Total Pageviews

Monday 9 October 2023

Summit Up.

 We had a very quiet night but we were waiting for the noise to start as we were moored right next to a builders yard. We were up when it started, but actually is wasn't at all bad anyway! A few boats passed in either direction but we resisted until about 0945, and of course just as we were letting got a boat came from our direction of travel.

As we got round the corner we had a clear view of the windmill and of course Helen got a much better photo of it. It was built in 1835 and had three sets of stones. It finished as a wind driven mill in 1900 and had steam power installed until 1909 when it closed. It seems that it was left derelict for many years. Concern for the building was raised in 1936 but nothing was done. It was listed Grade II in 1952. There were fears that it would be demolished if it didn't fall down, in 1968 but by 1970 the local brickyard owner had bought it and he had it converted into a home, but with the sails installed as a landmark and was completed in 1972

As we approached the bottom of the Napton flight of locks there was a boat on the water point, but as there were two taps we decided to stop as we didn't think we needed much anyway. It was a very slow tap, and as we finished so did the other boat that was going up the locks too. We let them go first, but they weren't the fastest up the locks. It turns out they have two boats so they were moving the first up to the top of the locks, walking back to pick a car up and move that to the top for the night. Then they would go down in the car and bring the second boat up, needing a second walk down to get the car again! That seems a lot of work for marginal gain to me.

Up the locks we slowly progressed until coming to this Type 26 pill box from WWII. They are commonly known as Stents as they were designed and constructed in prefabricated form by the Stent Pre-Cast Concrete Co. of Westminster. The concrete uprights were installed and two precast slot in panels were added, along with precast loop holes. Then the gap was filled with concrete. They were roughly 10' square and walls of 18" thick. They usually have loopholes in two wall and a door in another.

The water buffalo were taking full advantage of the sun and heat. The Chapel Green farm used to milk Friesian cows but in 1999 decided to get 20 milking water buffalo. Bu 2007 they got rid of the rest of the Friesian cows and increased the buffalo to 80 milkers. They now have 140 milkers and around 100 young and a total herd of around 300. You would have thought that mozzarella would have been produced but it is mainly meat products and ice cream. You can get both these at the Napton Post Office.

This is the Engine House Arm that is 7 locks up from the bottom. It was allowed for in the original Act of Parliament as it accessed a stream to feed the canal. It was made navigable when a steam engine was constructed at the end to pump water back up to the top via a series of channels and ditches and coal was needed to fire the boiler. It remained navigable until 1948 despite it only being used very intermittently once Boddington Reservoir was built in 1811. It used as mooring for part of its route now.

At the top lock at Marston Doles was a canal wharf. The large building was the Lock keepers cottage and the low building to the right was a stable block for 12 boat horses. They were built in 1859.

The DIS marker is about 100 yards from the top lock. I'm not sure what DIS stands for, but I understand that it marks the point where, once passed the approaching boat has right of way at the lock. In this case, as it was a flight, it meant that a boat coming up couldn't turn the lock. In the old days the steerer would crack his whip, or sound his horn as he passed. With single locks the same would be true but if the two posts were in sight of each other it would mean hte one who passed first had the lock.

As proof of the weather in future years here we are on 9th October in shorts in a 26C and blue sky.

As we approached Bridge 128 we went under a construction bridge for the HS2 that was being used by the big tipper lorries moving earth from one place to another. They haven't started the main rail bridge yet but you get a good view of the route to the distance. I reckon when it is built it will be very impressive to see the trains zip past at up to 225 mph. The scar will be gone in a short order too. Look at the mess made by making or widening motorways, plus all the pollution that they create.

We decided to continue on when we got to Fenny Compton, which was just as well as there was only one space on the visitor moorings and somebody had bagged. We were soon at the 'tunnel'. Somebody had decided to moor near the cast iron turnover bridge so we waited for a boat to pass. The boat in the distance was really crawling along so we continued on and slowed where the bushes narrowed the canal a little too much. The tunnel was built with the canal between 1775 and 1777 as a single bore. It proved a bottleneck and in 1840 the canal company bought the land above the tunnel and dug down to make a passing place roughly halfway along the length of the canal. It was still holding up traffic so in 1868 the southern tunnel was dug out and in 1870 the northern section, leaving this narrow cutting to negotiate.

The first of the many lift bridges to come on the Oxford Canal. This one seems to be left open, Hooray!!

The feeder from Boddington, the reservoir, not the brewery, looked lovely in the evening light. The reservoir was opened in 1805 to try to help solve the lack of water at the summit pound. Now a days the 65 acre site is better known for its fishing. In six hours a record total of 630lbs of fish have been taken and a 40lb pike too.

We found a place where we could put our bow on some armco and pin the stern as there was another boat there too. We were all finished by 17:00 and had a beer to celebrate a wonderful day.

No comments: