Belchers Bridge to Above King Sutton Lock
Needing water soon we need to keep moving towards Banbury. Yes we could have pulled in at Aynho Wharf but with little need for anything they could sell us it would have felt rude to stop, hog their service point and fill up the tank. So the next tap is Banbury.
We got ourselves ready and went out to roll up the covers, aiming for King Sutton Lock or there abouts today. As I unzipped the cratch and stood on the gunnel to roll it back everything was just that bit damp. It was that sneaky rain. If you look out of the corner of your eye you’ll catch it, hanging around in the air waiting for someone to land on. This is the sort of rain that gets you really wet when you’re not looking. We both looked at each other and decided to put off pushing off for an hour, hoping we’d be able to fool the weather.
My completed knitted orders were wrapped and made ready for posting. Back at the wharf there is a post box, but one that looked like it only really liked letters or postcards being fed to it. I could have walked back there to see if my parcels would squidge in but that would mean printing off postage labels and if they didn’t fit then I wouldn’t be able to post them til Monday (you only get til the end of the following day to post things when buying on line)therefore having to pay again. So instead we pottered away the morning, opening up the galley window every now and again to see if the sneaky rain was still there.
Mick had suggested that this mooring would be ‘surprisingly quiet’ considering there are numerous railway lines close by, three in fact. It was quiet considering two were within sight, one above the other, the third one lying behind the other two. Trains still came and went though so a more peaceful mooring was required for tonight. In the end we had our lunch before setting off and luckily the rain had got bored and moved on shortly after we pushed off.
I checked the river level before we filled up the foot of water at Aynho Weir Lock, still in the green. At Nells Bridge Lock the level is important as there is a bridge just before the bottom gates. Here a coloured level marker tells you whether to proceed or not. Above this is also a height gauge, for those who want to chance it.
Passing The Pig Place there was space on the towpath to moor, but their normal visitor moorings have now become winter moorings. NB Tungsten was tied up close to the coal stocks, no going cold there over winter. All the sofas have been removed, along with the caravan that was a bar, suspect there’s little call for alfresco drinking mid winter.
A chap moored on the towpath warned us about bridge 182. The shackles that hold the bridge in the upright position were no longer holding, so he’d had to open the bridge and secure it using one of his mooring spikes pinned through the chain. He said to check the spike was still holding before we went through. As we approached we couldn’t see his spike, but the chain was certainly holding on, so we cruised through in one piece.
Kings Sutton Lock looked full, so I went up to empty it, only to find it full of boat! An unusual sight at the moment. They were just about up and were going to pull in just after the lock as their engine was playing up. Once the top gate was closed I set the lock for us. The sun was just at that wonderful level where it turns things golden, the lock cottage was getting a good dousing of such light.
The wall along the side of the house was being rebuilt when Mick last came through. Today it looked almost finished, work lamps suggested there’d been a few late evenings trying to get it done and capped off before frosts arrive.
As we rose the boat ahead had moored up and it’s noisy dogs were being allowed out one at a time to do the necessaries. All different shapes, colours and sizes their five dogs certainly wanted to be heard! We cruised onwards past them to find a more peaceful mooring, just nicely within ear shot and view of the M40!