Meeting By Nebo. 3rd July

Banbury to Chisnell Lift Bridge

The last of the £5 electric was used up this morning by heating up water for a shower. £5 for two nights a touch steep, but useful for our battery bank. Next it was time to do a quick top up shop so we visited the new Lidl just behind the canal. Here we bought some of those pop-up net cages that help to keep flies from landing on food. The pack contained two sizes, the smallest looks like it would be the perfect size to go in our portholes instead of the glass and help keep flies off us on hot evenings.

Next we pushed Oleanna over to the other side of the moorings to have easer access to empty the yellow water tank. After my shower this morning I’d given Tilly a nice fresh pooh box which she then had climbed inside and proceeded to lift her bum over the side and wee all over new bags of litter and the floor. NOT my favourite cat! Well you left me starving to death yesterday! More cleaning and decanting of litter from damp bags to dry ones, it all eats time when you want to get moving.

Approaching Banbury Lock

A boat had just gone through the lift bridge and was topping up with water above Banbury Lock. I lifted the bridge and could see ahead activity at the lock, a lady was trying to open the bottom gates, I was fairly sure that there was a paddle open at the top as well as both at the bottom. I ran down to assist calling to her, but she couldn’t hear. Mick actually reached the paddle before I could as the ‘little footpath’ to cross the gate isn’t there. We wondered if the chap filling with water had lifted it to get it ready for himself to descend.

Our turn to go down, we were soon out the bottom and pulling onto the services for a top up of water, recycling and use of the elsan for the yellow water. Now the chores were done we could get moving.

All morning we’d been watching a boat moving up the South Oxford on Nebo, now they’d be watching us in return heading towards them, already a location to meet up chosen.

Dark clouds threatened, so waterproofs were dug out from the bottom of the shed. We were following a hire boat, the lady hopped off to lift bridge 170 which for some reason was closed to boats. She obviously wasn’t going to be able to lift it by herself, Mick put the bow into the bank, I hopped off and headed to be extra weight. We got it lifted and then had to wait for the boats to come through, leaning heftily on it and hoping their dog wouldn’t try to jump across to be with Mum.

Grants Lock Cottage hasn’t progressed any, still an empty roofless shell of a building. We slotted into a gap by Twyford Wharf for lunch, just in time as the heavens opened for five minutes.

King’s Sutton Lock Cottage

At Kings Sutton a single hander on a Sea Otter was going down with the help of a very tall chap, he was from a hire boat waiting below the lock. The hire boat crew were experienced, well they worked for the hire company and were in the process of returning a stranded boat back to base at Wigrams Turn. He shouted down to the single hander that he should lift his fenders when in the lock, as he might get stuck, at least six fat fenders increasing his boats width by a good 8 to 10 inches.

Leaving the gate

Up came the hire boat, then it was our turn, an uphill boat arriving as I was just closing the bottom gate for a following boat. Blimey it had got busy. Is the paddle gear new to the lock? The gates are certainly new and the gear the same as used at Hillmorton.

No-one was sat on the sofas at The Pig Place today, too chilly and a touch damp on occasions.

There’s a farm shop

The single hander on seeing that we were still behind him stopped in the lock and popped his middle fenders in through his windows, only two lifted out of harms way. I suggested he stay on his boat and I’d lift the paddles for him, I’m not keen on watching people stand holding their rope at the top of a lock and then having to jump down onto a wet roof, especially when they could have just stayed on board.

Sharing Aynho Lock

Mick made a phone call ahead, what time would Aynho Wharf close today, 4:45pm a little earlier than normal. Would we make it in time? Thankfully the single hander managed to tuck himself into the side of Aynho Lock meaning we could sit alongside him at the longest point of the lock, this saved some time and two fishermen gladly helped open and close gates for us.

The oven went on inside a batch of biscuits ready for baking. The first tray went in the oven just as we approached the wharf to top up with diesel. The second tray went in just as we were about to push off again, the first tray having had a minute or two too long sadly.

We shared the locks into Leeds with Barley in 2020

By mid afternoon the boat shaped icon we’d been keeping an eye on on Nebo had stopped moving. It was now replaced with a dot just where we’d planned to meet them. Gradually our boat icon moved along the pound towards them. The first moorings on our map filled with boats, we hoped that nearer the bridge there would still be space.

There he is!

The view opened out and ahead in the distance I could see the boat we were meeting, Paul stood on the towpath waving to us. Plenty of room to pull in. Tilly was immediately given an hours leave, but when Paul pointed out a red kite circling round where Tilly was in the long grass we decided she’d be better off inside.

Time to catch up with Paul and Christine for NB Waterway Routes. We were invited onboard for a cuppa and a biscuit. Well what a choice of biscuits, I’d brought some of the chocolate crackle cookies, we were spoilt for choice.

Christine and Paul onboard NB Waterway Routes

Plenty to catch up on. Paul always has an organised list of questions for us which get ticked off as they are answered. Not always about boating or the waterways. We also chatted about what’s been happening on the Waterways Ranking site that he runs. Several websites have been zooming up the rankings in the last month or so, blogs of boats that haven’t posted for years have been getting thousands of views. It appears there may be Russian computers accessing sites in search for something and therefore boosting the visits. Things appear to be calming down somewhat, but every now and again there is another surge.


It was lovely to meet up and as always Paul thanked us for assisting in updating Waterway Routes as we travel. I suspect there won’t be much for us to check up ahead as Paul and Christine have just cruised our planned route. We were sent back to Oleanna with presents for Tilly from Susan their daughter. Webbox her favourite, but maybe now the Bonkers cathip treats might just be better, a couple whilst she was have a bonkers zoomy moment soon sent her off for a snooze on the bed. Thank you!!!! Thank you!

5 locks, 8.1 miles, 1 heavy bridge, 1 empty wee tank, 1 wet bathroom floor! 1 fridge topped up, 1 water tank full, 2 boats assisted downhill, 2 assisted uphill, 1 dodgy bridge, 2 down pours, 1 hour curtailed, 1 Red Kite, 4 varieties, 1 biscuit tea, 1st Nebo meet up, 1 good catch up.

4 thoughts on “Meeting By Nebo. 3rd July

  1. Mike Todd

    If by ‘the same’ at Kings Sutton you mean having the two paddle gears, then my photo from 2014 shows the same (as with most of the S Oxford single bottom gates). It does, however, seem to show a handrail in the middle, spanning the gap between the two paddles.

    1. pipandmick

      That’s not what I meant Mike. It was with regard to the actual paddle gear. The rack (?) that you lift, moves up in a square channel. But more that there is no pawl, instead there is a rectangular metal loop that you pass over to hold the paddle gear in place. Allens Lock is also the same.

      1. Mike Todd

        Ah I see – I could not make that out on your blog photo but I do have one of the new gate and the paddle just creeps in at one corner! That was definitely not on that lock before the recent replacement. This also, I think, introduces a gearing (which I was once told many years ago by BW staff on the K&A was for the benefit of older boaters! I find most of them a real pain!) I have seen the square catch elsewhere but I cannot recall where . . . Certainly not anywhere we have been in very recent years I think. It may be that they lacked the proper unit and ‘found’ this one from elsewhere as a make do. I wonder if they flew it past the heritage people who usually turn their noses up at such unnecessary changes. At least you can remove the latch and then work with one hand, unlike on the K&A where you have to use both hands the whole time whilst winding. There was a move to do this sort of thing a few years back but it provoked a strong adverse reaction, with credible arguments that it is less safe (because of the inability to close the paddle quickly)

        1. pipandmick

          The square catch is used on some if not all of the Hillmorton Locks. When we come back I’ll take better photos for the blog.

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