Tuesday, 4 August 2015

On to Banbury

Blog reader Bryn kindly replied to my request for him to leave his name and I’ve now edited yesterday’s post.  I don’t feel so guilty now!  Jan suggested I should have remembered a good welsh name.
Both of us were up early and we departed from Aynho just after 8am. The first lock of the day was Aynho Weir Lock.  This is another of those lozenge shaped locks.  The River Cherwell passes across the face of the top gates flowing from right to left.  The lock acts as both a flood gate and feeder to the canal.
aynho weir lock
The “Pig Place” is located on the left above Nell Bridge Lock.  Last time we came this way all the moorings were full and today they were all empty. 
pig fame shop
Jan went off to look at the produce in the farm shop whilst I wandered over to examine the moving bacon.  Fortunately Pinky & Perky have no idea what their future holds.
pinky & perky
The contrast in farm vehicles was quite pronounced.  At the bottom end of the farm near the canal this vehicle was parked under a shelter.
the pig place
Yes, it really is called “The Pig Place”.  The farmer had his Rolls Royce parked in the garage up by the shop.  There must be serious money in swine!
Slightly further on are the bridge abutments of a railway bridge across the canal.
abandoned railway
The bridge would have been part of the now abandoned Banbury and Cheltenham Direct Railway.  The first stage of the railway opened in 1855.  British Rail started closing services on the line in 1951 and the railway was finally killed of by the Beeching Report.  Interesting how rail caused the demise of canals.  They have been revived for leisure rather than commerce.  Perhaps the changing cost of energy will result in the restoration of closed railways should heavy road haulage become too expensive.
The pound above King’s Sutton Lock was very low and at one point I was concerned we would come to a stop.  For several hundred metres Waiouru’s baseplate was sliding along the bottom. 
Off to the right we could see the Cherwell Valley Silos where Bryn works.
grain silo
Hope you get that narrowboat Bryn! (my brain can’t have been totally asleep)
We kept bouncing and sliding along the bottom until we reached the next lock.
low pound
We’ve found the South Oxford shallow at the best of times but with very low water levels Waiouru can struggle.
The CRT services are below Banbury Lock.  NB Escargot had just finished using them and was waiting to go up the lock.   After they departed we pulled forward and topped up the water tank.  The toilets here are currently closed and are due to be repaired.  However I think we saw the same sign in 2013!
Whilst we were waiting for the tank to fill two more boats arrived waiting to use the services.  Two boats came down the lock and two more went up.  Then it was our turn to go up.  Unfortunately one of the lower lock gates wouldn’t close.  There was some type of obstruction below water level.  I tried clearing it using the boat hook and then Jan tried flushing it out by running water down through the lock.  Neither techniques worked!  Then a CRT worker arrived with a keb (long handled weed rake) and started probing for the obstruction.
CRT Rake
Eventually he managed to close the gates sufficiently to fill the lock.  We didn’t go much further finding a mooring just beyond the lift bridge opposite the Castle Quay shopping centre.
banbury mooring
I need to visit Tooley’s Boatyard tomorrow and enquire about a spare alternator belt for the Beta engine.


Chris Wren said...

If no joy at Tooleys for your alternator belt try Leamoco or C R Marks on Swan Industrial Estate (opposite Morrisons)if you can make out a number on the old belt.



Tom and Jan said...

Thanks Chris

I've checked the map and they are both within walking distance of our mooring!