In a radical departure from our recent inlanding adventures, 48 hours ago we cast off from Forge Farm and headed straight off, that is without winding at Clattercote Wharf. In other words we headed back up the Oxford Canal (towards the Claydon Flight and Fenny Compton), rather than down as we’d normally do (towards a pre-Fairport Festival Cropredy).

Ahead of us lay two fascinating days of rain, chill winds, dramatic skies and scorching sunshine.

Oh and, of course, the dramas of boating with the kids – in turns it was exhausting, exhilarating, enlightening, and often daunting.

If there is such a thing then this is typical South Oxford scenery. A gently undulating landscape, big skies, arable farming, and the water…
The ‘be-headed’ bridge, I’m not sure who I heard describe Bridge 147 as this, but with its top walls removed it’s a fair description of this slimmed-down bridge. (ps. many apologies for the lack of topographical detail in this post. I’ve put down my Nicholsons Guide to the Oxford Canal somewhere and I just don’t seem to be able to locate it anywhere… I’ll add further detail to these notes asap… Nick)
Bottom Lock, and the start of the Claydon Flight…
‘Our Eileen’ at Bottom Lock…
Beginning the climb….
Great, the weather’s picking up as we climb!
By the time we reached Top Lock and the cottage, it was scorching!
I’ve always had a soft spot for this isolated cottage, a poetic retreat from the excesses of the 21st C I wonder???
The idyllic Oxford… above Claydon.

CanalPlan had said this particularly micro-voyage (from the Clattercote Wharf to The Wharf Inn at Fenny) would take in the region of 2.5 hours – in the end meeting heavy downward traffic on the 5x locks of the Claydon Flight added perhaps another hour to the journey. It was an additional hour that meant we were later than expected to the visitor moorings outside The Wharf which were by then stem-to-stern with boats from Fenny Marina through to the end of official moorings after the Southam Road bridge.

Along with four other boats we were relegated to a night in the wilds, and the daunting prospect of reversing back along the winding course of the canal past a seemingly endless line of eagle-eyed narrow boaters to the winding hole at The Wharf in the morning – sigh!

Evening mooring…

As a result of this micro-voyage, in the coming week I’ll be posting on:

1. Kids & boats…

2. Ghosts...

3. A bit of South Oxford wrinkled tin…

4. A rural pub trying it’s best…

5. BCN Day-Boat Spotting…

6. Renovation of a lock gate before our very eyes…

7. ‘Wilderness’ best describes one of the most popular canals in the country…

8. Reflections…

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