I think the Oxford canal was built by someone who’d had a little too much to drink and, looking at the original route, would have failed a police breathalizer. It wiggles and winds all over the place probably because James Brindley was having to keep a tight reign on the budget, embankments and cuttings being too expensive to include in the design. In 1820, about 50 years after it was completed and it was realised how profitable this major highway was, work began to ease navigation by creating a straighter more logical route.
The tortuous sections weren’t abandoned completely, they were spanned by the precast Horseley iron works bridges, now they have become, marinas and secluded residential moorings.
Shortly after leaving Rugby, the canal passes under the Newbold tunnel. Another expensive addition to the newly straightened canal. It’s 240m long and although it can take side by side narrowboats, it’s easy enough to see and wait for oncoming boats.
At Antsy the canal spans the valley over an aquaduct which you can’t see from the boat, but the railway rushes past over some fantastic arches. I can only assume the train passengers enjoy a similar view of our transit.
A few miles on at Hawkesbury junction, the Oxford canal joins the Coventry canal
It’s a peaceful but popular mooring spot, far enough away from the motorway and railway, but still close enough to the Greyhound, a must for boaters and gongoozelers alike.
And finally we’ve just heard that our friend Laurence’s boat, Elizabeth Anne, won best of show at Crick. James Attwood is a fantastic boat builder with a flare for innovative design and is a real asset to Braidbar boats.