The North Oxford Canal is not our favourite, partly because it’s less scenic than many, often enclosed by trees, and mooring can be a problem – there are loads of large boulders just below water level along the banks, and tying up anywhere without pilings can be a problem. It’s not without interest though.
It used to be a wiggly contour canal like the South Oxford (the summit of which goes to ridiculous ends). But to speed things up subsequently, embankments and cuttings were built to make short cuts across quite a few of the lengthy loops. The towpath crossed the resultant redundant loops on some impressive iron bridges (bought as a job-lot by the look of it), and the loops themselves either died, became mooring arms or turned into marinas.
These pictures were actually taken on our race North at the same time last year.
We’ve moored just here, on the way South one year: quite a nice spot.
Eventually, after winding in and out of Ansty and the surrounding motorway junctions and omnipresent electricity pylons, one reaches the meeting of the Oxford Canal with the Coventry Canal at Hawkesbury Junction, also know as Sutton Stop. And indeed there is a stop lock between the two canals with a drop of about six inches maximum. This time the Visitor Moorings were crowded but we just about fitted on the end.
Here’s some old pictures of the area: Sutton Stop on a busy, hot and sunny weekend on our first trip south. Somehow they never made it into the Blog first time around.
Not sure why ponies were wandering around the moorings, but The Greyhound sure was busy.
Coming South down the Coventry Canal, just after the Hawkesbury pumping station there’s an interestingly tight turn under the junction bridge into the stop lock/North Oxford Canal. And on a sunny weekend there are dozens of gongoozlers at the pub to mark your handiwork. Using the bow thruster is regarded as cheating…
This time, we were pleased to see the little cat “graffiti” was still there, four years later.
We’d also decided that instead of turning Right at the junction in the morning and heading North, we’d turn Left and follow the 5 miles or so into Coventry Basin, as we’d never been down there before (although SWMBO knows Coventry rather well from a past life over which we will draw a veil).