Leicester Ring Day 2: Oxford Canal Bridge 88 – Hillmorton Locks

Today began slowly, after all the exertions of yesterday. Added to which, it was raining quite persistently. We were moored in a beautiful spot and ahead of schedule, so there was no reason at all to hurry. A couple on a nearby boat came to admire our cratch (conservatory). They were envious of the panoramic views it provides. It is an unusual design and this is not the first time people have stopped to admire and enquire where we had it done.

After a light lunch, we finally set off at about 2 p.m. Most of the trip looked like this:


This is a landscape full of history. Some of the fields still show clearly the “ridge and furrow” layout of medieval times:


Each family would plough one strip, which would provide their livelihood. The ridge and furrow pattern was the result of using non-reversible ploughs. The raised ridges gave good drainage too. This kind of farming was first seen after the Romans left Britain and continued right up to the 17th Century, but was most common in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

More modern structures also abound. Here we are passing under the M45!


We passed some linear moorings with gardens attached. Some people have been very inventive with their plot of land. Here, someone has built a great tree-house, as well as a nice mooring:


We also passed some familiar spots, like Weltonfield wharf. These places bring back memories of cruising this way in ‘Faustroll’, ten years ago.


We moored for the night just before Hillmorton Locks. We’ll save the effort of doing those for tomorrow. We are now exactly on the schedule predicted by canalplan, so we are confident of completing the ring in the predicted time, assuming this pattern continues!


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