Oxford Canal –  28th July 2022

A little about the books that we use as guides on the canals. There are two main books that are the bibles, Pearson’s and Nicolsons. We much prefer Pearson’s as they are easier to follow for us.

We do have a slight problem with our copies we are using as they are nearly 10 years old and some of the information is very much out of date. The author is renowned for his descriptive verboseness and often brings a chuckle to our day.

As a good example for the following stretch of canal –

For eleven dizzy, dreamy miles the Oxford Canal traverses its depopulated summit. With a compass, a pair of stout walking shoes and a healthly disregard for the laws of trespass, you could do it in four hours. But because – as the poet Edward Thomas put it – “there is nothing at the end of any road better than can be found beside it” – you feel no desire to count the miles, no temptation to begrudge Brindley his watershed wanderings.

Epitome of Pearson’s often plethora of hyperboli

We have cut our cruising hours back to three hours per day. We are doing this as there are some planned activities coming up on specific dates in specific locations. Hence, today saw us crawl out of bed at 9.30am and not set off until 11.15am. We had two hours cruising to the village of Fenny Compton.

We made the cruise along the cut a little longer than necessary as we wanted to get a load of washing in. The machine takes approximately 1.5 hours to do the complete cycle, so it is best to cruise at a constant speed which was easily achieveable as we are on the summit.

Once we had moored up, we went for a walk into Fenny Compton which was about two kilometers away. In the 2001 census the parish had a population of 797, increasing to 808 at the 2011 census. Its name comes from the Anglo-Saxon Fennig Cumbtūn meaning “marshy farmstead in a valley”. There you go – great info for a trivia night!! It has a bit of a Cotswold feeling about it but then again we are not far away from that area. We particularly liked the colour of the stone in the older buildings. Doing a bit of research, we think it is ironstone – though not 100% sure about that.

We had moored behind this boat with a cute dog that no matter what was happening around her, she did not move from her spot. Everyone takes their dogs on holiday with them on the waterways including hire boaters. There are not that many pubs along the canals that don’t allow dogs.

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