is now probably not worth the effort of restoring  . We always enjoy the run from Braunston to Napton as its a good two and a half hours with no locks and a great bit of countryside to cruise through.

IMG_0682What's the betting that when we come back this way in a few weeks this boat will be sat on the bottom.. Watch this space.

IMG_0690I think this is a very good idea for storing all your coal ,wood and tools and wouldn’t it make a great workshop. Although Carolyn thinks it would make a great boat for me to live on while she has all of Inca to enjoy by herself.

IMG_0697After filling with water and getting shot of waste we headed up the Napton flight of locks. After going up the first lock we came across this sunken boat. With no name and no sign of a licence no doubt it will be us law abiding boaters who will have to stump through our licence fee to get it removed.

IMG_0700Curly yet again taking over from Carolyn and locking Inca up through the flight. We ended up with Carolyn going ahead to set the next lock while Curly with a little bit of help locked us up to the top.

IMG_0703Being an ex Motor Mechanic I’m always interested to see what cars they have at the top of the flight at Marston Doles. I’m not sure if the guy is a collector or he buys and sells ,but there is usually a good selection of older desirable cars on site.

IMG_0716We had always intended to stop at Marston Doles but didn’t realise that the moorings here were designated Winter moorings. Luckily there was no one on the end mooring and as the rules say if the mooring is empty then you are welcome to use it. If we were to pay for this mooring it would have cost us £6.50 a meter a month and at 18 meters long I think we will carry on continuously cruising ,or for a few quid more go in to a marina where you have full facilities.

 

 

With cold weather predicted and a need to be close to a road for our daughter Chloe to come and pick up Curly this will do us for a couple of days.

 

                                                                                                          Happy Days

Friday, 13 January 2017

Happy 91st Birthday !

 

IMG_0688

Today our number one ships dog Hamish the Westie is 91 years old . Well he would be if he was a human. In fact he is 13 years old and is still as fit as a butchers dog. Needless to say he has been spoilt rotten and had a brilliant day ,chewing bones having a long walk and sleeping the day away. Cheers Hamish !!

 

                                                                                                            Happy Days

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Party time

 

IMG_0607The best thing about living afloat and continously cruising is when you meet up with friends on the cut. It can sometimes be many months and sometimes even years before we ever see each other. .Fortunately on this occasion we have been able to meet up with NB Oakapple Rich and Sharon ,NB Muleless Gary and Della and NB Oakfield Keith and Ann. We met up at the Boathouse in Braunston and with a gentle pull I even managed to get camera shy Keith on camera.

IMG_0610After a couple of hours at the pub it was all back to NB Muleless for a most enjoyable end to the evening with hosts Gary and Della.

IMG_0620The following night we were all kindly invited onto award winning boat NB Oakapple by Rich and Sharon for yet another great evening. “Come on Keith look at the camera and give us all a smile”

IMG_0623The following day we had a visit from Mark on coalboat Calisto. All four of us filled up with diesel and coal as there is a cold spell forecast . The price of diesel is slowly going up again and it is now 76 pence per litre from Mark.

IMG_0635On the last night that we were all together we met up at The Old Plough in Braunston. It was a pub that myself and Carolyn had never been to before. We phoned and booked the day before and being dog friendly we were able to take Hamish. What a pleasant surprise we had at The Plough , a great welcome ,lovely food and a good atmosphere.We will certainly be coming back here next time we are in Braunston.

After a brilliant evening we all said our goodbyes as the crew of Inca was leaving the next morning. Hopefully it shouldn’t be too long before we all meet up again , although with us all having different cruising plans you just never know how long it will be. Although Sharon did mention us all meeting up at Christmas which would be good.

                                                                                                                     Happy Days

Monday, 9 January 2017

Cruising with friends

 

IMG_0543We pulled pins from Brownsover and after winding we were soon at the flight of three locks at Hillmorton where we had planned to meet up with NB Oakapple and NB Oakfield at the top. What a good crew member Curly is becoming as she now needs hardly any help in working Inca through a lock . The odd stiff gate or paddle sometimes causes a problem, but most oftentimes she is fine.

IMG_0552After a night at the top of Hillmorton locks and it’s time to pull pins and it looks like the crew of Oakapple had a lie in this morning !!! Just a note to say that it’s their stove chimney thats smoking and not their engine.

IMG_0556A few minutes later and we were on our way. It’s about a two and a half cruise to Braunston and with a message from NB Muleless that there’s plenty of moorings available there we slowly meander our way along the cut.

IMG_0563Not long after leaving we passed this hire boat who didn't have much of a clue. On a wide part of the canal for some reason he steered straight in to the trees when we past him. The poor lady in the front was not at all happy and shouted a few choice words to the steerer.

IMG_0570Another job for Canal and River Trust. With the roof on Inca full of coal there’s no room left for any wood which is a bit of a shame because it free heat.

IMG_0573Passing the Boat Shop at Hillmorton and we wondered if it was still open and trading. The last few times we have passed it always looks to be closed. We have used it several times in the past both for diesel and Chandlery items. If it is still open maybe some signage to indicate that for passing boaters would be a good idea.

IMG_0580Not the Moon , but the Sun tying to break through the clouds on a cold Winters day.

IMG_0585Passing Onley and the new Dunchurch super marina is now starting to take shape. We have heard from several local boaters that moor in the area at other marinas that as soon as it opens they will be moving there. I still think that more competition is a good thing for us boaters and it should keep the prices for marina berths low.

IMG_0592With the Weather getting colder Hamish the number one ships dog decided to put his coat on.

IMG_0595After filling with water Captain Curly steered us off and around the corner to our mooring allowing Ann and Keith on NB Oakfield to use the services. Not only is she good at locking but also she is becoming a competent steerer.

 

IMG_0596After mooring on our favourite mooring opposite the boathouse we had to untie and move back 100 meters to allow NB Oakapple to take our place. They couldn’t fit in anywhere being 65 feet long so we very kindly gave up our favourite mooring for them,the least we could do for friends. Anyway in the end we were OK where we ended up having good TV and Internet so all was fine.

We will now have a few days here and with plenty planned with all our friends it should be a good time ahead…..

                                                                                                                     Happy Days