Sunday, 6 August 2017

Claydon (one good turn deserves another)

We moved a bit closer to Cropredy on Saturday afternoon.  It was only three miles and there were no locks but it was long enough to really feel it on my back so we were sensible and moored up at a quiet spot near Claydon.  This was even though Karen did a lot of the driving; it seems to be the standing that causes the back pain this time.

Just before Claydon is one of the lift bridges, so typical of the South Oxford canal.  If you keep your eyes open on the M40 you will see it crosses the canal in three places around Banbury.  At the two spots south of Banbury you should also catch a glimpse of lift bridges.  This particular one at Claydon is usually left open (up) by the farmer so is always a welcome sight.

Typical views on the South Oxford – lift bridge and cows

Approaching Boundary lift bridge

Karen leaving Fenny Compton ‘tunnel’

There were two tunnels at Fenny Compton when the canal was built but they were soon removed as there were a constant series of rock falls.  The stretch is still called Fenny Compton tunnel and, as it is only just wide enough for two boats to pass, extra care has to be taken when navigating this section.

The bridge between the two original tunnels

There are some residential moorings on the offside at Claydon that we always think would be a nice quiet spot if we had to settle for a permanent mooring.  We remembered rescuing a boat that had come adrift here the first time we came up the Oxford canal.  We recognised the last boat on the moorings – it was Sam and her husband – we exchanged waves and had a brief chat as we passed them.  They have just moved there from their previous mooring on the Calcutt flight at Napton where we first met them.

Our Saturday night mooring at Claydon

In the afternoon, Karen and Buddy walked back to Fenny Compton to get the car whilst I rested my back for a couple of hours. 

We are moored near a bridge with a typical boater/walker/cyclist layby where Karen can park

I said the other day that waterfowl gather by the hatches as soon as  we moor and Saturday was no exception.  We had seen hardly any waterfowl when we were cruising but a family of swans appeared as soon as we moored up.

Cygnets and their parents hoping for food

Disappointed family setting off to find food elsewhere

We have moored at this spot before and spent a pleasant few days here on our previous boat in the days when we were both still working.  Talking about mooring spots I had a nice note from Wendy and Austin the other day.  They were finding this blog useful in finding places to moor as they are on a trip down the River Avon at present.  We first got to know them when we were first looking for safe overnight moorings in the Birmingham area.  As they had a lot of cruising experience in the area they provided us with lots of safe mooring spots and other useful, local information. It's been nice to be able to reciprocate the help they gave us several years ago.

I know there hasn’t been a blog update since Wednesday but that’s because I spent most of Thursday and Friday flat on my back with the odd stroll outside with Buddy to help loosen it up.

On one of the strolls on Thursday this boat came past far too quickly – it was creating a high wash which is very harmful to the banks.  Not only do the banks erode and potentially breach, the mud washed away settles on the canal floor thus making it shallow and difficult to navigate and moor.  I asked the driver to slow down but he didn’t seem to care.  I did ring the hire boat company and send them a picture so they could reinforce the need to go slow.

Hire boat going too fast

I have to say that it’s not just hire boats that go too fast, we often see holiday boaters doing it too.  They are probably on a mission to get to the next pub before the evening suddenly realising that have to put their foot down too.  I also posted the picture on one of the boater Facebook groups and was really surprised that three people chose to believe the picture was fake.  

I had already decided to leave most of the boater Facebook groups as so many have become full of negative posts these days so it’s getting just like watching or reading the news.  It seems that positive news is a thing of the past.  Anyway, I have now left most of the groups, just keeping to the continuous cruisers group, the nature group for boaters and the group sponsoring the clean-up and use of the Birmingham Canal Navigations.

Hopefully we will get to Cropredy later on Sunday afternoon.

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