Monday 30 August 2021


Today's Canal - Oxford

The weather was again somewhat disappointing - cool, perhaps at times chilly, and generally light cloud. No sunny spells to give hope! We were away in good time although a boat came around the previous corner just as we were finishing casting off and proceeded to pass us. As a result we followed them up the next few locks.

Shortly after setting off we passed the 'entrance' to Grimsbury Arm, now used for moorings. Originally, the canal went straight ahead, along the line of the arm, rather than turning right as it does today.

In 2004 a new dual carriageway link road to the nearby M40 junction was built, one of the larger road projects in Oxfordshire for some years. Existing road intersections were replaced with roundabouts which, of course, take up a lot more space. One roundabout was needed just where the new road crossed the canal. The canal was given a short diversion with a bridge carrying the road overhead.

Just around the corner a winding hole is formed in what was the place where the old line re-joined the canal - the remaining length is a little longer than shown as most of it is now overgrown.

A little further and we came to the plot of land for sale that we featured in our blog last year. We were not really surprised to see that, for offers over £100,000, it remains unsold. We wondered whether the short branch had been some sort of wharf but on later investigation we found that the estate agent indicates that the plot comes with 22m of river frontage, as well as that on the canalside. 'Stream' might be a better description but it runs for about two kilometres and disappears amongst houses in the Hardwick area of town. We have not yet found any name for the stream.

We continued through Hardwick, Little Bourton and Slat Mill Locks - at each there was a steady flow of one up, one down. Although we had short waits, there was no threat of a major holdup. For the most part, crew from waiting boats helped out with opening and losing gates and paddles. A couple of single handers all but demanded that they should be let off dong any of the work! How to win friends . . . 

The final lock of the day turned out to be Cropredy. We found a good mooring just after the lock for our lunch stop. Claydon Locks, just a little further ahead, might have been a feasible target but water saving measures mean that boats have to clear the flight before 6 o'clock when they are then locked for the night. However, we allowed lunch to lengthen until it was unlikely that we would get there in time and perhaps not have as good a mooring as where we were. Decision made - stay put!

4.7 Miles - 4 Locks

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