Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Hello from Jericho

Moored in the jungle of the Cherwell Valley
We've been in the land of internot rather than internet these past few days as we headed south from Banbury towards Oxford. Now the virtual world has caught up with the real one I can report - well, not a lot really except heat and more heat.
We've been dawdling, aiming to meet a few old mates along the way, and I'm glad we've not had to rush either. Instead we've sought out the shade and laid up for the afternoon before heading on a bit further in the cooler evenings.
Shade was actually pretty hard to find: the Oxford is a truly rural canal but runs through an open landscape of low hedges and few trees – which get 'bagged' by the first boat to spot them.
The curiously shaped Cherwell Weir locks
Last night, though, we finally found trees, and lots of them, as the canal wove its way into the Cherwell valley along a thickly tree lines route in a waterway edged with reeds and towering grasses like something out of The African Queen. Then, as the pink sun set behind us, hundreds of rooks flew noisily across the sky to roost in the trees around.
More weaving through the woods this morning, and even a section on the River Cherwell itself before we finally closed with Oxford. By now the shallowness of the canal - occassionally a problem all the way - was becoming a serious issue. At the popular Thrupp moorings we couldn't get closer than three feet from the side then as we neared Kidlington we were grinding and bumping along the bottom in mid channel at tickover.
Welcome to Oxford: the Agenda 21 moorings begin
Like many canals, this one enters the city through its back yard, skirted by a railway line on one side, a medley of back gardens on the other and in many parts is lined by 'Agenda 21 residential mooring' boats. These are there by some complicated witches brew of planning issues, past BW inaction and boater eco-agitation. Supposedly the moorings are to encourage a 'low impact alternative lifestyle' though some of the rotting hulks and that rubbish covered plastic boat with five cats sunning themselves on it seem poor adverts for any sort of enjoyable alternative lifestyle.
It wouldn't be so bad but the occasional 48 hour visitor moorings elsewhere on the canal were inevitably far too shallow to use. After grounding out at several I was resigned to a night in mid-stream until we finally happened on an empty stretch of mooring rings on the edge of Jericho at 9p.m. tonight.

1 comment:

  1. In this heat no rush...but it would be nice to have a 'nice' spot to moor and relax on route! One does wonder at logic in all walks of life these days, as soon as planning or H&S needs to activated you can say good bye to common sense. Enjoy Oxford...it is going to be busy