Monday, March 17, 2008

Aynho to Banbury

I awoke on Sunday morning to wind and rain. Typical boating whether for me, but Steve declared it the worst weather he had ever been boating in. We set off in the deluge from the elements and arrived at Aynho Weir Lock to red boards. We both stood around waiting for the situation to go away, but it just wasn’t going to. I did a rocky of the flow and decided it was stupid to head across; the drain holes on my boat are a bit low for comfort (understatement of the year!). Being known for my stupidity we started locking through. Steve opened the gates and I started to come out of the lock, and could feel the bow being pushed over to the weir before I had come out. There was going to be nothing for it, but open the throttle while I had the water under the prop to turn around. I told Steve to meet me at the next lock and rocketed out. I still had no control over the bow, and the last thing I wanted was to get stuck onto the Weir – especially with my drain holes. The current caught the underside of the boat and as it looked like I was going over I decided to do my best, the boat banked, the bow came off the weir, and the stern crashed into the wooden beams protecting it. I was not the first – the beam gave way, but I had a good angle and off I went. I picked Steve up after and we continued in silence marvelling that despite the odds, neither of us needed to change our underwear. Just south of Nell bridge a boat was nearly sinking – they had tied up in the pound (stupid stupid stupid) and I was pleased to see I wasn’t the only stupid person on the cut – they had secured the boat with the centre rope which was pulling it over as it was too tight. BW said they would sort it out (thanks Maffi for sorting that out)
Nell bridge is rather low with only a foot of clearance (JUST) we made it into the lock. On higher ground we looked back and noticed the place was flooding… good job I didn’t see that before I went into Aynho weir lock!
The following locks were very full with water pouring over the top of them, and there was a great deal of water around in places it shouldn’t be. KingSutton lock was rather fun. The door to the cottage flew open and out stormed a teenager and her mother. A cat looked out of the top window in despair at both them and us.
We made it to Banbury, but then the water was pouring over the top gate with such force and there was so much water around a BW chap was positioned on the lock. He had to paddle to get to the paddles.
I was only too pleased to moor up outside Tooleys Boatyard. Here I will stay for four days. I am hoping the water levels will go down for the weekend, but Steve tells me the paper told him this morning of ‘extreme winter weather at the weekend’. Oh well, I guess Bones is out boating!


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