Monday, 15 September 2014

Lift Bridges and Diamonds.

Weren't sure about the weekend in Banbury town centre but needn't have worried. After the shoppers had dispersed and the skate boarders on the car park ramps had all gone home it was as quiet as you would hope for. We had a quiet day on Sunday watching the boats come and go before moving on this morning.
We woke to some drizzle in the air but it came to nothing as the morning progressed and by the time we moored up the sun was out. Leaving Banbury you start to see more of the lift bridges that are a unique feature of the Oxford canal. Luckily all the ones between Banbury and Aynho where we stopped are usually left in the up position which makes life a lot easier. This stretch of the canal is a bit bendy in places and can be quite shallow but if you take your time it's fine and you are treated to some classic English countryside. Just before Aynho Wier lock the river Cherwell crosses the canal. The lock is not very deep but is  wide and diamond shaped. The lock was designed to let as much water as possible into the canal from the river. The unusual shape was to stop the old boatmen cheating the system and putting two boats in together. Of course with leisure boats often being shorter    than the 70 ft. Working boats it is possible to share the lock. We have in the past seen four boats in there. James Brindley, the canals designer would have had kittens!
After turning Oakapple at Aynho Wharf we wanted to walk up the road to see the village but the road was so busy and fast we gave up and went into the 'Great Western' for a pint instead. It makes a change to go in a canalside pub with a railway theme. To be fair, the railway is as close as the canal.
The interior of the pub is very nice with lots of railway memorabilia and this super fireplace. Must be very cosy on winter evenings.

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