As we turned off the Thames onto Dukes Cut, to join the Oxford Canal, we entered a different world. The canal is very narrow and bordered by trees & bushes giving a very closed in feeling. The locks are so narrow there are only a couple of inches to spare when taking the boat in.
We stopped at Enslow Wharf for fuel and were enticed to moor for the night by the promise of internet connection. We duly paid our £10 mooring fee only to discover the connection was so slow it took 10 minutes to upload one photo!
After the lack of boats on the Thames we were surprised to arrive at Pigeon's Lock the following morning to find 5 boats queueing in front of us to pass through the locks. As these locks take only one boat at a time it tooks over an hour to get through! Obviously a slow day in the sunshine ahead, plenty of time to admire the scenery, which improved as we moved up the canal.
Bridge at Northbrook
Swing Bridge, of which there are many on this narrow canal, mostly for use by the farmers so they were thankfully left open for us.
Sommerton Deep Lock
We found a lovely mooring at Aynho Wharf, and had lunch in the deceptively named Great Western Railway pub which had a wonderful courtyard garden.
By Sunday 22nd June we were in Banbury where we were able to go shopping and top up the supplies. I also found not one but two fabric shops so was in my element! We stayed two days & met up with some old friends, Unni & Peter. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason I didn't take any photos.
The next day was overcast & a bit chilly as we set of for Fenny Compton. However the sun came out later & we met up with my dear friend Lee who lives in Warwick and although we will be going to Warwick later, Lee is off on a cruise before we get there. We moored at the Wharf, a great pub which has not only a shop with general provisions attached but a Spice Bar with an amazing array of herbs & spices.
Lee & Jan at the Wharf, Fenny Compton.
The last section of the Oxford canal before we turned off onto the Grand Union, took us around Napton with it's windmill sitting above us, following us as we circumnavigated the hill.
One of the locks on the Napton flight was in bad disrepair. Apparently the lock will need to be closed for some time for repair so they have propped it up & arranged a rota of volunteers to help the boats through until they can close it after the season in October.
We stopped just after the damaged lock, for the night, right by the Folly pub. Another with a shop attached. Earlier in the day we had passed a field of Water Buffalo and in the shop they had Buffalo steaks & Buffalo milk ice cream for sale. We bought some of both & they were delicious.
Next day we continued skirting the Windmill on Napton Hill on our way to Napton Junction
where we turned off for the Grand Union.
Grand Union entrance from the Oxford.