Traffic On The Oxford? 15th October

Belcher’s Lift Bridge to above King’s Sutton Lock

Join an orderly queue

When we came out to roll up the covers this morning we were soon faced with a line of boats heading towards Banbury. The first one was an Oxfordshire Hire boat with at least seven chaps on board, most probably out for the weekend. We let them pass and waited for the next boat, also a hire boat. Pretty soon it was obvious that the second boat had managed to get a rope around it’s prop, there was lots of tugging going on. How long would they be? Maybe a while. Maybe we should take advantage and pull out. We looked at each other, looked back to the hire boat and the boat behind it and pushed off.

Waiting in line

Aynho Weir Lock is one of two lozenge locks on the Oxford Canal. Above it the river crosses the canal, only a small height difference is needed, (1t 1″) but a normal locks worth of water needs to carry on down the canal to help keep Somerton Deep Lock with enough water. So the lock is wide but not deep so that it can hold all it needs. Unlike at Shipton Weir Lock we’d be hard pressed to share it with another boat so we waited in line for our turn.

Aynho Lock

The chaps worked their boat through, a boat waited above to come down. The boat behind us pulled in to wait their prop no longer fouled, the following boat hovered behind them. A lady walked up from the 50th Birthday hire boat behind, ‘I need to take advantage of any opportunity to keep away from everyone on that boat!’ the boat sleeping 10! I suggested that she also should keep away from us, the poor lady didn’t know where to put herself, she’s not going to have a good weekend!

The weir

I decided to walk up to Nell’s Bridge and the next lock, I normally do this as it’s only 0.5km. Standing still, working locks was just about okay today, but after crossing over the weir vertigo set in, making for a giraffe legged walk.

Nell’s Bridge

Thankfully now the boats were all spaced out so we worked Oleanna up Nell’s Bridge Lock with space around us.

If only!

The Pig Place was busy busy. A bacon butty would have been nice, but we carried onwards our cruising goal not too much further on today. Back in 2019 when we did this stretch, water flowed into the canal from the fields, the towpath just a little higher than both water levels, elsewhere the canal looked like it was topping up the fields. Somerton Meadows had been a lake and Nells Bridge had to be limbo’d under. Today no overflowing fields, plenty of room under bridges.

Sun through the bridge hole

King Sutton Lock (Taver’s Lock), one of the prettiest. The golden stone of the lock cottage, the steps leading up to the lock, the old barn opposite with it’s weathered blue paint and the sun at a low angle. Lovely. Up Oleanna came, time to find a mooring just past where a bridge used to be.

Kings Sutton

Here the toot of trains crossing a footpath can be heard and today because of the direction of the wind we’d be able to hear the M40 for the rest of the day. A restful afternoon whilst Tilly busied herself outside.


A red pepper was sliced in half, put on a baking tray covered in foil and left to roast on the stove top for an hour. This was added to a couple of trout fillets out from the freezer, garlic, spinach, parmesan and cream, accompanied by some rice. We knew it tasted good, just a shame it tasted of nothing! For pudding we had a piece each of chocolate orange, thank goodness that still has some flavour!

Good weathering

3 locks, 3.06 miles, 4 in a queue, 0 bacon, 1 stern rope, 4 hours shore leave, M40, 1 slice of vitamin chocolate each.