Saturday 17 October 2015


I think the North Oxford Canal must have a licence to bear sidearms.

It reminded us of parts of the Shroppie – long stretches with embankments and cuttings rather than locks to negotiate the undulations of the landscape.

The only tunnel was totally unthreatening.

The only warnings were about a couple of underwater obstructions, and the need to limit speed so as to avoid creating more.

Actually the biggest obstruction was when we came to the Rose Narrowboats yard.

They've got to be moored somewhere during the winter months, but this apology for a swing bridge will be stopping traffic all year round.

However, the feature of the canal that stood out was the regular occurrence of sidearms.

Many of them were spanned by footbridges made by Horseley Iron Works.

 They were mostly short arms, leading to a wharf,

or a boatyard,

or a small marina.

 The bridge above simply spanned a winding hole, whereas that by Rose Narrowboats played a significant role in their business plan.

Towards the end of our journey, we came across the shortest of all (apart from the winding hole), protected by a makeshift plastic boom, and guarded by a flotilla of the local aquatic population.

It's been enjoyable to cruise this section of the North Oxford. But it has also been very chilly. So we were quite glad it didn't take quite as long as CanalPlan had indicated (I really did slow down for the unstable cutting – honest!) and that we could get a fire going, and a warming cuppa, having tied up at Ansty.


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