Topless Tunnel. 25th June

Bridge 123 to Claydon Top Lock visitor moorings

Another early start, pushing of at 6:30 with cuppas in hand. The lovely cool breeze was nice and refreshing as we wound our way along the summit pound of the Oxford Canal. Sun cream had been applied as few clouds showed themselves.

This morning our batteries hadn’t been complaining. At the moment we can’t check their state of charge properly, so all we can do is help them to keep topped up. Good job we want to keep on the move at the moment.


Wiggles and winds soon brought us to the contrasting landscape. One minute beautiful green fields, sheep grazing, bird song. Then round the next bend the huge mounds of earth from HS2 sat grey against the horizon. No activity today just earthwork scars across the gentle valley. I’d been at work last year when Mick passed this way so the new temporary bridge was new to me.

A short distance onwards the normally very popular moorings had only two boats on them! Blimey, maybe the HS2 works has put people off, or is it just the lack of view at this time of year with so much greenery about.

Late yesterday afternoon we had a Clifton Cruiser hire boat come past asking where the next winding hole was. Mick checked our map, Fenny Compton another two hours ahead. Their boat needed to be back in Rugby for Monday morning and today the temperature was due to hit 29C! Thankfully we passed them as we approached Fenny, already winded and heading back to base, a long hot day ahead of them.

Fenny Compton Tunnel

Next Fenny Compton Tunnel where the roof was removed quite sometime ago. I looked for the towpath, but there was no sign of it amongst the cow parsley and nettles. As we passed through the narrowest part Oleanna had to push past the vegetation on both sides,

No need to stop at the old railway bridge today, no requirement for a festive wreath of ivy for the cratch. Then the first Oxford Canal lift bridge, sitting open to boat traffic.

Love these bridges

The first mooring above the Claydon flight looked very nice and shady, sadly a boat was sat there. Strange conversations came from within as we passed, followed by a rendition of ‘Always Look on the bright side of life’. They had some sort of bird onboard, a parrot, a very vocal one.

Spaces were available on the rings before the bridge, we pulled in leaving an Oleanna sized gap between us and the next boat. Tilly was given an hour, knowing full well she’d take far more. The kettle was put on and we could sit down to join the Geraghty zoom only five minutes late and our cruising for the day done.

Topics today, what to do with ripe tomatoes, the deepest loch in Scotland and cheating on school sports days. I wonder how much ketchup Christine’s one tomato would make?

A late breakfast as the sun started to come across and hit the roof and both sides of the boat. Hopefully late afternoon would see us into shade.

The Town Square sneaky peek

Cricket was listened to, Tilly came and went, often opting to lie on the bathroom floor as she was too hot again. I worked my way through my Cinderella model, making sure I’d got everything and taking photos as I went so as to be able to do a new version of the storyboard.

During the afternoon a Carefree Cruising boat pulled up behind us, another foot would be good. Both Mick and a chap from the boat behind went out to see if we could adjust our ropes to accommodate them, this was soon sorted. Their dog took a fancy to Tilly at one point. Her popping out from the sideways trees, she got chased back in through the hatch. I showed her the front door entrance which she used for much of the remainder of the day.

She and Tom gave me an extra way on and off the boat too. Part of the see through sides was removed, just the hammocks left in place. She had to hold them closed at one point as the woofer walked past and all I wanted to do was stick my tongue out at it. She said because the glass wasn’t there I wouldn’t be safe, so not to be so cocky! I tried shouting at me later, but I just moved further down the towpath to get away from the noise.

My model is now complete, just a few bits to do before my meeting. Hoorah! Despite good solar for much of the day Mick felt it necessary to run the engine again at around 7 for half an hour to help charge our batteries, Boo!

Sadly the wind was too strong to sit out and cook our dinner on the barbeque, the defrosted pork was chopped up and made into paprika peppery pork, very tasty.

We ended the day by watching Elton John at Glastonbury. All the lyrics imprinted on our brains. Very evocative of my sixth form days and parties that ended up on the flat roof of my parents house watching the sunrise. Those parties were great parties. Elton still blasting out the tunes in tune unlike one onlooker in the crowd!

0 locks, 9.3 miles, 1 lift bridge lufted, 1 topless tunnel, 5 fields of broad beans, 3.5 hours cruise before breakfast, 1 hot day, 1 model complete, 2 batteries struggling, 1 near miss, 1 more entrance, 0 bbq, 1 pair of braces needed for a gold suit.

One thought on “Topless Tunnel. 25th June

  1. adrian2013

    The crowd for Elton was incredible! Set was ok if guests disappointing.
    But 2hrs for a 76 year old hats off.
    Weird to hear it out the open window and watch on the TV!
    Model looks quite something.

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