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Category: Continuous Cruising

Living on a continuous cruiser on the UK canal system under CRT rules.

Mooring in Kidlington

Mooring in Kidlington


It’s been a wee while since I got here to Kidlington and I know those out there of my readership are baying for new information, so here it is.

The bright lights of Kidlington

When I was navigating down to the Thames, I noticed this spot on the Offside bank.

It’s coming through the village. Unlike the mooring on the CRT side, there is somewhere to park my car, which is obviously a key consideration.

The only other place to park in Kidlington has less than 1 bar reception, which rules it out.

On my way back up I decided to give it a go. I’m not going to give you the exact location. I don’t think I’d gain anything by publicising it, suffice to say, I’m now moored on Cherwell Council land.

Oorrfff moiy laaaaand!

No crazed employees with pitchforks have approached the boat shouting this yet.

They were out with their strimmers the other day. Said nothin.

I can’t say a boat staying would be of much interest generally. As long as your not putting your gear all over their land, there isn’t really much going on to see.

Here’s a pic.

Bonnie's new home
Bonnie’s new home
Bonnie's new home
Bonnie’s new home


Has 5 pubs. 3 Chinese takeways, a Tesco and a large Sainsburys.

It’s also got a swimming pool and their are buses to Oxford every 20 mins or so. Day and night.

The mobile signal is 4bars 4G, which is on both o2 and three meaning I can take and receive calls and use the internet without any problems at all.

Solar is OK. There’s a lot of tree cover later on in the afternoon, so it’s not magnificent but it’s certainly acceptable. I never have to start my engine.

There’s a Post Office about a 12min walk which has agreed to take my Post Restanté post.

All very cosy.

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Wolvercote, Oxford to Lechlade

Wolvercote, Oxford to Lechlade

Not really Wolvercote, although that’s the nearest village.

It’s actually within the ‘Oxford’ city signs, so, technically, I’m IN Oxford, although it’s about a 30 minute ride on the bike. The cycle path from entering ‘the City’ becomes made up asphalt for the 6 or so miles into town.

Means it’s an easy and pleasant ride. Lot’s of walkers, boaters and cyclists, tourists, locals and families.

I’ve been here now for 2 weeks. I will be leaving today to move closer in to town.

I’m mooring about 1/4 mile from ‘Dukes Cut‘ named after the Duke of Marlborough who commissioned it’s creation in 1789. This is the northernmost entry to the Thames, by-passing Kings Lock.

It’s got solar. It’s got mobile. It’s got parking (for now). The parking is only temporary whilst the landowner is providing access to the navies working on the A44 improvements to store their equipment.

There’s room for 3 boats.

Here’s what it looks like.

Mooring at Dukes Cut - Oxford Canal
Mooring at Dukes Cut – Oxford Canal
Mooring at Dukes Cut - Oxford Canal
Mooring at Dukes Cut – Oxford Canal
Drinkwater lift-bridge - Wolvercote
Drinkwater lift-bridge – Wolvercote
View to the A44
View to the A44

Enslow to Wolvercote

Skipping Kidlington, which is the next stop down.

There’s places to stop, but they don’t provide me with three things I need, parking, solar and mobile.

Enslow was a nice stopover. On the edge of a nature reserve.

Cobwebs on TV booster
Morning cobwebs

Spiders like it there too.

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Allen’s Lock to Enslow

Allen’s Lock to Enslow

For CRT continuous cruising rules, this is as far as I need to go, which is approximately 26 miles from my starting location which was Varney’s Lock, just above Cropredy.

Seeing as the canal and river trust are breathing down my neck about my movements, I’ve kept them all logged on this little map.

The red ‘P’s denote the movement requirement for a 12 month period by the powers that be.

Seeing as I’m down this way, I’m going to take a little trip along the Thames in the coming weeks…

I made a video this time of my journey down which worked out around 7 miles and took me between three and four hours on the boat.

Click below to have a look…

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Upper Heyford

Upper Heyford

One of two, Upper and Lower. Upper is slightly North. I don’t think it’s anything to do with elevation.

They’re both small villages on the edge of the canal, looking across the flood-planes of the River Cherwell.

Lower Heyford has a marina and railway station.

The mobile signal down there is abysmal, otherwise it might be a desirable place to be.

Upper Heyford Airbase

Heyford Park
Upper Heyford Airbase

Both Lower and Upper Heyford are on the edge of an airbase of some strategic importance during the cold war. Heyford Park, or Upper Heyford Airbase.

B52 and U-2 aircraft were stationed here in the period from 1952-1965, when it was used for US reconnaissance.

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Fresh fields

Fresh fields


Moving now into places I’ve not really been before, certainly not without being passenger on the boat.

Somerton Meadows

This place is called. The towpath is indeed one large meadow spanning from the outskirts of Somerton to the River Cherwell.

It’s got a nice iron bridge across the main span of the river. There’s also a mill stream that runs down to North Aston Mill at the other side of the valley.

The field is home to some livestock cattle and the canal is lined with Poplars, Elms, Sycamore and Hawthorne. It’s a nice spot with views right down to the river.

Mooring at Somerton Meadow
Mooring at Somerton Meadow

No motorway

It’s the first place since Cropredy where you don’t have the sound of the motorway in the background.

Some places it’s worse. Like pig place or Twyford. Others it’s less present but still there, like Aynho or the last place I was at, Souldern.

Here’s there’s just natural sights and sounds. It’s so refreshing.

The weather

Is a total let-down.

Always windy, it’s been like that for a few years now, in the summer. An almost continuous wind. It was like that, not so much at the height of last summer. But over the summer months, it seems more than usual.

These days it’s almost continuously blustery. To add insult to injury, now it’s raining. Almost on a daily basis.

Cycle for water

I have to cycle to get water. The best place is from this natural spring.

North Aston drinking fountain
North Aston drinking fountain

At the top of two steep hills, it’s a good way to get a bit of cardio. I get 5 litres of water and put it in my bag.

It’s better to have fresh water for drinking and cooking.

The stuff out of the water-tank is drinkable. It doesn’t taste as good.

The more water you use. The more you have to move the boat to re-fill the tank, which is an additional side effect.

A lot of people buy bottled water. I don’t really like the plastic waste. Plus it’s a waste of money.

This is spring water which is a nice touch. There’s an inscription on the fountain.

It was built in around 1803 and restored in the millennium.


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Bogus CRT overstay

Bogus CRT overstay

Last week, I got falsely accused of overstaying by the Canal and River Trust enforcement officers.

Moving every 14 days

As we know, I’ve been making a point of doing this since I got moved onto 6 monthly.

The CRT sent me this email on the 12th, saying I hadn’t moved.

Your Ref: ********

Dear Michael Tyler,

RE: BONNIE LADY (*******)

Let’s keep our waterways flowing

Using our previous working days’ sightings, it looks like your boat may have been moored in the same general area for more than 14 days. If you have moved since the sighting was taken (e.g. moved over the weekend if you received a reminder on Monday), then thank you and you do not need to take any further action. 

Please remember that when you’re cruising you should be on the move every 14 days.

If you have been unable to move due to recent weather conditions then please move when conditions allow.

If there are reasons you’ve had to remain moored in the same area for slightly longer than planned, please contact me on the number below  and we can discuss your circumstances. 

It’s really important that we keep our network moving and maintain mooring availability.

We’re here to help

Most people do remember to phone us if they are unable to move their boat before they get a reminder.  If you’re not able to move your boat right now for whatever reason, I’m just a phone call away. You can reach me by calling the number below. Just make sure you have your boat index number and your current location to hand. For a refresher on the terms and conditions of your boat licence where your licence please view the PDF at

If you need information about the local area, please find our waterways map at

Boaters make our waterways what they are. Together we can keep our canals and rivers flowing and open to all and help each other during these difficult times.

Thank you – and happy boating.

Yours sincerely

Nnenna Ikwuegbu
Licence Support Advisor
[email protected]

Please note, calls may be recorded

Canal & River Trust, National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, CH65 4FW T 0303 040 4040 or Use our contact form Here
Mon to Fri, 8am to 6pm

Canal and River Trust

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Up the Aynho

Up the Aynho

Used to be the last stop on my journey down southwards.

Now, it’s not. CRT have told me I need to go further in a year.

It’s probably no more than 1/2 way of the distance I need to cover.


By the pub. Aynho has all the amenities. Shop/chandlers (expensive), coffee shop, pub. Boatyard.

Banbury locks have been broken for 10 days+ meaning that there weren’t any hire, or travelling boats as passage was blocked for 2 weeks plus.

I had a look around the locks last Monday, whilst I was in town. No-one was there and there was nothing going on. No plant. No nothing. Just a cordon around the lock.

Fairly pathetic considering a lot of people’s wellbeing and businesses depend on the traffic coming through Banbury.

Better for us boaters, marginally. Live-aboards anyhow.

After two weeks plus, the lock eventually got fixed and as I write this, the traffic is now flowing.

Boat painting

I’ve been touching up the side of the narrowboat. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. Particularly on this side of the boat. It’s been neglected for a long time. More as a victim of circumstance. More often when I’ve moored up, it’s the other side which is against the bank.

Here in Aynho, I’m in a space where the bank is low enough, and the recent trimming of the wildlife has left me in a position where I can access the sides and paint them up.

5 coats

Is a standard level of coverage. 1 Primer if needed, 2 undercoat, sand down, apply topcoat x2.

I’m currently up to the final topcoat and the weather has changed.

The last 2 days it’s been raining.

Rain and paint don’t mix. Today I’m having to leave it.

Here’s a picture of Bonnie with the undercoat applied.

Boat painting. Painting my narrowboat.
Boat painting. Painting my narrowboat.
5 coats. This is the undercoat on the patches that have been damaged.
5 coats. This is the undercoat on the patches that have been damaged.

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