Kirtlington Quarry to Somerton
Daylight keeps running out on us, the end of the day is getting too dark for our second mate to have some quality shore leave once we’ve finished our days cruise. This is a shame as we know she’ll like the moorings we’re heading to. So this morning we set an alarm clock, starting earlier might just help. Not lounging in bed with a cuppa for as long, might just help.
We’ve already been following the course of the River Cherwell and today we would stay close. A couple of weeks ago I suspect the canal and river became one in places. Certainly the fields surrounding the river are more lake like at the moment.
The canal also changed a touch today, at Northbrook Lock the water was filled with oak porridge, just waiting to get clagged around our propeller. You can hear the leaves collecting down in the water, a quick blast of reverse to help clear them followed by a short pause before continuing tends to work well.
As we approached Muddy Slipper mooring we could see that the hole behind the armco was still there, a slightly more robust stick marking the spot today. *Apologies for the photos not being there on the link. This was due to a problem we had with Blogger last winter which sadly meant all the photos were lost. One day I may work through the many posts and replace the photos.
Every now and then we’d get treated to some fantastic colours in the trees. Then some movement on the towpath. Was it a fox? A dog? Surely it’s legs were too short for a deer.
But it was, a Muntjac, not worried about our approach until Oleanna’s bow levelled with it when it hopped over the undergrowth and vanished in amongst the trees.
Approaching Lower Heyford we got a bigger surprise, a moving boat! There was time to exchange pleasantries and inform them about the river downstream. No news from them about Aynho though. We were glad to see the rabbit is still keeping guard by the bridge.
This morning Mick had asked on Canal World Forum for anyone local to Nell Bridge Lock what the levels were like there. Above Aynho Lock the river crosses the canal which then heads up to Nell Bridge Lock which has a narrow low bridge before it. Between it and the lock is a levels gauge which informs you of what head height is available under the bridge. Someone offered to walk down and see what it was like, later in the day posting photos of the river being an inch in the red, the weir being level etc. We might make it through, we might not. Hi Sam!
All the hire boats were in at Heyford and the winter moorings looked popular a short distance on. No problem with the push buttons at Mill Lift Bridge, just a case of Oleanna preferring the off side bank after picking me back up, this took a little bit of sorting.
Two boats were moored below Allen’s Lock, here there is a low raised bit between the river and canal, it looked like the river had almost certainly overflowed onto the towpath here as the path was still dripping into the canal.
Two more locks heading up towards blue skies, leaving darker clouds behind us until we arrived at our destination for the day, Somerton Meadows. More like Somerton Lake today. On a bend of the river we could see water flowing into the meadows topping up the lake, all quite pretty, just very wet.
We’d succeeded in arriving with a couple of hours of day light left in the day, so as soon as possible the back doors were opened for our four legged one to explore.
A few sideways trees, some big trees, but they were on the other side of the lake and that was out of bounds! But I found enough friendly cover to have a pounce or two in, but nobody was home. Although later on this evening I think one of them has been trying to attract my attention by knocking on the side of us. Tom went out to see what it was. A Sea Dragon, blowing underwater fire everywhere! Despite this he couldn’t tell us what colour it was, I think he was lying!
4 locks, 6.59 miles, 1 lift bridge, 0 held up, 1 muntjac, 1 long lake, 2 boats moving, 6 gulls with cold feet, or do they not notice the cold, 1 inch in the red, 2nd left over beef meal, teriyaki, third heel turned, 4 damp muddy happy paws, 1 sea dragon!