Canal Closed Ahead. 4th December

Bluebird Bridge to Castle Quay Footbridge

After two loads of washing we needed to top the water tank up before going too much further. Once up through Banbury Lock there would only be one tap we’d be able to use, just above the lock, and this would mean reversing to it as the canal ahead is currently closed. As we were finishing our breakfast the boat that was having engine trouble came past, they pulled onto the water point below the lock. Good job there’s the one above, so we pushed off and emptied the lock.


No matter what time of day there are plenty of people around at the lock and despite the number of signs up saying not to cross the top gates, many people do. Some ask, others don’t. The locals may well be aware to tread carefully as they cross and it does save a walk round to the handy footbridge put there for the purpose. Two more crossed just as the gate was about to be ready to open.

The pound through Banbury was full, so much that the water was over topping the top gates of the lock. There must be a bypass with water being pumped around the closure or a feed into this pound, at least it means that no matter how many boats go through the lock our boat will remain afloat.

Through Banbury Lock for the last time this year

Soon the other boat was coming up the lock and as we were still filling with water Mick walked up to raise the lift bridge for them. They hadn’t noticed that that was what was happening and pulled over expecting us to go through first, Mick waved them on. Our tank was now full, so no need to drop the bridge, we packed away our hose quickly and followed them through. Tooleys were going to work on their engine problem and they called the boat yard to see where to pull in, luckily there was space for us to pass as they were directed into a space.

The bridge that is being worked on and a blue dam

Next thing was to find a mooring suitable for Tilly to be able to go out. The Castle Quay moorings are surrounded by car parks for the shopping arcade and not somewhere we’d be happy to let her out. I walked on along the towpath to see if there was space by Spiceball Park. I passed a few boats that had come past us in recent days, all waiting for the stoppage ahead to finish so they could carry on northwards like ourselves. There were also a few familiar boats, those from permanent moorings on the other side of the closure. They had moved down so as to have access to the water point. I walked up almost to the closed bridge, but there was only one space available. This was alongside the park, but also right next to the busy road bridge. If I could have got five boats all to nudge up tightening up their modesty gaps, then we’d have just fitted by the park. So I walked back to Mick and gestured to reverse back to Castle Quays. There was just enough space for us to tag on the end of the moorings before the disabled bollards.

This will do for the next few days. This outside has no view! Just what were they thinking?


Banbury is the last reasonable sized town we’ll see before Christmas. So presents and festive items need to be bought whilst we’re here. No popping into town for crackers whilst we’re on the summit pound!

DSCF7114sm1 lock, 0.3 miles, 120ft reversed, 2 taps, 1 beaten to, 1 lift bridge, 5 dogs still woofing, 2 compost boats together, 1 shopping list compiled, 0 shore leave, 0 view! 1 sulky cat.