Went to bed at 9.15pm last night. Was so shattered. But I wasn't feeling too bad this morning. Re-worked the transport to avoid trying to cope with getting from South Oxford to North Oxford during the rush hour. The re-working means two buses to Peartree this morning and I planned to take a train back from Heyford this evening. It'll mean leaving here at 9am instead of 6.30am.
My bus to Oxford went via Iffley Road which I wasn't expecting and so I had to walk along Cornmarket to get the bus to the Peartree P&R. This digression meant I was able to get a Latte and Chocolate Croissant.
Did the 0.5M trek from the P&R to the Canal and started walking the Canal at 10.30am.
Here is a link to today's photos.
Almost immediately I came across an orange flower (see photo) that I hadn't see before. And then I saw the first of today's herons (see photo).
The first boat that caught me up were two guys who had started southwards at 0630, had gone to Oxford and were now on their way back north. I decided they were fanatics. There is a photo of them going through Kidlington Green Lock.
At Thrupp, I met the people who I had seen yesterday who said that they would see me again today. They had stayed overnight in Kidlington (which is not far from where I left the Canal yesterday). They have the back boat in the photo. They said that the people moored in front of them had just arrived and that these people wanted their friends to be moored between the two boats and could the people who I had met yesterday move down. No way as there were no mooring rings further down and they didn't want to use pegs (as they come out too easily). The photo shows the third boat trying to fit into the space. I left them trying to resolve the situation.
This was at 12 noon outside a pub called "The Boat" which looked nice. But I had decided to aim for another pub two miles further along the Canal at a place called Enslow, and at a pub called the Rock of Gibraltar. This was partly because it was too early to have lunch and Enslow is exactly half way along today's route.
At Shipton (Weir) Lock, the River Cherwell joins the Canal (see photo) for about 0.75M. There's a marker with red, amber and green bits (see next photo) which indicates whether it's safe to join the river. Today it was green, but if it's red you are meant to wait.
There's a Satellite Earth Station near to Enslow (which are in the next two photos).
At 1.05pm I got to the Rock of Gibraltar pub (see photo). It's got extensive grounds reaching down to the canal. There were a lot of cars outside. There was a sign advertising Food from 3.50 pounds.
But the pub was closed. I was annoyed. I'm on holiday. No packed lunches for me. This is my treat. Anyway I'm lazy.
So on I walked. I passed a boat where they had picnic chairs on the towpath and a barbi with burgers and salad and beer. It looked so inviting. Jokingly, they offered me burger and chips for some amount that sounded like 50p. They didn't know my plight; they didn't know how their smells churned my stomach: I nearly told them my story. Instead an hour later I found a nice sheltered spot between the Canal and the River Cherwell (see photo) to have a lunch of chocolate, nuts, bananas, energy bar and lucozade. It was a good job I didn't eat it all earlier (like I should have done).
Later I came across another lot on the opposite bank that had their table out and were also having a barbi. A short distance ahead also on the opposite bank there were a couple picking blackberries. I shouted across to them better than burgers: they laughed.
I came across a boat where the woman was applying Cuprinol to some wood which was to be used as shutters (see photo). In a reply to a question, she said that she didn't have any permanent moorings. I mentioned the closed pub, and that led her to offer some of her provisions. I declined.
There is then a photo of some flower, followed by a photo of a kingfisher (it's on the left of the photo). Unfortunately, the kingfisher got frightened by a boat before I could get a better shot. Almost immeidately afterwards I saw my second heron and it got frightened off by a train before I could shoot it.
My last photo of the day shows a boat being captained by a man from Jo'burg. The South Africans were doing a tour of the UK including a week on the Canal. I told him I was a frequent visitor to the Kruger. The photo also has the boat that had done a U-turn in Oxford earlier this morning. They had gradually caught me up.
The train from Heyford was at 5.44pm. But at lunch I had changed plans: in my collection of papers, I had spotted a bus that leaves Lower Heyford Village Hall at 4.20pm. And it looked easy to get to Heyford in time. In the end, because I'd chatted so much, I got to Heyford at 4.05pm. The trouble was that the bus stop was 1K away: on the map it's where the yellow and brown roads meet to the east of Lower Heyford. I knew the bus stop was 1K away but I hadn't read the map that carefully: I didn't realise it was all up hill. Anyway I made it with 5 minutes to spare. And managed to be home before the train left.
The Pearson's Companion describes the last section of the walk, the bit from Thrupp to Heyford as arguably the Canal at its most charming and sublime. It was a nice end to the day.
It had been sunny all day which had also helped to make the day enjoyable. And I'm not feeling so shattered this evening as I was yesterday evening!