Gales at Cathiron

Cathiron is a small hamlet near Brinklow on the North Oxford and is near All Oak Wood. We moored up here for 24 hr because of the weather. With winds in excess of 40 mph, and a relatively slack schedule, we decided that we should hunker down here for the day.

NB Monarch moored up just outside Braunston

Yesterday we left Braunston and made for Hillmorton. It was bright and sunny but also breezy. The water points in Braunston were busy so we decided to wait till later but we managed to pop into Midland Chandlers for some bits & pieces (Brasso, anti-freeze and a Muddy Waters book - more of which later). The journey to Hillmorton was straightforward and we arrived around lunchtime.

Poetry on the lock gates

The day before we had listened to a BBC Radio 4 programme on Landscape Poetry which had by  happy coincidence, featured Hillmorton Locks. Also, I had just read that Hillmorton Flight is the busiest flight on the system with 10,781 movements last year. A volunteer  lock keeper was on duty and provided helpful and friendly assistance all the way down the three double locks.

We decided to pop in to the cafe which is half way down the flight. The cafe is very much a homage to the owners' historic narrowboat Badsey but is more correctly called the Canal Chef. They produce delicious meals every day from March to October from 9am to 2pm in querky surroundings with loads of boating memorabilia. We had a great lunch with Maggie taking on board the fish cakes and I went for one of my favourites - liver and onions.

Enjoying Lunch at Badsey's, Hillmorton

Motor Badsey and butty Angel at their moorings at Hillmorton

After lunch we decided to take on water at Hillmorton but the tap was very slow. As we waited Halfie passed by and gave us a cheery greeting. We later saw Jubilee moored up at Rugby but no sign of the crew.

Approaching Newbold Tunnel we heard from passers-by that there was a problem ahead. It turned out that there was a medical emergency at bridge 50. An air ambulance was in field opposite the Barley Mow and a number of paramedics were on hand.

Emergency at Newbold

We learned later that a man had fallen from the bridge but fell onto the steeply sloping bank on the offside not into the water.

Congestion at Newbold caused by the medical emergency

The weather continued blustery and wet and we finally called it a day at Cathiron. We hunkered down for the night in heavy rain and then heard a tap on our window. It was Halfie. They came on board and had a natter and a glass of wine. Good to finally meet up. Because they were on a schedule they moved on but we stayed put.

Last night was very bumpy and the planks on the roof kept lifting kepping us awake. I went out to check our mooring lines - luckily everything was secure. The farm opposite was lambing way into the night.

Cathiron moorings, Brinklow

Today we faced the full force of the gale. Our daughter, son-in-law and our grandson Hugh visited us and we had lunch on board. Hugh's first reaction to the boat was "It's lovely here", which amused us all. Hugh enjoyed feeding the ducks and exploring the boat. We had great fun and Hugh and I read Muddy Waters. Hopefully on his next visit conditions will be suitable for a trip

Hugh & Steve reading Muddy Waters