Cropredy and Marston Doles

Monday was a dull showery day. We started by filling up the water tank at Aynho Wharf. Whilst we waited for it to fill (slowly) we also had a pump out. Having left my usual pair of water proof trousers at home, with an eye on the weather, I purchased another pair at a very reasonable price.

Aynho Weir Lock
We crossed the River Cherwell at Aynho Weir Lock with the indicator board showing a friendly yellow, and even the green was just showing below the surface. What a difference a week has made.

More Clearance under Nell Bridge this time

The trip through Kings Sutton was enjoyable although the weather was dull. As we passed under the M40 I took notice again of the memorial plaque under the bridge. It is a reminder that even in recent times, with the modern emphasis on health and safety, construction projects can carry risks.

A poignant sign under the M40 King Sutton

The spire at Kings Sutton

As we left King Sutton Lock we collected a "blade-full" of weeds. It is actually rare that a trip down the weed hatch produces only vegetation, but it did this time. However there was a lot of it.

A blade-full of weeds

Banbury was quiet compared to when we passed through on Canal Day. The showers started again and we locked up through the town lock into the basin by Castle Quay and Maggie prepared the lift bridge. A boat was coming south so we waited for them to go under the bridge and also left the lock gates open. The crew were both wearing bright yellow fluorescent jackets so spotting them was easy. As they passed us I realised two things, firstly they were a Willow Wren hire boat and secondly that they were still accelerating sharply! Now the basin is not long and the lock is set at a sharp angle. I indicated to Maggie (by putting my fingers in my my ears) , that there was going to be bang and there was! The steerer made no attempt to steer into the lock and struck the wharf with load clunk. It was only in the last two yards that reverse was selected and at that moment the steerer also let go of the tiller! As I passed under the bridge I noticed the boat make a second unsuccessful attempt to get into the lock - again hitting the quay. I wonder what shoppers in the H&M store made of it all - they had a good view! It was the most inept piece of navigation I have seen for some time.

We then trudged up to Cropredy, squelching through the locks,  and moored up just above the lock in the village. We stayed put for the evening.

Tuesday was a brighter day but it was blowing a gale. The trees were being shaken to their roots; we tried to avoid stopping under them! We went up the three locks to the bottom of Claydon flight. With a number of boats coming down, progress was good. The wind was still blowing strongly up the flight and some locks required extra care.

Cast Iron Gates - Claydon

The crew of a boat coming down announced that the wind would drop after 1 o'clock . It did drop a little as we left Claydon Top Lock, about 1 o'clock, but it was still strong enough to cause me to take an interesting line into a lift bridge (141). I had the boat all lined up until a gust moved us across the canal and I had to line up again. Still we made it without a bump.
Autumn colours

After Fenny Compton the wind did indeed drop. The trip through the Wormleighton "wiggles" was, as usual, interesting. We had to come to a rapid full stop at a blind bridge when we met another boat. A crew coming the other way on a tight bend got it all wrong and we had to select full reverse to stop in time. This section is always a challenge and you need to be wary because anybody can get it wrong.

We moored up for the night in the shelter of a hedge just above Marston Doles.