Total Pageviews

Tuesday 10 October 2023

Banbury Bound.

 Another good nights sleep in our mooring above the top lock at Claydon. The train track was not too far away but if I heard anything I went back to sleep straight away. When we woke up there was quite a fog.

At home we have a saying that 'fog before 7, clear before 11', but this is due to the sea roke or fret that flows in from the sea which is warmer than the land. The same happened today, but it had gone bu 0930 when we set off.

We got to the first, or top lock of the Claydon flight, but a boat had passed us a while before. There was a lock keepers cottage, a blacksmiths shop and a stable block it seems. It makes a nice grouping of buildings, as well as another building on the tow path side.

The sun was shining brightly as Helen helped us down the first lock. She was standing under a trumpet flower 'tree'. We have one in a hedge and didn't realise that they would grow like this. I will have to think about pruning it differently.

There were more buildings on the towpath side so you can imagine how many people would have been working in this little space, where as there are no canal workers here now.

We started to meet boats coming up the flight, but they never seemed to arrive at the right time, so we were waiting for them a lot of the time.

Clattercote Wharf is just before Elkington Lock, and is the home to an undercover dry dock and some attractive buildings, with the addition of this tepee. I never understand why owners of marinas and winding holes like this put up signs that you aren't allowed to use them. What difference does it make to them?

Helen normally does the helming when we are going down hill as I can step across the double gates that are normally at the foot of a narrow lock. The autumn sun gives a special light as Helen brings 'Holderness' into Elkington Lock.

The sun continued to shine and we continued to meet folk coming up, but still not helping us along.
We stopped for water at Cropredy as there was nobody there. This place is always busy with moored boats. There is a ley or dragon line that runs from the Rollright Stones, a stone circle to Arbury Camp, an Iron Age camp at Chipping Warden so this may well be something to do with it as it passes right throught Cropredy Bridge, where there was a Battle between the Parliamentary and Royalist Forces during the Civil War in 1644.

Slats Mill was previously called Slates Mill after a corn mill that was driven by a water wheel from a mill race from the River Cherwell just to the west of the canal. There was a mill recorded here in 1482, and by the mill the Cherwell could be forded. For this reason it featured as part of the Battle of Cropredy in 1644.

You often see this along the canal. It seems obvious that a boat has gone past and caught an old jacket around their prop. Pulling over they huff and puff to clear their prop. Once achieved they secure their weed hatch lid and off they go, but not before chucking what they have taken off the prop onto the tow path? What is the point of this? Not only does this constitute littering and making the place unsightly, it will inevitably end up back in the canal and catch somebody else! What is the difficulty in chucking it on the bow, or somewhere else, and disposing of it when you get rid of your own rubbish!!!?

Bourton Lock Cottage seems to be boarded up with no work being done on it for a while. It was sold by auction in 2015 I think, but has no water, electricity etc, as well as no road access. It also has no road access. I hope that it can be saved in the long run as it is a lovely house and a Listed building.

There is a little arm that was originally the route of the canal that led past Grimsbury Wharf. There was a boat builder and beer seller called Cotterel working there in the 1840's. In 1985 the Department of Transport were building new roads in the area and need to have a run up for the approach of a bridge over the canal. They filled in the old canal after rerouting it further to the east. The other thing that you notice in this part of the canal is the smell of instant coffee. The factory is now owned by Mondelez International and makes around 90 million jars of coffee, mainly Kenco coffee. They also make around 700 million Tassimo coffee capsules too. No wonder there is a smell of coffee. I think that the factory is one of the largest in the world taking about 36,000 tonnes of coffee beans a year!

We found a section of armco just before the Tom Rolt bridge about 14:30 and then decided to have a look around the town before having our tea out. Helen managed to find a few Christmas presents and enjoyed a troll through the charity shops etc. before we headed to The Exchange for a Weatherspoons tea. We had a pint in the Coach and Horses too. St. Mary's Church above was built in 1790's, designed by the Cotterell Bothers. In the 1860's it was reordered as an Anglo Catholic Church with the interior changed, and stained glass added. Not too long ago it also became joint home with the United Reform Church. It is a Grade I Listed building but we couldn't get in to check it out.

Whilst we are in Banbury I thought I would try to find out what a 'cock horse' from the nursery rhyme was! It seems it started in the 15th Century and meant a lively, or spirited horse, or one that had not been castrated. By the mid 16th Century it came to mean a pretend horse, like a hobby horse, or even an adult's knee. So now you know.

No comments: