HS2 View. 19th December

Fenny Compton  to over looking Lower New House Farm

Finding her light

The sun came out today, what a difference. Tilly immediately started to try to find a way to sit in it, she will always find a sunny spot to sit in unless they are only on vertical surfaces, but she’ll still try to give it a good try.

Todays decision was which mooring to stop at. If there was space would it be at a gap in the hedge with a good view, or a few more wiggles to the mooring we found on our way up that we really quite liked by a bridge with sheep in the field. Neither of them that far away, we’d see what space there was.

The lumps on the right are the old village

This section of the summit pound has the biggest wiggles in it due to following the contours. We set off heading North East, then northwards, then west followed by east just to get around Wormleighton Hill. On the off side in a wood was a fenced off area with water butts and small shelters, we wondered what animal was kept here, hogs? The medieval village of Wormleighton more noticeable than before with the low sun picking out the highs and lows of the old settlement, the more modern village now sits high on the hill above.

Wormleighton Grange sits on the end of the biggest loop the canal does. What views they must have from up there, just a shame they planted tall trees so you only get the occasional glimpse, not enough for a photo. Sheep wandered from one field to the next in front of the house, separated by a stone haha. The trees were most probably planted to help cut down noise from the busy A423, if it had been us we’d have invested in double glazing and kept the view.

What a view

The radio mast came into sight, so we knew we were close to the first mooring. Not one single boat was moored here, we pulled in at the first big gaps in the hedge, could we get views from both the dinette and bedroom. We pulled back and it was almost possible. If we’d have carried on a touch further the gaps in the hedge are longer, but we were happy with where we were. What a view stretching on for miles.

An organic wreath

The low sun was so strong that the galley blind had to be pulled down so that I could see anything to make us some soup for lunch. Then I could get on with making a wreath for the cratch.

Esential pruning

Tilly busied herself finding friends (one a little bit too big!) and helping to prune the sideways trees. We were surprised when she didn’t venture off down into the huge field below, I was saving that for tomorrow.

Bridge 128 today

With enough day light left and a cat indoors we decided to take a walk up to bridge 128. In a few years time the view we were enjoying will be very different. HS2 will cross the canal at Bridge 128 (link to maps) and cut across the valley we have a great view of. Mick found a map of the planned route so we could trace out where it will go. Some work will go on around here, a viaduct will replace the (Lucky Sods) bridge to cross the canal and it looks like embankments will take the tracks across the valley. Now the world up here is calm, faint noise from the A423 and today only one boat passed us, but that will change.

This bridge might need upgradingHS2 will go that way

Looking things up later I came across a petition to Parliament from Lower New House Farm regarding HS2. Only having had a quick read through it looks like part of their farm will become a temporary works compound (Oxford Canal North Compound) whilst construction takes place. This works compound will operate for five years and accommodate between 90 to 170 workers with temporary living accommodation. The road leading to the farm will be upgraded and they have concerns about the safety of the radiofrequency beacon on their land and it’s protection whilst works are on going (another petition here about the beacon, part of the Marine Beacon Differential Global Positioning System network, covering 50 miles around the UK coast line). Storage of their own topsoil and noise levels of the works are also a concern to them. This was all written in 2013, another document showing homeowner protection zones was published in 2016 with the route remaining the same.

Sun setting

Our mooring today will change in the coming years, the view will be different and high speed trains will cross the valley at regular intervals. A massive amount of upheaval will happen as the construction takes place, but once everything has settled down and nature restored around the new line it will become like any other railway line crossing the canal and valley. How many of us marvel at the viaducts built in Victorian times, here’s hoping that HS2 has it’s own structures to marvel at. Here’s also hoping that all the upheaval will be worth it in the long run.

But the biggest question is, will this mooring still be worthy of a Mrs Tilly stamp of approval?

0 locks, 2.76 miles, 2 boats moving, 1 sunny winters day, 4 root veg soup, 1 GF homemade biscuit topped pie! 1 wreath, 1 large friend, 1 field yet to help dig up, HS2 to come, Ep 3 Luther, 0.5 sock, 1 Mrs Tilly stamp of approval.