Somerton and Tackley

On Friday afternoon we returned to Albert from Teddington and took on water at the wharf. It wasn't easy with a hire boat occupying the refuelling point so we stuck out into the canal a bit. Being less than half full it also took some time. A boat arrived to take on fuel and asked about Albert's engine. It turned out that the other boat, Wat Tyler, had a Ruston 2YD; also manufactured in India but installed by Lawrence Hogg in the early nineties, that is just before Albert was built.

Ruston & Hornsby 2YD c1990

We moved on under cloudy skies and moored up below Somerton village where there is good mooring that looks out over the valley. As it got dark it started raining and continued for most of the night.

In the morning Albert's roof had a good covering of willow leaves, but the sun was shining and it was the beginning of a delightful day's boating.

Autumn colours near Heyford
At Heyford Common Lock
The weather, or more accurately, the light was great all day today making for some good autumn boating photography. Our aim was to make for Tackley, wind and then find a suitable mooring. We need to be back at Aynho Wharf on Saturday evening. 

Manor, church and tithe barn at Upper Heyford
Opening the lift bridge at Lower Heyford
Our winding point was by the old quarries just above Pigeon's Lock. It would be easy to miss the winding hole because of the vegetation, but the pipe bridge provides a good marker. Turning was tight. I wouldn't like to carry it out with low water levels.
On the way south we had noticed a number of suitable mooring spots and eventually settled for one that must rank as one of the best around the Southern Oxford. We moored where the Cherwell and the canal run close to each other. As we moored up a kingfisher, one of many we have seen this trip, flew past flashing its blue back and orange belly. We spent a delightful late afternoon just "watching the river flow" and admiring the autumn colours highlighted in the sunshine.
Idyllic mooring - River Cherwell (left) and Oxford Canal (right)

Mooring near Tackley
Tomorrow we continue going north - homeward bound.