In a break between the storms Claire, Molly, Joe, Fin & I headed out; the M40 wasn’t an option as the Westway was blocked, so we headed up the M1 to Junction 16, across to Daventry and then down to Banbury for a McDonald’s lunch (Yes, I know, I know…) before arriving at our Eileen for 1.00-ish.

We lit the fire, the boys delighting in helping me sort out the kindling, the Squirrel stove fired up instantly, providing welcome warmth within minutes.

We took a familiar route – just down the 4x locks to Cropredy Wharf and the winding hole, and back. It takes about 3½ hours in all, and included an ice-cream stop (in the drizzle) in Cropredy.

During the short trip Molly entertained herself making a video and, whilst taking lots of ‘standard’ images, I also experimented with the panorama setting on my camera. The views below are the result, they’re perhaps best viewed in the enlarged version – simply click on any image to enlarge it.

The essence of the South Oxford, a meandering narrow canal, rolling fields, drystone walls. A little bit of ‘my kind of heaven’.
Panorama does odd things to straight lines… watch out for that sharp curve heading into Varney’s Lock!
On the way back, between Broadmoor and Varney’s Lock – one of my favourite sections of this part of the canal, with lots of boats and quirky canalside gardens to look at…
Waiting for a boat dropping through Varney’s Lock – a moment of calm reflection, mmm, now where have the kids all gone???
Climbing towards an approaching storm – it’s June and England – what else would we be doing???
I know the view from the tiller across too much roof and down the length of the boat… is a bit of a cliche, but once you start this panorama lark it’s difficult to stop!
Looking down Varney’s… the last months rain has ensured a stunningly verdant, vivid-green lushness to June…
The simple beauty of the South Oxford. I wonder how this area will be affected when the proposed 2x new marinas open, close to Cropredy, next year? Planners, please don’t let the peace and intimacy of this stunning canal be undermined by commercial over-development.
Mmm, a banana boat?

By the way, there were numerous canoes in the winding hole at Cropredy, who all waved back cheerfully as I frantically attempted to signal my intention to wind the boat. They finally got the gist and then provided an instant audience for the turn. Happily, on this occasion, the wind at that moment decided to die down and allowed me to do a text book turn prompting a round of applause from the gathered canoeists. Phew! Chuffed!

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