Friday, 24 April 2015

Lovely weather

Haven't we had some lovely boating weather recently? Did manage to get some sunny boating done and thoroughly enjoyed it too.
Moved northwards past Enslow, to Pigeons Lock for a sort stay. When I decided to move on, Lock 38 (Northbrook lock) it decided not to play ball. The gate would not open fully and Constance got jammed in the lower gate. Canal & River Trust Engineers were on site within about a half-an-hour of being called. They dispersed a whole load of silt and plant matter trapped behind the gate.

Impending problem at Lock 38
 Once through Lock 38 and a quick fuel top-up from 'Dusty', it was plain sailing again towards lower Heyford.
Lower Heyford
Constance is moored about as close to the railway line as can be. When the goods trains rumble by it shakes the ground, which in turn shakes the canal water and then the boat. Luckily the trains seem to be a lot fewer at night, otherwise there would be little sleep! Might have to move on soon.

Friday, 3 April 2015

'Twas a bit draughty!

After an overnight stop at the 'Jolly Boatman' it was time to move on.
'Constance' moored by the Jolly Boatman
 The morning was bright and sunny but it was very windy. The four hire boats that shared the few hundred yards of towpath all moved off fairly early. I waited to see what the wind was like as I was single handing.
Thrupp - main street
 Eventually I plucked up courage and set off towards the Thrupp Lift Bridge. The wind by now was pretty much a broadside (left to right in this picture) howling gale.
Thrupp - lift bridge
 I arrived to raise the lift bridge just as another boater kindly offered to do it for me. Thank you!
Thrupp - 'facilities'
To get to the 'facilities' at Thrupp required a sharp left turn and lots of power from the engine. I am sure the waves were much higher than the picture shows. It certainly felt like it anyway! Drinking water containers filled and loo cassettes emptied it was time to set off into the wind.
Into the teeth of the gale
 Setting off along Thrupp wide towards Shipton-on-Cherwell was straight into the wind. One needed a bit of speed and power to steer a straight course but once into the trees things calmed down.
Shipton Weir Lock
 Shipton Weir Lock is one of the diamond shaped locks. The wind (now blowing right to left) across the lock makes entry and exit a little more difficult than normal.
River Cherwell
 The 'tide' level on the River Cherwell was quite low and the (almost a) mile of river passage only took about 15 minutes.
Cherwell ahead, canal round to the right.
 Once the right turn ahead was made it was back onto the canal at Baker's Lock.
Baker's Lock water level marker
 Baker's Lock marker showing that the tide level was quite low, almost at Summer levels.
Enslow Marina
There did not seem to be anywhere to stop at Enslow so Constance chugged on past the Enslow Marina and found a nice quiet mooring a little further north.