We will combine Monday and Tuesday blog as not a great deal to report on. Monday saw us do the usual weekly top up of the pantry prior to leaving Banbury. This time though it was a little different as we needed to work out meals for the next ten days. Our next large shopping opportunity after Banbury is Oxford but we are going to bypass Oxford initially and return six days later.
We plan to turn off right along Duke’s cut to the Thames river about two miles before Oxford and head up to the town of Lechlade which is very close to the source of the Thames river. We only have a small fridge with no capacity to freeze food so we need to be inventive as to what we put on the menu.
Once that task was achieved it was onto our thorough weekly clean of the inside of the boat as well as changing bed and bathroom linen and getting it all washed and dried. We do these tasks whilst cruising as using the washing machine and vaccuum requires the engine to be going.
We have been cruising parallel with the River Cherwell since Cropredy and at the Aynho Weir Lock it crosses the canal and then parallels us on the other side. It is hardly a fast flowing river and gave us no grief as we crossed it.
This is the diamond shaped Aynho Weir Lock which only has a fall of 8.5”. The reason the lock is this shape is related to the River Cherwell.
We moored up at Aynho Wharf where we spent the night listening to the sheep across the canal carrying on as though a fox was in there roughing them up. It wasn’t the case.
We awoke to very strong winds requiring us to remove the flower baskets off the roof as they were in danger of moving sideways into the canal. We have spent way too much time nurturing these guys to watch them fall to their deaths into the canal.
Fraser made the most of the wind by giving the roof a good brush as we had moored up under trees last night who decided to make significant deposits onto the boat.
Somerton Deep Lock as it is called is indeed deep at 12 foot. When we arrived, it was empty, so the first task was to fill it up.
Di is not very comfortable in deep locks as they make her feel clastrophobic. Fraser makes sure that he never leaves the side of these deep locks and keeps a close eye out for the possibility of things going wrong.
We have smartened up over the years and are always on the lookout for these guys who can make your day miserable if they get in through the windows. A lot of locks are okay but there are some that leak like sieves.
We were hoping that as the day went on that the wind might die down but there was no such luck. It was tough going driving the boat as a lot of the time we seemed to be going straight into it. It is hard on the boat and on us as you are constantly trying to keep the boat in the center of the canal and fighting the tiller. One positive is that the additional washing that was done today dried very quickly.
We arrived at Heyford Wharf where we tied off and headed out for a walk towards Steeple Aston. We traversed a farmers field where there was a warning on the gate that said “Cows with Calves”. Every year, there are a number of walkers in the UK who get trampled/pummelled to death by cows who object to their presence. Luckily for us they were just a little curious. On our walk we came across what is called the Rousham Eyecatcher Folly. Bascially a landowner who had nothing better to do that have this folly built.
The town of Steeple Aston is on the edge of the Cotswolds and you can see the familiar stones in the construction of the buildings.
It was a surprise for us to find that this church was open. Most of the times we find that the doors are locked. Reading the history it says that parts of the church are over 1000 years old. Many of the headstones in the graveyard are unreadable due to erosion.
The beauty of this little village is that it has not been discovered by the hoard of tourists that are only about 30 miles away drowning the villages such as Stow on the Wold, Chipping Norton and Burton on the Water.
The village sits on a ridge and it was a good climb but with a temperatures of 27c it turned into a hot slog.
A well deserved rest at the local store before we headed back to Heyford.
We did a circular route which took us back to the canal and past the Oxfordshire Narrowboat hire wharf.
We are moored right beside the main rail line from Banbury to Oxford. Thankfully, the trains become less frequent during the evening. This is the first night that we have had zip internet connection so were smart enough to post the blog when at the village of Steeple Aston. Very scratchy TV reception to be able to watch the Commonwealth Games so back to more Poldark!!