Monday, 26 September 2016

To Oxford! 1. Welford to Norton Junction

Earlier we had headed north on the North Oxford canal and up on the Ashby; now it was time to head south, aiming for Oxford.

We set off at mid morning on Sunday 11th September with five days of boating ahead before Oxford. In fact we have opted to moor up at Lower Heyford, which has good moorings, a shop and a small chandelry, is convenient for trains and from where Oxford is easily accessible.
Where we'll moor along the way depends on the speed of getting through lock flights, but we reckon to stop at Norton Junction (The New Inn), Napton (The Folly), Cropredy (Red Lion), Aynho (Great Western Arms) and Lower Heyford (The Bell).
It is lovely boating weather and we hope to enjoy the warmest and sunniest week of the year without rushing along. However our plans are soon astray as at Yelvertoft we are blocked by a crazy couple in a very slow boat towing another which sways and swings about quite dangerously. They end up having a swearing match with the boat in front of us. 
Not long afterwards we have to wait in a queue at the top lock at Watford Locks for 21/2 hours. The sun sets shortly after 7pm and by the time we get out at the bottom lock it is nearly 8pm. So, bypassing the temptation to moor up in the middle of nowhere, we drive on in darkness under a nearly full moon and, aided by our powerful spare spotlight, we squeeze into moorings at Norton at 8.30. A dash to the New Inn proved fruitless as they had ceased serving food and were closing early. Evening meal: a pint of bitter, packet of crisps and a bag of peanuts. What a start to our trip!

17 miles 8 locks

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