Sunday, 12 August 2018

Very Busy On The Northern Oxford

(With both boats - posted by Alan)
(Retrospective Post for Thursday 9th August

There's not a lot to report really, other than how unbelievably busy the first half of today was.

Wide beam boat restricting a canal never designed for them.
We left Braunston after a very relaxed start and quickly found mild mayhem all the way through from the marina to Braunston Turn.  It was very easy to forget that whilst passing in very narrow parts, including the bridge holes is very normal at the annual historic boat event, it is not a behaviour expected by most boat owners at other times!  In fact most seemed to need or want more space than was actually available with the large numbers of boats in both directions.



Flamingo down the locks first.
Mercifully, once away from Braunston and on to the Northern Oxford we got along relatively quickly, though it was definitely a procession for many miles.  Mayhem resumed briefly at the long linear moorings at Barby, where there really is little more than two boat widths beside the moored boats, so everybody is forced fairly close together - closer than some feel comfortable with, particularly day boat hirers, and, it seems, any boat steered ponderously by wheel, rather than tiller.


It's hard to get a 72 foot boat out of this lock if a boat is moored there.
On the long straights we were able to let a hire boat pass that had followed us patiently for some miles, although he quickly caught up the next boats ahead, and decided to moor up shortly afterwards. Meanwhile a hire boat having trouble with the pace let us both go past.









Bringing Sickle down separately.
Cath and I have decided not to try working both boats through flights of narrow locks at the same time.  Instead we will moor one up, and take the other one through, before mooring that one up at the other end of a flight, and walking back to do the same with the other boat.  Had we not also had the two dogs to manage, I think we might have tried the three pairs of twinned locks at Hillmorton keeping both boats together, but we decided it was easier and safer to do the boats one at a time.  This was probably a good decision when Max decided to try crossing one of the top gates on the balance beam, rather than on the platform intended for crossing the lock.  He seemed a bit surprised to be in the water, having been right under, but was pulled out unharmed.

We had intended to carry on from Hillmorton to either Brownsover, (Rugby Visitor Moorings), or Newbold.  However everywhere was so busy that we rather doubted we would find good moorings that allowed a 72 foot and a 40 foot boat to find a space close together. So we decided to stay put at Hillmorton, where we were on a reasonable spot, with both boats together.

Braunston to Hillmorton
Miles per boat: 8.0, Miles both boats: 16.0, Locks: 6 
Total Miles both boats: 36.6,  Total Locks both boats: 19

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